Piano Jazz

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

Ruby Braff on Piano Jazz

Dec 14, 2015
Ruby Braff (with Howard Alden, left) at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London (1996)
Berit Bolt/www.howardalden.com

  Trumpeter and cornetist Ruby Braff (1927– 2003) drew his style from the influences of Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Throughout the 1950s, he was in demand in New York as a Dixieland and swing player, and he went on to form a quartet with guitarist George Barnes and other small-group settings later in his career. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Braff joins McPartland for duets of “Thou Swell” and “Blue and Sentimental.”

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


Piano Jazz Holiday Special

Dec 7, 2015

   On this 2006 Piano Jazz Holiday Special, host Marian McPartland takes a look back at some favorite Christmas and holiday songs performed on the show throughout the years. Melissa Walker sings “The Moon on Christmas Eve,” written by Kathryn Williams and Vana Gerig, who stop by to talk about the song’s genesis. Pianist Cleo Brown evokes the style of Duke Ellington as she plays the traditional Christmas hymn “Silent Night.”

News Stations: Sat, Dec 12, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Dec 13, 7 pm


Doc Cheatham
Courtesy Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University.

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

Trumpeter Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham (1905 – 1997) was known for his admirable technique and tone. His signature slight burr gave his solos an edge, but his approach was warm and elegant. He continued touring late into his life, with some of his best recordings from this later stage. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Cheatham and McPartland play “Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On” and “I Double Dare You.”

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

Pamela Hines is a pianist and composer whose forte is a complex and engaging take on the structural components of music within the jazz form. She brings nuances and impressive technical abilities to all the tunes she plays, and as a composer, she draws out a theme from every musician working with her. In this session from 2000, Hines performs her original tune “Porridge.”

- News Stations: Sat, May 23, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, May 24, 7 pm -

Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton (1908 – 2002) was one of the most influential figures in the annals of jazz. He made the vibes a vital voice in the arsenal of jazz instruments and gained international fame playing in Benny Goodman’s small groups and leading his own orchestra. On this 1989 Piano Jazz, Hampton and McPartland duet on a set including “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Mack the Knife.”

Gonzalo Rubalcaba
http://www.g-rubalcaba.com/

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

The music of pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a potent mixture of Cuban and American jazz. His style is both melodic and rhythmic, filled with exciting and intriguing influences. He plays everything from jazz to classical as well as music from his native land, Cuba. When he was a guest on Piano Jazz in 1995, he spoke with host McPartland through an interpreter and dazzled with pieces including “Con Alma” and “Straight No Chaser.”

  Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music. Guests featured on the broadcast of this memorial concert include Tony Bennett, Barbara Carroll, Bill Charlap, Michael Feinstein, Chris Brubeck, Jon Faddis, and many more. 

Mercer Ellington
Tom Marcello/Wikimedia Commons

  Copyist, arranger, and musician Mercer Ellington (1919 –1996) worked for his father, Duke Ellington, as a horn player in Duke’s band before becoming manager of the group. He took on additional duties, such as composing for the group, resulting in his original tune, “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be.” On this 1994 Piano Jazz, he reprises some of his father’s gems, such as “In My Solitude.”  - News Stations: Sat, Mar 14, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 15, 7 pm -

Remembering Marian: Jon Faddis and Jon Weber

Mar 4, 2015

Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music.

Remembering Marian: Bill Charlap, George Mraz

Mar 4, 2015

Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music.

Remembering Marian: Jon Weber, Eddie Gomez

Mar 4, 2015

Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music.

Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music.

Danilo Perez
Raj Naik and Luke Severn

Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez worked with Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations Orchestra, where he absorbed bebop and prebop styles. But Dizzy also impressed upon him the importance of getting to the roots of his own heritage, and Perez began creating music that seeks connection and defies boundaries. In this Piano Jazz session from 1994, he demonstrates his fresh ideas of music with his original composition “Reminiscing.” 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 31, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 1, 7 pm -

Gary Burton
Courtesy of the artist

  Five-time Grammy Award-winner Gary Burton taught himself to play the vibraphone as a young person and began his recording career at age seventeen. He backed jazz greats, including George Shearing and Stan Getz, and went on to form his own quartet, combining jazz, rock, and other influences into what would become Fusion. On this Piano Jazz from 2005, Burton and McPartland perform tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hart, and many more. 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 24, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 25, 9 pm -

  British jazz pianist George Shearing (August 13, 1919 – February 14, 2011) was a friend and frequent guest of Marian’s on Piano Jazz. On this special edition from 2001, Shearing joins McPartland to celebrate the holidays in a jazzy way! The two reminisce about seasons gone by and perform both traditional and contemporary holiday tunes, including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Away in a Manger,” and “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

- News Stations: Sat, Dec 20, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 21, 7 pm -

Mel Tormé and Marian McPartland
SCETV

  Described by Rex Reed as “America’s greatest male singer,” Mel Tormé (September 13, 1925 – June 5, 1999) was one of the most versatile performers of his day. On this Piano Jazz from 1992, Tormé shares how his classic “The Christmas Song” inspired him to put out his own holiday album. He sings and plays “Too Late Now” and “Walking My Baby Back Home” with McPartland joining in.

  Pianist/composer Liz Story is a fascinating, ever-changing musician. She was inspired to pursue music after hearing Bill Evans perform, and her music has been compared to Copeland, Chopin, Debussy, Keith Jarrett, and Chick Corea. In this 1993 Piano Jazz session, Story plays “My Foolish Heart,” then she and McPartland get together for “All the Things You Are.”

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

  When Harry Connick Jr. sat down with Marian McPartland in 1991, he was in his twenties and coming off the heels of his successful “Big Band Tour.” He has gone on to become a Grammy-winning recording artist with multiple best-selling albums and a successful acting career. On this Piano Jazz, Connick sings and plays “They Didn’t Believe Me” and joins McPartland for “Stompin at the Savoy.”

  As the son of jazz legends John and Alice Coltrane, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is continuing the legacy he has inherited by developing his own sound and feeling. In 2012, he released his sixth album, Spirit Fiction. In 2000, he joined McPartland to talk about his family’s musical heritage and his individual approach to music. On this Piano Jazz, Coltrane and McPartland duet on “What is This Thing Called Love?” and “If I Should Lose You.”

- News Stations: Sat, Nov 22, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Nov 23, 7 pm -

  Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress/vocalist Ruth Brown (January 12, 1928 – November 17, 2006) was one of the pioneers of R&B. Brown also hosted a blues program on NPR called Blues Stage that helped bring wider attention to the genre. On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1993, Brown’s roots in blues, R&B, and jazz are on display as she sings to McPartland’s accompaniment on “Skylark” and “Fine and Mellow.”

- News Stations: Sat, Nov 15, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, Nov 16, 7 pm - 

- News Stations: Sat, Nov 8, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, Nov 9, 7 pm - 

  - News Stations: Sat, Nov 01, 8pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Nov 2, 7 pm - 

  This broadcast of Piano Jazz is in memory of pianist Kenny Drew Jr. (June 14, 1958 - August 3, 2014). The son of pianist Kenny Drew, who rose to fame in the fifties and sixties, Kenny Drew Jr. made his own way with a virtuosic career in both jazz and classical. He favored distinct, single-note lines but could also play in a full orchestral style. In this 1992 session, Drew interprets Monk’s “In Walked Bud,” then he and McPartland collaborate on “Falling in Love with You.”

Roy Hargrove
Adriana Mateo

- Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 26, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Oct 25, 8 pm  - 

 

   Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove has played with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Mulgrew Miller, and Bobby Watson. His blazing sound, depth of feeling, and joy in playing was evident even from a young age, when he was discovered by Wynton Marsalis at a high school jazz clinic. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Hargrove joins McPartland for “I Wish I Knew,” and McPartland performs “Threnody.”

Cassandra Wilson
Ojah Media Group

Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 19, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Oct 18, 8 pm

  In this 1999 edition of Piano Jazz, recorded live at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City, host McPartland welcomes vocalist Cassandra Wilson for an hour of jazz standards. Wilson is known for the enormous range of emotion in her performances. She delights with an array of tunes, joining McPartland and bassist Peter Washington for “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “Old Devil Moon.”

Benny Green
Elde Steward

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

  Hard bop pianist Benny Green was mentored by Walter Bishop Jr. and has appeared on more than 100 recordings with artists such as Betty Carter, Milt Jackson, and Diana Krall. In 1993, Oscar Peterson chose Green to receive the Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music. He joined McPartland for Piano Jazz in 2003, demonstrating his swinging style and musical sensitivity on tunes including “What Are Your Doing with the Rest of Your Life?” and “You Make Me Feel So Young.”

Joe Wilder
www.independent.co.uk

News Stations: Sat, Oct 04 | Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 07/5
Joe Wilder

  This broadcast of Piano Jazz is in memory of trumpeter Joe Wilder (February 22, 1922 – May 9, 2014). Wilder had his first professional gig at age nineteen and went on to play with some of the most popular big band orchestras of the day. He continued recording and touring throughout his life and was awarded the Jazz Master Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In this 2001 session, Wilder joins McPartland and bassist Rufus Reid for the Gershwins’ “Lady be Good.”

Freddy Cole
Clay Walker (c) 2007

Classical Stations: Sun, Sept 27, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Sept 28, 8 pm

  Pianist, composer, and vocalist Freddy Cole can take any song and bring out colors and nuances never heard before. As Nat King Cole’s younger brother, he has developed his own style to showcase his familial vocal talents. He brings this special ability to “Sometimes I’m Happy.” Cole and McPartland wrap up this program from 1998 with a performance of “My Hat’s on the Side of My Head.”

Renee Rosness and Bill Charlap
Courtesy of the artists

Classical Stations: Sun, Sept 20, 7 pm | News Stations, Sat, Sept 21, 7 pm

Husband and wife pianists Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes join McPartland in this 2008 session, pushing the bounds of the Piano Jazz format to include three pianos in one room. Charlap is one of the finest interpreters of American popular song and Rosnes is a modern jazz wizard. They join McPartland for a trio of “You and the Night and the Music” as well as “I’ll Remember April.”

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Sep 10, 2014

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

Helen Merrill on Piano Jazz (1995)

Aug 27, 2014

Helen Merrill’s voice is an instrument that sometimes carries the melody and sometimes complements the improvisational skills of her co-musicians. In this session from 1995, McPartland performs a “Portrait of Helen Merrill.” Merrill joins McPartland to perform songs popularized by Billie Holiday, including Bob Haggart’s “What’s New” and Holiday’s “Don’t Explain.”

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