Laura Hunsberger


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

Sam Friend
Kaitlin Hanrahan/Courtesy of the artist

  Sam Friend and his band the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys play jazz, blues, and originals, drawing on the sound of grassroots jazz combos from a century ago. In this edition of Song Travels, Friend joins host Michael Feinstein to discuss his transition from New York trio musician to New Orleans bandleader. He shares his love of traditional “jass” with a rendition of “Sweet Lorraine” on six-string banjo.

News Stations: Sun, Aug 21, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Aug 21, 6 pm

David Sanchez
Siebe van Ineveld Rotterdam, via Wikimedia Commons

  Multiple Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanchez weaves threads of Latin American and North American jazz into a colorful tapestry. His vast experience includes performances with Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Palmieri, Paquito D’Rivera, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Kenny Barron. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, bassist John Benitez, drummer Adam Cruz, and host McPartland join Sanchez in a quartet to perform “My Shining Hour” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”

News Stations: Sat, Aug, 13 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug, 14 7 pm

Sheldon Harnick
Joan Marcus

  Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick has been a pillar of Broadway for more than 50 years. After showing promise in writing review songs, Harnick teamed up with composer Jerry Bock to write musicals. Their musical Fiorello! won a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1959. They went on to write hit shows, including Fiddler on the Roof and The Rothschilds. On this episode of Song Travels, Harnick takes listeners on a musical journey through his career’s stories and songs.

Dee Dee Bridgewater
Mark Higashino

  Grammy-winning singer and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater embodied the late Billie Holiday in the starring role of Lady Day in 2013. In addition to that performance and her Tony-winning role in The Wiz (1975), Bridgewater has appeared in shows such as Sophisticated Ladies and Cabaret. This week, she talks with host Feinstein about her experience playing Billie Holiday and performs a few of Holiday’s signature songs, including “God Bless the Child” and “Good Morning Heartache.”

Marilyn Crispell

  Critics hail pianist Marilyn Crispell as a “luminous presence at the forefront of creative music.” Known for challenging compositions and improvisations, she plays free jazz with an evocative and disciplined style. She has performed on stages the world over and in 2005 received a Guggenheim Fellowship. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Crispell solos her own composition “Fragments.” She and McPartland conclude the hour with Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser.”

News Stations: Sat, Aug 06, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug, 07, 7 pm

Eric Reed
Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr

  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.”

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

Barbara Carroll
Contact Music

  Jazz pianist Barbara Carroll is regarded as New York’s first lady of jazz piano. Her career has spanned seven decades and includes everything from appearances on Broadway to performances in concert halls worldwide, as well as a remarkable 24-year run at Bemelman’s Bar in the Carlyle Hotel. On this Song Travels, Carroll performs “No Moon at All” and joins host Feinstein for “Isn’t It a Pity.” This episode won an Award of Distinction in the 22nd Annual Communicator Awards.

News Stations: Sun, July 31, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, July 31, 6 pm

Jacky Terrason, Gent Jazz Festival, July 7, 2013
© Bruno Bollaert

  Pianist Jacky Terrasson was born in Berlin and raised in Paris. After moving to the US, he studied at Berklee College and went on to win the 1993 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. He has toured internationally and collaborated with greats such as Ray Brown, Cassandra Wilson, and Ry Cooder. Terrasson demonstrates his extraordinary talents in this 1995 Piano Jazz session, playing “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “Oleo.”

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

Hunter Hayes
Courtesy of the artist

  Rising country star Hunter Hayes performed at age four with Hank Williams Jr. and was the front man of his first band at age five He's now a versatile instrumentalist, writer, producer and performer with hits like “Storm Warning” and “Somebody’s Heartbreak.” His self-titled debut album was acknowledged with three Grammy nominations. On this Song Travels, Hayes talks about his musical roots in Cajun Louisiana as well as the stories that inspired him to write his many love songs.

News Stations: Sun, July 24, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, July 24, 6 pm

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

Gloria Gaynor

  Gloria Gaynor is best known for her sensational 1978 hit, “I Will Survive,” which won the only Grammy ever awarded for Best Disco Recording. The World Music Awards honored her with a Legend Award in 2002, and Gaynor was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005. On this Song Travels, Gaynor shares her 2012 single “All the Man That I Need” and performs standards with host Michael Feinstein. Live performances include renditions of “My Funny Valentine” and “Without a Song.”

News Stations: Sun, July 17, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, July 17, 6 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

Justin Kauflin
VSA International

  Jazz pianist Justin Kauflin attended William Paterson University, where he formed a friendship with his mentor, the late Clark Terry. Justin, who lost his vision at age eleven, connected with the trumpeter, who was dealing with his own vision loss. Their journey together was chronicled in the documentary Keep on Keepin’ On. He went to work with Quincy Jones, and his 2015 album, Dedication, topped the jazz charts. On this episode, which received a 2016 Gabriel Award, Kauflin remembers his mentor with “For Clark.”

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

Ginny Mancini

  Ginny Mancini performed with Mel Tormé and the Mel Tones before marrying fellow musician, composer, and conductor Henry Mancini, who passed away in 1994. He would have been 92 this April. This week, Song Travels remembers Henry Mancini as Ginny share stories of their life together, her career, and Henry’s remarkable contributions to American film, television, and song.

News Stations: Sun, July 03, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, July 03, 6 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.

José James
Janette Beckman

  June 26: José James

Singer and songwriter José James draws his musical inspiration from hip-hop and indie rock in addition to jazz and R&B. He’s toured extensively and has gained a following with his acclaimed 2013 album, No Beginning No End, and his 2014 release, While You Were Sleeping. On this episode of Song Travels, James remembers Billie Holiday, who was born 101 years ago this past April, and performs her classics “Lover Man” and “God Bless the Child.”

Curtis Stigers
Mali Lazell

Saxophonist, vocalist and songwriter Curtis Stigers wrote the Emmy-nominated theme song for the TV show Sons of Anarchy. Throughout his career, he’s been straddling genres and reinventing jazz and modern standards. On this Song Travels, Stigers joins host Michael Feinstein to discuss his journey to become a songwriter. Stigers performs his original “You’ve Got the Fever,” and Feinstein joins him for a duet of the standard “You Are Too Beautiful.”

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

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

The Freddy Cole Quartet to perform at Spoleto Festival USA's Wells Fargo Jazz Series.
Courtesy of the artist

Freddy Cole

  Younger brother of the late Nat King Cole, Freddy Cole has been hailed as one of the best male jazz singers of his generation. He performs with his quartet at Spoleto Festival USA.

Emily King
Emmanuel Afolabi

Grammy-nominated vocalist and songwriter Emily King is the daughter of internationally known jazz duo Marion Cowings and Kim Kalesti, and her musical journey has taken her far. She’s toured with John Legend and Sara Bareilles, and she’s released duets with José James and Taylor McFerrin. On this edition of Song Travels, King performs her original songs “Distance” and “Georgia.” Host Michael Feinstein joins on the piano for a rendition of “I Wish You Love.”

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

Jason Moran brings his Fats Waller Dance Party to the Wells Fargo Jazz Series at Spoleto Festival USA.
Clay Patrick McBride

  The Jason Moran Fats Waller Dance Party recalls the sounds of Harlem in the 1920’s with Moran’s innovative take on the music of Fats Waller.

The Randy Weston African Rhythms Sextet will perform at the Wells Fargo Jazz Series, Spoleto Festival USA.
George Braunschweig


   Pianist Randy Weston and his African Rhythms Sextet combine the sounds of traditional African music with American jazz.

  Pianist Randy Weston was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he absorbed the influence of jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He later moved to Africa to better understand his heritage and to learn how the traditional music of Africa is inherently connected with American music. He first heard the music of Africa mixed with jazz as he grew up in Brooklyn, which led him to his biggest influence, Thelonious Monk. The Randy Weston African Rhythms Sextet performs Thursday, June 2nd at 7 pm at the Charleston Gill-Yard Center.

Cecile McClorin Salvant
Mark Fitton

  Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk Competition, Cecile McLorin Salvant performs her interpretations of the standards and shares some original songs, too.

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.”

Chris Young
Sheryl Neilds

Chris Young was the 2006 winner of the TV series Nashville Star and is earning a spot among today’s top country voices. In 2010 he was nominated for Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. On this episode of Song Travels, host Michael Feinstein talks with Young about the array of musical influences that led to his career as a singer and songwriter. With guitarist Kevin Collier, Young brings his rich voice to a set of original songs and old favorites, including his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”

René Marie
Janice Yim

  From Dina Washington to Earth Kitt, René Marie embodies the spirit and sophistication of the great female jazz vocalists. This Spoleto Festival, Marie will perform set including new original music.

Arturo O'Farrill
John Abbott

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra bring big-band jazz from across the globe to the Spoleto Festival USA Jazz series during the festival's opening weekend.

René Marie
Janice Yim

  Jazz singer, songwriter and actress René Marie launched her career in 1999 with her self-released debut album, Renaissance, and quickly found success as a performer and recording artist. Her 2013 album, I Wanna Be Evil, is the first ever tribute album to the late Eartha Kitt. On this Song Travels, Marie explains what led to her recent project and performs “C’est si bon” and “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” with host Michael Feinstein at the keys.

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