Music

Marcia Ball
Mary Bruton

Pianist, vocalist, and songwriter Marcia Ball brings together Texas blues with Louisiana flavors, melding boogie-woogie, zydeco, and Swamp Rock. Influenced by artists of the region, such as Janis Joplin, Ball first came to the blues as a child by listening to Etta James and learned the piano through a mix of formal and informal lessons. On this 1997 Piano Jazz, Ball demonstrates her unique sound with “Crawfishin’” and her original “That’s Enough of That.” McPartland joins for a dual-piano rendition of “Woke Up Screaming.”

Martin Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli and Marian McPartland

Jun 12, 2018
Marian McPartland with John Pizzarelli and Martin Pizzarelli, Avatar Recording Studios, NYC, 2001
RJ Capak

John Pizzarelli began playing at an early age with the help of his jazz guitarist father and teacher, Bucky Pizzarelli. The young musician had the opportunity to play with many outstanding musicians throughout his childhood and teen years, giving him a solid understanding of jazz. In the 1990s John and his brother Martin Pizzarelli toured as part of a trio that opened for Frank Sinatra. In this 2001 session, McPartland asks the brothers to play “It's Only A Paper Moon,” which was made famous by the legendary crooner. “Only if you play it with us,” John replies.

Michael Feinstein and Marian McPartland

Jun 11, 2018
Marian McPartland with Michael Feinstein, 1988
Vanguard Photography

When pianist and vocalist Michael Feinstein was a guest on Piano Jazz in 1988, his career was just beginning to take off. The legendary songwriter Ira Gershwin had hired the young musician to archive records and memorabilia that belonged to both Ira and his younger brother George, and Feinstein has become recognized as the ambassador of The Great American Songbook.

Geri Allen
Rob Davidson

One year ago this month, the music world lost Geri Allen, a highly regarded and influential pianist, composer, and educator. Allen (June 12, 1957 – June 27, 2017) died of cancer at age 60. A vital contributor to contemporary jazz, she was known for uniting disparate styles of jazz, and her style found its roots everywhere from Motown and James Brown to the music of Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk. In 2008, on her third appearance on Piano Jazz, Allen and McPartland perform a spontaneous composition. Allen solos on originals, including “Brilliant Veracity.”

Dee Dee Bridgewater and Marian McPartland

Jun 8, 2018
Dee Dee Bridgewater and Marian McPartland, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2003
RJ Capak

Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater has been on the jazz scene for nearly four decades. After getting her start with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, she honed her talent and headed to Broadway in 1975, where her performance in The Wiz was honored with a Tony Award. As a returning guest to Piano Jazz, Bridgewater was no stranger to public radio: for more than twenty years, she hosted the NPR series JazzSet.

Gary Burton and Marian McPartland

Jun 7, 2018
Marian McPartland with Gary Burton, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2004
RJ Capak

Self-taught on the vibraphone, Gary Burton is known for his exceptional four-mallet technique, which allows him to sound like multiple players at once. He was mentored by jazz greats such as Joe Morello and Stan Getz, and Burton later continued his career by becoming an influential jazz educator himself. On this 2004 edition of Piano Jazz, Burton reminds McPartland that she was instrumental in getting him his first fulltime job, playing with George Shearing at nineteen.

Artist site: http://www.garyburton.com/

Reggie Workman at the Charleston Jazz Academy.
Leigh Webber

Working with jazz legends like John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, and numerous others has given double bassist Reggie Workman more than a little perspective on music-making. On Monday, June 4th, the eighty-year-old exponent of hard bop and avant-garde jazz shared some of that perspective with students through a lecture/demonstration at the Charleston Jazz Academy. The academy, located on West Montague Avenue in North Charleston, absorbed the Leonard School of Music in 2017, and is the educational arm of Charleston Jazz.

Marisol Montalvo and Walter Dundervill in the US premiere of Tree of Codes, with music and libretto by Liza Lim.
William Struhs

John Kennedy talks with Jeanette Guinn about the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, and about the U.S. Pemiere of the opera, Tree of Codes.

Australian composer Liza Lim dissolves boundaries to create holes in the world—perforations in which audience members might encounter more than one existence. Two-headed birds and layers of light conjure a magical world under Director Ong Keng Sen (Facing Goya; 2014) in this dramatic work inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s art book by the same name. 

Elvis Costello and Marian McPartland

Jun 6, 2018
Marian McPartland with Elvis Costello, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2003
RJ Capak

Elvis Costello made a name for himself as a rock and punk icon. A prolific and influential songwriter, his career took off in the late ’70s with his critically acclaimed record My Aim is True. On this 2003 Piano Jazz, he tells his friend Marian McPartland how he crossed over into other genres, from penning his own jazz to composing for film and opera.

Amanda Woodbury and Valdis Jansons in the US premiere of Donizetti's Pia de' Tolomei.
William Struhs

Lidiya Yankovskaya is the music director of Chicago's Opera Lyric Theater. At Spoleto Festival USA she is  conducting the U.S. premiere and Spoleto production of Donizetti's Pia de Tolomei. She talks with Jeanette Guinn about the opera, its production, and about learning her craft, as well as the joy she finds in opera.

Rosemary Clooney and Marian McPartland

Jun 5, 2018
Marian McPartland with Rosemary Clooney, 1991
RJ Capak

The legendary Rosemary Clooney (1928 – 2002) sang with a simplicity and honesty that became her trademark. As one of the great interpreters of popular song, she demonstrated her understanding of lyrics through her sure and steady vocal delivery. Clooney first rose to fame in the 1950’s with the overnight success of “Come on-a My House.” In this 1992 Piano Jazz session, McPartland and Clooney talk about her legacy as a jazz artist and the second phase of her career. “I just think you're better than ever,” McPartland remarks.

Roy Haynes
thekurlandagency.com

Roy Haynes is one of the greatest living jazz drummers of a generation, with a career spanning seven decades. In 2016 he joined Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performing at age 91. He was McPartland’s guest for this 1996 Piano Jazz session. He reminisces with McPartland about the 1940s Chicago jazz scene and the 1950s Boston scene. Bassist Christian McBride joins them for Miles Davis’ “So What,” and Haynes solos on “Shades of Senegal.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, June 09, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: June 10, 7 pm

Jackie King, Willie Nelson, Marian McPartland and Duke Marcos, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2001
RJ Capak

Vocalist Willie Nelson and guitarist Jackie King (1945 – 2016) were friends for decades, making up one of the most recognizable duos in the music world. From co-writing songs to creating record labels, the two friends played major roles in each other’s careers and lives. Their Piano Jazz session was one of the most memorable for listeners and show staff alike. Longtime mastering engineer Duke Marcos recorded the session, and show regular Gary Mazzaroppi provided bass for a jazzy set of standards and Nelson/King originals.

Christian McBride and Marian McPartland

May 31, 2018
Marian McPartland and Christian McBride, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2001
RJ Capak

Christian McBride is considered one of the premier bassists of his generation. The Grammy-winning artist is a celebrated composer, also known for adding a modern touch to traditional jazz standards. A frequent sideman on Piano Jazz, he first played on the show in 1992 and was a guest himself in this 2001 session. McBride has dedicated his time to education in addition to performing as a bandleader and sideman on hundreds of studio recordings.

The JACK Quartet
Shervin Lainez

Coordinated playing is essential for the members of an internationally-recognized string quartet... coordinated choreography, not so much.

Unless that quartet is taking on Mark Applebaum’s Darmstadt Kindergarten.

Marian McPartland and Eldar Djangirov

May 29, 2018
Marian McPartland and Eldar Djangirov, Avatar Studios, New York City, 1999
RJ Capak

Eldar Djangirov was the youngest guest ever to appear on Piano Jazz. Only twelve at the time, the young pianist already possessed an impressive repertoire along with confidence that was evident both in his personality and in his playing. His prodigious technique blew McPartland and Piano Jazz listeners away, and he was a guest again in 2005 as he transitioned into his career as an adult. He is a regular at major jazz festivals, has toured throughout the world, and has made appearances on national television, including performing at the Grammy Awards.

Composer, double-bassist, Doug Balliett
metropolisensemble.org/

From playing double bass, to teaching historic performance at Julliard, to writing poetry and works of music, contemporary American composer Doug Balliett stays busy. As composer-in-residence for the chamber music series of the forty-second Spoleto Festival USA, Doug is not only providing original works, arrangements, and guidance on their interpretation, but is also a performer in a majority of the series’ thirty-three concerts. The series runs through June 10th, with all performances held at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston.

Ben Sidran
bensidran.com

Ben Sidran is not only a nationally respected jazz composer, pianist, and song stylist, he is also a scholar, radio/TV producer, and jazz writer. When he was a guest on Piano Jazz in 1989, NPR listeners often heard his insightful commentary on All Things Considered as well as his own program Sidran on Record, which began in 1981. In this session Sidran duets with McPartland on “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and sings originals, including “Get to the Point” and “Mitsubishi Boy.”

Shirley Horn and Marian McPartland

May 25, 2018
Marian McPartland and Shirley Horn, New York City, 1995
JR Capak

Pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn (1934 – 2005) possessed a unique vocal style and touch, most evident in her soulful ballads. Among her acclaimed albums is her 1993 tribute to Ray Charles, “Light Out of Darkness.” McPartland named the album as a favorite in this session from 1995, where the Grammy-winning artist delights with her incredible vocal range and faculty on the keys. A performer throughout her life, Horn was a guest three times on Piano Jazz, starting with an early appearance on the show in 1985, when a second phase of her career was just beginning.

Spoleto Festival USA Chamber Music director, Geoff Nuttall.
Spoleto Festival USA

For violinist Geoff Nuttall, finding the right performers for the Bank of America Chamber Music Series is critical. 

"Everybody that comes is not only amazing and an incredible player," Geoff says, "but also super-easy to work with and a joy to hang out with."

Alicia Keys and Marian McPartland

May 24, 2018
Marian McPartland and Alicia Keys, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2003
RJ Capak

Only 22 at the time of her appearance on the show, pianist, composer and vocalist Alicia Keys was already developing her own musical identity. When McPartland asked what she would call her musical style, Keys said she wouldn’t call it anything. “But I do think that it would be, you know, heart music,” she said, contemplating the question. “It’s music from my heart and it’s music from my soul.” Her honest and passionate sound was just beginning to take the music world by storm, as she began her quick ascent to stardom in the years that followed.

Tony Bennett and Marian McPartland

May 23, 2018
Tony Bennett and Marian McPartland, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2004
RJ Capak

Vocalist Tony Bennett is no stranger to the American Popular Songbook. The world-renowned musician is known for his unfaltering dedication to excellence and his ability to connect to audiences of all generations. The returning Piano Jazz guest dives into his vast repertoire of swinging jazz standards for McPartland and her listeners on this 2004 episode.

Barbara Cook at the 120th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall gala, MOMA, New York City. (April 12th 2011)
Joella Marano [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

This week Piano Jazz remembers Barbara Cook (1927 – August 8, 2017), the Tony and Grammy Award-winning lyric soprano who was a favorite of audiences around the world. She was a star on Broadway as an ingénue and became a staple of the New York cabaret scene in the later years of her prolific career. She was McPartland’s guest in 1998. Joined by her longtime musical collaborator and accompanist Wally Harper, Cook delights host McPartland with her rendition of “It Might as Well Be Spring.” McPartland returns the favor with her solo of “Plain and Fancy.”

The mandolin is a central of many Bluegrass groups. (Mandolin player with the Jeff Austin Band, on stage at the 80/35 music festival in Des Moines, July, 2016.)
Max Goldberg via Flickr [CC BY 2.0}

Bluegrass music has always been popular in South Carolina, but Willie Wells thinks it’s about to break out to a new, mass popularity.  Every Friday night, Wells holds a bluegrass jam at his store, Bill’s Music Shop and Pickin’ Parlor.  Fans and musicians enjoy a performance before getting out their guitars, banjos and fiddles to play country, gospel and bluegrass tunes with each other. 

Fud Livingston
Discogs

Charleston’s Fud Livingston, 'Jazz Age' arranger, composer, and musician, made memorable music.

Joseph Anthony “Fud” Livingston, born in Charleston, SC, in 1906, was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, arranger, and composer who played with some of the most renowned musicians of the Jazz Age, including Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and the Dorsey brothers, Tommy and Jimmy. He arranged for Broadway and wrote songs, the most famous of which is “I’m Through with Love.”

Harry "Sweets" Edison
Lionel DeCoster [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Harry "Sweets" Edison (1915 – 1999) was a legendary stylist of jazz trumpet. From his days as a soloist in the Count Basie Band to his time as a studio musician for the likes of Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald, he was known for the sweet, muted tones that were his namesake. On this Piano Jazz, originally broadcast just months before he passed away in 1999, Edison joins McPartland and bassist Andy Simpkins for “Dejection Blues” and “No Greater Love,” along with one of his originals, “Centerpiece.”

Virginia Mayhew
centerstage.conn-selmer.com

Saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Virginia Mayhew has appeared in major New York jazz venues, from the Blue Note to Carnegie Hall, toured internationally, and twice represented the US as a Jazz Ambassador. She is also an active jazz educator and founded the Greenwich House Music School Jazz Workshop. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Mayhew and McPartland join forces to perform “All the Things You Are” and “Body and Soul.” They close the hour with a free piece, improvised live in the studio.

For conductor Suzanna Pavlovsky, keeping younger audiences engaged in the world of classical music doesn’t require a complete overhaul so much as a repackaging.

“We don’t need to change the repertoire. We don’t need to change the music itself,” Suzanna says. “But we need to come up with some sort of idea to keep the younger generations more active.”

Don Friedman
donfriedman.net

In honor of the birthday of Don Friedman (May 4, 1935 – June 30, 2016), Piano Jazz presents this broadcast from 1996. Although Friedman first studied classical piano, he fell in love with the voice of jazz and performed with jazz greats such as Chet Baker and Buddy DeFranco. In this session, Friedman demonstrates his unique sound on a solo of his “Waltz for Marilyn.” He and McPartland duet in “Stella by Starlight,” and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi joins for “How Deep is the Ocean.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, May 05, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, May 06, 7 pm

Eliane Elias
elianeelias.com

Brazilian pianist, composer, and vocalist Elaine Elias grew up with an affinity for both the music of her home country as well as American jazz. She got her start performing with two renowned Brazilian artists, singer-songwriter Toquinho and poet Vinicius de Moraes, before moving to New York in the 1980s, where she took the American jazz scene by storm. She was McPartland’s guest for the first time in this 1988 Piano Jazz session. Elias plays a beautiful arrangement of “Darn that Dream” and teams up with McPartland for “Falling in Love with Love.”

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