Laura Hunsberger

Producer

Laura Hunsberger began her career in radio in 2010 at WHQR in Wilmington, NC and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Nonfiction from UNCW. In 2012, Hunsberger began working as Associate Producer for the NPR and South Carolina Public Radio program Song Travels with Michael Feinstein. In 2015, she became a staff reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, reporting on statewide and national news and covering the historic floods that hit South Carolina in October 2015.

Ways to Connect

David Amram
david-amram.blogspot.com

Well-known for his compositions, film scores, and appearances as a guest conductor, David Amram started his professional life in music as a French hornist in the National Symphony Orchestra in the early 1950s. He went on to play horn in the legendary jazz bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lionel Hampton. He is a prolific composer whose music is based on Latin American, Middle Eastern Ancient Jewish, and Modern idioms. In this 1991 session, Amram performs on piano, horn, and a variety of flutes and whistles.

Allen Toussaint
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist, singer, composer and producer Allen Toussaint is one of the leading figures of New Orleans R&B. His hits include "Working in a Coal Mine" and "Lady Marmalade." He’s worked with artists including The Meters, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello. On this Song Travels, Toussaint joins host Michael Feinstein to talk about the iconic recordings of his original songs “Mother in Law” and "Whipped Cream." Toussaint also performs his compositions live, including "Get Out of My Life Woman" and "Southern Nights."

Actress and singer Marilyn Maye is a lifelong performer with a career spanning nearly eight decades. Her big break came in the 1950s, and she went on to become a staple of the New York and West Coast cabaret scenes. On this edition of Song Travels, Maye discusses her ongoing performing and teaching career, her 76 appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, and her many runs in Hello, Dolly! She and host Michael Feinstein duet in a medley of "Big Time" and "Open a New Window."

News Stations: Sat, Apr 16, 2 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Apr 19, 6 pm

Nnenna Freelon
Concord Records

Internationally hailed as the greatest vocalist to come along in decades, Nnenna Freelon exudes both class and sophistication. Her soulful style consists of fresh interpretations of classic standards. A six-time Grammy Award nominee, in 2014 she starred in the critically acclaimed show Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles in Las Vegas. On this 2002 Piano Jazz, Freelon surprises McPartland with a lyric to her original tune "Threnody."

News Stations: Sat, Apr 15, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Apr 16, 7 pm

Jay Leonhart
JonasMusicServices.com

Bassist Jay Leonhart is a highly sought-after session musician, a trio leader, and a one-man act. He got his start as a kid playing banjo and guitar with his brother in the '40s and '50s, and was inspired to take up the bass after hearing Ray Brown and the Oscar Peterson Trio. Leonhart has played with musicians from all genres and has been on the New York jazz scene for almost five decades. On this Song Travels, Leonhart brings songs and stories from his act and joins host Michael Feinstein for a duet of the Gershwin-inspired original tune "Problem."

Marian McPartland and Dorothy Donegan during the Piano Jazz recording session in 1983.
South Carolina Public Radio

This week Piano Jazz remembers NEA Jazz Master Dorothy Donegan (1922 – 1998) with an early session from 1983. Donegan's technical command of the piano was nothing short of breathtaking, and she was known for her onstage antics and flamboyance. In the house with McPartland, she attacks the piano—hammering away with her elbows and knuckles on "Darn That Dream" and "Stormy Weather." McPartland and Donegan play two pianos on "Lullaby of Birdland" and "Rosetta."

News Stations: Sat, Apr 08, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Apr 09, 7 pm

Carli Muñoz
carlimunoz.com

Pianist Carli Muñoz’s musical journey has taken him from Puerto Rico to the studios and clubs of LA, and back to the island of his birth, where he owns his own jazz club. His musical career has taken a similar circular trajectory. Having started out as a jazz musician, he played with pop musicians such as the Beach Boys and Rickie Lee Jones before returning full time to his first love, jazz. On this 2007 Piano Jazz, he plays his own tune “Mia” and joins McPartland for Cole Porter’s “So In Love.”

Jon Regen
jonregen.com

Pianist, vocalist and composer Jon Regen was an apprentice of the renowned pianist Kenny Barron. Regen has performed at venues worldwide, including a month-long stint at the Blue Note in Japan, and toured with Kyle Eastwood’s band. On this episode of Song Travels, Regen performs the title track from his 2015 album Stop Time and joins Michael Feinstein for a duet of “Young and Foolish.”

News Stations: Sun, Mar 26, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 26, 6 pm

Judy Roberts
judyroberts.com

Pianist and vocalist Judy Roberts is one of Chicago’s best-loved musicians. She’s an imaginative and insightful pianist with an articulate touch, and her voice readily conveys many different moods. Since beginning her professional career at age 15, Roberts has traveled the world, gaining fans and garnering critical acclaim. She always keeps her audiences enthralled, as she did on this 2005 Piano Jazz, recorded in front of a live audience at WAMC in Albany, New York. She performs McPartland’s “Twilight World,” and the two get together for “Gravy Waltz.”

Herb Alpert is a world-renowned musician, composer, producer and co-founder of A&M Records. He rose to fame with the Tijuana Brass, and remains the only artist to have a No. 1 record as a singer and an instrumentalist. This week Alpert and his wife, vocalist Lani Hall, share stories from their remarkable careers. Alpert joins Feinstein for an instrumental duet of “When Sonny Gets Blue,” and Hall performs “That Old Black Magic” with Feinstein’s accompaniment.

News Stations: Sun, Mar 19, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 19, 6 pm

Joey DeFrancesco at the North Sea Jazz Festival.
Thomas Faivre-Duboz [CC 2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Joey DeFrancesco was only 20 years old when he was McPartland’s guest on Piano Jazz. Hailed as the new hero of the organ, his stint with Miles Davis brought the classically trained keyboardist national attention. He has since gone on to release more than 30 albums and has earned multiple Grammy nominations. For this 1991 session, DeFrancesco switches to piano to play his own compositions and joins McPartland for “Cherokee.”

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

Neil Sedaka
neilsedaka.com

Neil Sedaka is synonymous with popular music. He had a string of early-1960s pop hits, and his songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, Elvis Presley and The Monkees, among others. On this Song Travels, host Michael Feinstein and Sedaka talk and play iconic pop and great standards, including one of his many hits: “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.”

News Stations: Sun, Mar 12, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 12, 6 pm

Ahmad Jamal
Courtesy of the artist

One of the most popular stylists in contemporary jazz, pianist Ahmad Jamal has been a major force on the jazz recording scene ever since his 1958 live album made at Chicago’s Pershing Lounge. On this 1985 Piano Jazz, Jamal reprises two classics from that session—“Poinciana” and “But Not for Me”—in duet with McPartland. Jamal solos on Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” and he and McPartland close the program with a final duet on “Silent Night, Holy Night.”

News Stations: Sat, Mar 04, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Mar 05, 7 pm

Trudy Pitts
lifelinemusiccoalition.com

Organist, arranger, composer, teacher, and singer Trudy Pitts (1932 – 2010) earned a reputation not only for her technical prowess, but also for her ability to convey a wide range of emotions. Her formal training was classical: she studied piano at Juilliard and Temple University, but came to jazz by way of the organ. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Pitts’ sensitive touch is apparent when she solos on “A Child is Born.” Then she and McPartland create a memorable “Mood Indigo.”

News Stations: Sat, Feb 25, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Feb 26, 7 pm

Doug Wamble
dougwamble.com

Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Doug Wamble grew up listening to the Southern gospel, country, and blues traditions of his Tennessee home. Once he developed his love for jazz, Wamble began to soak up the sounds of jazz masters like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Ornette Coleman. Along the way he discovered his off-the-cuff singing was a hit with fans and critics alike. In this 2005 Piano Jazz session, Wamble and McPartland span the jazz genre, from “St. Louis Blues” to Charlie Parker’s “Naima.”

Eric Benét
ericbenet.net

Singer and actor Eric Benét charges his old-school soul songwriting with healthy doses of modern funk and hip-hop. His winning formula has been recognized with multiple Grammy and NAACP Image Award nominations. Benét joins host Michael Feinstein on this edition of Song Travels for a set of original tunes, as well as classics by Stevie Wonder, The Carpenters and Earth, Wind & Fire.

News Stations: Sun, Feb 26, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 26, 6 pm

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.
Lamonte McLemore

The husband and wife team of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Dr. met as members of the iconic ’60s group The Fifth Dimension. They went on to perform as a successful duo and to host their own television show. More than forty years later, their music and mutual respect and love are still going strong. Performances on this week’s Song Travels include “Mona Lisa” and “Here’s That Rainy Day.”

News Stations: Sun, Feb 19, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 19, 6 pm

Keith Ingham (left) pictured with bandmate Harry Allen on the cover of a 1994 Progressive Records release.
Progressive Records

British-born pianist Keith Ingham began his jazz career in London after studying Mandarin at Oxford University. In the late ’70s, he moved to New York, which led him to connect with the likes of Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, and Susannah McCorkle, for whom he was pianist and musical director. He was McPartland’s guest on this 1997 Piano Jazz. Ingham opens the program with “A Foggy Day in London Town.” He and McPartland close the show with a duet of “Little Rock Get Away.”

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

Cheyenne Jackson
officialcheyennejackson.com

Actor/vocalist Cheyenne Jackson is equally at home on the stage and in front of the camera. He won a Theatre World Award for this role in All Shook Up, and his one-man show, Back to the Start, was a sold-out hit. Jackson has also appeared on 30 Rock and Glee, and has recorded an album of duets with Song Travels host Michael Feinstein, titled The Power of Two. The pair reunites this week to perform songs from Tom Waits, Elton John, and Katy Perry.

News Stations: Sun, Feb 12, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 12, 6 pm

Barry Harris
Courtesy of the artist

Barry Harris is a seminal figure in the jazz world. As the “keeper of the bebop flame,” Harris is committed to preserving jazz through education and performance. His workshops play an important part in his life and in the lives of many young musicians. On this 2002 Piano Jazz, Harris demonstrates how he earned the reputation as one of the most inventive and respected pianists today when he solos on “It Could Happen to You.” Host McPartland and Harris show off their bebop chops on Charlie Parker’s “Au Privave.”

Elaine Stritch in 1973.
Allan Warren via Wikimedia Commons

Three-time Emmy winner Elaine Stritch (1925 – 2014) became a star on Broadway before going on to play a string of highly regarded film and television roles. Stritch was Michael Feinstein’s guest in this session, recorded in 2013. In honor of the late Stritch’s birthday on February 2, Song Travels presents this hour of delightful music and candid talk about her life and career.

News Stations: Sun, Feb 05, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 05, 6 pm

Leftover Cuties
Greg Anderson

The Los Angeles noir-pop band Leftover Cuties has a sound that’s both retro and refreshing. On this episode of Song Travels, host Michael Feinstein talks with Shirli McAllen, Leftover Cuties’ lead singer and ukulele player. On this Song Travels, the band performs a set of originals from The Spark and the Fire, along with its unique interpretation of "You Are My Sunshine."

News Stations: Sun, Mar 05, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 05, 6 pm

Miloš Karadaglić
Miloš Karadaglić/Mercury Records

Classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić began performing as his country, the former Yugoslavia, was being torn apart by war. He entered the Royal Academy of Music in London, and his hard work paid off with an acclaimed 2012 solo concert at Royal Albert Hall. In this session, Karadaglić showcases his love of Latin music with pieces by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos and Argentine tango master Astor Piazzolla.

News Stations: Sun, Jan 29, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 29, 6 pm

Kendra Shank
John Abbott

From a background in visual arts and French literature at the University of Washington, Kendra Shank has been pursuing a successful singing career from Seattle to Paris to New York, where she is currently based. Shank’s sensuous phrasing and crystal clear tone have earned praise from critics and fans alike. On this Piano Jazz from 2007, Shank’s thoughtful yet emotional voice illuminates Jerome Kern’s “Long Ago and Far Away.” Shank also shows off her skill on the guitar, as she joins McPartland for “In the Days of Our Love.”

Lily Frost
Ivan Otis

In the ’90s, Canadian singer-songwriter Lily Frost got her start with the cabaret-inspired band The Colorifics. She’s since made the jump to solo artist and songwriter. Her musical mentor, the late Ray Condo, inspired her album Lily Swings, which recalls Regina Spektor and Feist. On this Song Travels, she performs her original song "Enchantment," as well as a few old favorites.

News Stations: Sun, Jan 22, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 22, 6 pm

Lalo Schifrin
Price Rubin and Partners

Composer, arranger, and pianist Lalo Schifrin trained classically as a young man in Argentina. He went on to study at the Paris Conservatory as he developed a career as a jazz musician, playing and recording in Europe. He has written more than 100 film and television scores and has won multiple Grammys and Academy Award nominations. On this 1997 Piano Jazz, Schifrin treats listeners to a solo version of his composition “Down Here on the Ground” from the hit movie Cool Hand Luke.

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

Bobby McFerrin
Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist Bobby McFerrin is best known for his 1988 hit “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” which was the first a capella song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year. McFerrin also has five Grammy wins for Best Male Jazz Vocal and has created a concert version of Porgy and Bess. This week McFerrin stops by Song Travels’ studio to talk about his endless creativity and the enduring appeal of the Gershwins.

News Stations: Sun, Jan 15, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 15, 6 pm

Jeannie Cheatham with her late husband, Jimmy Cheatham.
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist and vocalist Jeannie Cheatham began piano lessons at the tender age of five and at 13 became intoxicated with the sounds of jazz. Cheatham toured with such blues artists as Jimmy Witherspoon, T-Bone Walker, Odetta, and Big Mama Thornton.

In the 1950s she met her husband, bass trombonist Jimmy Cheatham, and the pair formed the Sweet Baby Blues Band. On this 1989 Piano Jazz, Cheatham performs “Midnight Mam.” McPartland and Cheatham join forces for a swinging duet on “Perdido.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 014, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 15, 7 pm

Toots Thielemans

Jan 2, 2017
Toots Thielemans
Jos Knaepen

This week Piano Jazz remembers Jean-Baptiste “Toots” Thielemans (1922 – 2016), unrivaled master of the jazz harmonica. He was recognized the world over for his trademark style and tender sound, and he worked with greats such as Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, and Quincy Jones. With a list of recording credits including the theme for Sesame Street, alongside film scores and commercials, Thielemans was a legend. In this session from 2005, he exchanges stories with McPartland and joins her for “Giant Steps” and “Georgia.”

Ann Hampton Callaway
Courtesy of the artist

Tony Award-nominated actress, vocalist and songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway has sung with top orchestras and big bands the world over. As a songwriter, she penned tunes for Barbara Streisand and wrote and sang the theme to the hit sitcom The Nanny. On this Song Travels, she performs a set of standards, including “Our Love is Here to Stay.”

News Stations: Sun, Jan 08, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 08, 6 pm

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