Piano Jazz

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, the longest running jazz program on NPR, is produced by South Carolina ETV Radio.

Carla Bley and Steve Swallow
Klaus Muempfer/Courtesy of the Artist

  Bassist Steve Swallow and pianist Carla Bley are both acclaimed jazz composers and performers with international reputations. On this 1996 Piano Jazz, they team up to talk with McPartland about their combined repertoire of innovative music. Bley and Swallow kick off the program with a duet of Bley’s composition “Major,” McPartland joins Bley for a unique duet of “Chopsticks,” and they close the show as a trio with Bley’s “Ad Infinitum.”

News Stations: Sat, Jul 16, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun Jul, 17, 7 pm

Aaron Parks

Jul 4, 2016
Aaron Parks
Bill Douthart/ECM Records

  A true prodigy, pianist Aaron Parks was still in his teens when he was McPartland’s guest in this 2001 session. That year he placed first in the fifth American Jazz Piano Competition, landing the Cole Porter Fellowship. He went on to place third in the 2006 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and has built a prolific career as a performer and recording artist. On this Piano Jazz, Parks performs Cole Porter’s “Miss Otis Regrets.”

News Stations: Sat, Jul 09, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jul 10, 7 pm

Valerie Capers

  Valerie Capers is a fabulous pianist, composer, and educator. The first blind graduate from the Juilliard School of Music, she is blessed with a diverse piano style that combines elements of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Bill Evans, with some Chopin thrown in. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Capers shows off her classical chops when she solos on “It Could Happen to You.” Then she and McPartland swing out on “Scrapple from the Apple.”

News Stations: Sat, Jul 02, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jul 03, 7 pm

Benny Golson at Smoke, No. 2, 106th and Broadway, NYC, 3/11/06.
Ed Newman/Flickr

    Saxophonist and composer Benny Golson began studying piano as a child but was soon seduced by the tenor saxophone sounds he heard on jazz records. He gained recognition as a composer when he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, and he went on to form The Jazztet, a hard-bop group, with trumpeter Art Farmer. Golson has devoted much of his time to jazz education and he continues to record and tour regularly. On this Piano Jazz from 2006, McPartland and bassist Rufus Reid join Golson to perform “Along Came Betty” and “I Remember Clifford.”

Monty Alexander
Courtesy of the artist

      Guitarist Monty Alexander grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. His earliest musical experiences came from the folk and popular songs of his country as well as the Calypso rhythms that originated from Trinidad. Alexander moved to Miami in 1961 and worked in clubs before moving to New York City in 1962, where he played at Minton’s Playhouse. He was McPartland’s guest in 1991. Known for his rhythmic approach and melodic and harmonic inventiveness, Alexander solos on his original “Look Up” and teams up with McPartland for an unusual duet.

Sarah Vaughan, Café Society (Downtown), New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1946.
William P. Gottlieb Collection (Library of Congress)

Sarah Vaughan (1924 – 1990) was one of the greatest vocalists of the twentieth century. With rich vibrato and an incredible range, “Sassy” recorded critically-acclaimed interpretations of standards including “Misty” and “I’ve Got a Crush On You.” On this 1986 Piano Jazz, Vaughan talks about her start as a jazz singer and explains how she uses the piano to learn her songs. She sings “Tenderly” and “Poor Butterfly” while McPartland plays, then the two join forces for “My Funny Valentine.”

News Stations: Sat, Jun 11, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jun 12, 7 pm

Alan Clare (ctr) with Yehudi Menuhin (l)and Stephane Grappelli (r) at  Abbey Road Studios London.
Allan Warren

British pianist Alan Clare (1921 – 1993) was McPartland’s guest at the BBC’s Delaware Road studios in London. Clare began his professional career at age eleven and went on to work with George Shearing, Stephen Grappelli, and Spike Milligan. He also fulfilled regular engagements at the London residence of the American Ambassador for parties honoring such guests as Queen Elizabeth and former President Reagan. On this Piano Jazz from 1990, Clare plays his composition “John O Groats” and joins McPartland for a go-around on “In a Mellow Tone.”

Dena DeRose
Courtesy of the artist

Singer and pianist Dena DeRose has performed at some of the most renowned venues in the world, from The Blue Note in New York to Swing Hall in Japan. She has shared the stage with artists including Clark Terry, Ray Brown, and Ingrid Jensen. She teaches at the Jazz Institute of the University for Music and Performing Arts in Austria, and continues to perform worldwide. She was McPartland’s guest in this 2001 session. DeRose opens the show with “If I Should Lose You” and McPartland joins for “I’m Old Fashioned.”

Portrait of Artie Shaw, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948.
William P. Gottlieb Collection (Library of Congress)

  Cornetist and jazz historian Richard Sudhalter (1938 – 2008) joined Marian McPartland on several occasions to provide historical perspective on great performers and songs from the golden era of jazz. In 2002, He sat down with McPartland to talk about Artie Shaw (1910 – 2004). Shaw was known for his unparalleled virtuosity and as a successful bandleader with a limitless imagination. Piano Jazz honors Shaw with selections including “Love of My Life” and “Any Old Time.”

News Stations: Sat, May 21, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 22, 7 pm

Tania Maria

Born in Brazil to a musical family, pianist and vocalist Tania Maria was leading her own group of professional musicians by the time she was thirteen. In the 1970s she moved to Paris, and she first came into the international spotlight through her work in jazz festivals. In the 1980s Tania Maria moved to New York, where she recorded a number of hit albums and worked with some of the most renowned jazz artists in the world. On this 1994 Piano Jazz, Maria performs her own composition “Carona” then solos on “Ta’ Tudo Certo.”

Rose Murphy and Marian McPartland
SC Public Radio

Rose Murphy Rose Murphy (1913 - 1989) was a legendary singer and pianist who starred at Café Society in the heyday of New York’s jazz scene. She made history with her version of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Critics and audiences alike were delighted by her breathless, giggly voice, her spirited playing, and her signature “chee-chee.” In this Piano Jazz session from 1988, Murphy showcases her trademark vocal style on “Cecilia.” Then she teams up with McPartland for “St. Louis Blues.”

News Stations: Sat, Apr 30, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 01, 7 pm

Mike Longo
Ken Weis

  Mike Longo performed his first gig at fifteen with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, who was at that time an unknown. Since then, Longo has played with, taught, and composed for many other jazz greats, including Jimmy McPartland. He was Dizzy Gillespie’s pianist and musical director, and his repertoire includes everything from traditional jazz to bebop. For this 1999 Piano Jazz, he solos on Gillespie’s “Con Alma” and McPartland continues the tribute with her own “Dizzy.”

News Stations: Sat, Apr 23, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 24, 7 pm

Eric Reed
Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr

 News Stations: Saturdays, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sundays, 7 pm

  July 30/31:  Eric Reed

Pianist and composer Eric Reed began playing piano as a small child. He was only 18 when he played his first string of gigs with Wynton Marsalis, work that catapulted him to the forefront of jazz musicians. He has played with Joe Henderson, Betty Carter, and Joshua Redman, among others, and has established himself as a notable leader, producer, and educator. On this 1995 Piano Jazz, the then 24-year-old Reed’s distinctive style is evident on a solo of “Cedar’s Blues.”

Ayako Shirasaki

  Originally from Japan, pianist Ayako Shirasaki showed an early talent for jazz and classical styles. As an adult, she moved to New York and entered the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Kenny Barron and Ted Rosenthal. She has gone on to establish herself as one of New York’s finest jazz pianists. On this 2006 Piano Jazz, Shirasaki performs her compositions “Far Away” and “Falling Leaves.”

News Stations: Sat, Apr 16, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 17, 7 pm

Barbara Lea

  Vocalist Barbara Lea (1929 – 2011) was a widely respected and admired interpreter of classic American popular song. She started her career in the 1950s, and the Downbeat Critic’s Poll of 1956 recognized her as “Best New Singer.” On this 1999 Piano Jazz, she joins McPartland for a tribute to songwriter Hoagy Carmichael. The conservator of Carmichael’s repertoire, Lea brings her skill to selections including “Lazybones” and “Star Dust.”

News Stations: Sat, Apr 9, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 10, 7 pm

Paul Bley on Piano Jazz

Mar 28, 2016
Paul Bley, Theaterzaal, Vooruit, Gent, BE, 05/15/2009.
Bruno Bollaert

  Legendary leader of the jazz avant-garde, pianist Paul Bley (1932 – 2015) cultivated his own musical vision and influenced a generation of performers. Throughout his life, he remained on the cutting edge of creative music, performing with everyone from Ornette Coleman and Charlie Parker to Jaco Pastorious and Pat Metheny. This week, we remember Paul Bley with his appearance on Piano Jazz in 2000. Bley performs his original motifs and collaborates on a duet with McPartland.

News Stations: Sat, Apr 01, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 03, 7 pm

"The Music of Marian McPartland" on Piano Jazz

Mar 21, 2016
Marian McPartland
SC Public Radio

  Of all McPartland’s attributes, possibly the most underrated is her ability as a composer. Her piano pieces have entered the jazz repertoire and some of her songs—with lyrics by such stars as Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, and Peggy Lee—are part of the Great American Songbook. In honor of Marian’s birthday this week, guest host Murray Horwitz leads this exposition through some of her most beautiful works, with performances by Cleo Laine, Sarah Vaughan, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Marian herself.

News Stations: Sat,  Mar 26,  8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 27, 7 pm

Harold Mabern on Piano Jazz

Mar 14, 2016
Harold Mabern
David Katzenstein

  Harold Mabern, born March 20, 1936, is one of New York’s most requested pianists and a staple of Japan’s jazz scene. A mainly self-taught musician, his style is influenced by Art Tatum, Chris Anderson, Billy Wallace, and Bud Powell. In 2015, he released Afro Blue. McPartland caught him for this 1991 Piano Jazz before he left for a late spring tour of Japan. Mabern solos on “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” then joins McPartland for Ellington’s “Squeeze Me.”

  News Stations: Sat, Mar 19, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, Mar 20, 7 pm

Mark Murphy on Piano Jazz

Mar 8, 2016
Mark Murphy

  Regarded as one of the world’s hippest jazz vocalists, Mark Murphy (1932 – 2015) epitomized the jazz singer. He was discovered by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1953, and remained true to his art throughout his life. This week, we remember Mark Murphy with this 1998 Piano Jazz session. Accompanied by bassist Sean Smith and host McPartland, Murphy puts his mark on “Detour Ahead.” He and Smith perform their own “Song for the Geese.”

 News Stations: Sat, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, 7 pm

Jay Leonhart on Piano Jazz

Feb 29, 2016
Jay Leonhart

  The turning point which propelled musician Jay Leonhart to take up the bass was hearing Ray Brown with the Oscar Peterson Trio in 1955. He has since become a superior bassist, a witty lyricist, and a charming singer. He has played with musicians from all genres and has been on the New York jazz scene for almost five decades. On this 2001 Piano Jazz, he performs his composition “Blues for Marilyn.”

News Stations: Sat, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, 7 pm

Sumi Tonooka on Piano Jazz

Feb 22, 2016
Sumi Tonooka

  Pianist Sumi Tonooka is an incisive musician of great originality and imagination. She has toured with Art Blakely and teamed with tenor saxophonist Odean Pope and drummer Philly Joe Jones. In 2015, she was selected for the Music Alive: New Partnerships Residencies through New Music USA. On her visit to Piano Jazz in 1992, Tonooka swings with an easy grace while playing a great rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Tonooka and McPartland join up to show what jazz is all about on “Solar.”

News Stations: Sat, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, 7 pm

Phil Woods on Piano Jazz

Feb 15, 2016
Phil Woods
David W. Coulter/jazz24.org

  Saxophonist Phil Woods (1931 – 2015) was a true master of bebop. Whether weaving jazz improvisations with other members of his group or playing feisty crackling licks on cool solos, Woods’ playing was always compelling. He built up his amazing technique with Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Buddy Rich, and with his quartet. We remember Phil Woods with this Piano Jazz from 2003. In this session, his imaginative and sultry sound blends with his trio and McPartland on “How About You” and “Fine and Dandy.”

News Stations: Sat, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, 7 pm

Jon Batiste on Piano Jazz

Feb 12, 2016
Jon Batiste
Ingrid Hertfelder/Courtesy of the artist

  Pianist and bandleader Jon Batiste hails from the cradle of jazz, Louisiana. Now the leader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert house band Stay Human, he has collaborated with Harry Connick Jr., Allen Toussaint, Cassandra Wilson, and the Marsalis family. On this Piano Jazz session from 2011, guest hosted by Jon Weber, Batiste sings “What a Wonderful World” and joins Weber for a duet of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

News Stations: Sat, Feb 13, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 14, 6 pm 

Eden Atwood on Piano Jazz

Feb 1, 2016
Eden Atwood
Terry Cyr

  One of the rare jazz discoveries of her generation, Eden Atwood has a voice that has been described as beautiful and refreshing. The daughter of arranger-composer Hub Atwood, she studied piano as a child and went on to have a performing career in New York and beyond. She has released several studio albums and tours regularly. On this Piano Jazz from 1996, Atwood and McPartland duet on “Old Devil Moon.”

News Stations: Sat, Feb 6, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 7, 7 pm

Sergio Salvatore on Piano Jazz

Jan 25, 2016
Sergio Salvatore
Ryan Brooks

  Sergio Salvatore was only 14-years-old when he was McPartland’s guest 20 ago, but he was already making the jazz world sit up and take notice. This young composer, pianist, and improviser is a natural. He has gone on to partner with virtuoso vibraphonist Christos Rafalides, with whom he released the critically acclaimed Dark Sand. On this 1996 edition of Piano Jazz, he solos on his own “Revolving Door.” He and McPartland get together for “Autumn Leaves.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 30, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 31, 7 pm

Bobby Enriquez on Piano Jazz

Jan 18, 2016

  A florid, flamboyant pianist, Bobby Enriquez (1943–1996) was called “the Wild Man of jazz,” a reference to his karate-like attack with fists, elbows, and palms hitting the keyboard. Although he never received formal lessons, he clearly made his mark among jazz heavyweights. On this 1990 Piano Jazz, Enriquez plays a fiery rendition of “Just One of Those Things,” then gangs up with McPartland for his own “Bumble Rumble Blues.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 23, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 24, 7 pm

Jane Ira Bloom on Piano Jazz

Jan 11, 2016
Jane Ira Bloom
Kristine Larsen

  A supreme soprano sax player, Jane Ira Bloom is known for her innovative use of movement and her high-energy compositions. Her debut album, Modern Drama, caught the attention of NASA, who commissioned her to write three pieces in 1989. She went on to release several studio albums, including her highly praised Sixteen Sunsets. On this 1993 Piano Jazz, Bloom and McPartland combine forces to freely improvise and to play “My Romance.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 16, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 17, 7 pm

Max Roach on Piano Jazz

Jan 7, 2016
Max Roach at the Three Deuces, ca. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

  Being a legendary drummer was only part of Max Roach’s musical personality; he was also an accomplished composer and storyteller. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Roach (1924 – 2007) relates a few of his many musical memories from performing with greats like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie. He treats listeners to a selection of his own compositions. Roach, McPartand, and bassist Ray Drummond collaborate on “I’ll Remember Clifford” and “Joy of Spring.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 9, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 10, 7 pm

Eric Mintel on Piano Jazz

Dec 28, 2015
Eric Mintel

  Pianist Eric Mintel is on a mission to bring jazz to the masses. His playing is straight-ahead but energetic, lyrical, and always swinging. With his quartet, he has engaged audiences at the White House, The Kennedy Center, and venues around the country. On this Piano Jazz from 2005, Mintel talks about improvisation and the art of getting gigs before sitting down with host McPartland for “These Foolish Things.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 2, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 3, 7 pm

Art Hodes on Piano Jazz

Dec 21, 2015
Art Hodes, Ole South, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1946
Ky Olsen

  Jazz pianist Art Hodes (1904 – 1993) was born in Ukraine and moved to the United States with his family as a baby. While he got his start as a musician in Chicago, his big break came when he moved to New York in 1938 and played with Joe Marsala and Mezz Mezzrow. In the 1950s, he returned to Chicago, where he remained active on the jazz scene as a performer, educator, and writer. On this 1984 Piano Jazz, Hodes plays “St. Louis Blues” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

News Stations: Sat, Dec 26, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 27, 7 pm