Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

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Jazz legend Marian McPartland hosted Piano Jazz for over 30 years. The program continues to showcase the world's top musicians of all time with broadcasts and podcasts from it's archive. Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz is NPR's longest-running and most widely carried jazz program. A national production of South Carolina Public Radio.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

Pianist and vocalist Cleo Brown (1909 – 1995) was one of the early innovators of the boogie-woogie style and the first female instrumentalist to be named an NEA Jazz Master. She retired from performing in the 1950s and focused her attention on religious music, bringing her gifted voice and strong left hand to gospel tunes. On this 1985 Piano Jazz, Brown makes a rare appearance to perform her greatest hit, “Pinetop’s Boogie-Woogie,” and to recall the style’s heyday in the 1930s. She delights McPartland with a duet version of “A Closer Walk with Thee.”

Nicholas Payton
nicholaspayton.com

Trumpeter Nicholas Payton has been hailed as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. A native of New Orleans, Payton learned the art of improvisation from Wynton Marsalis and as a teen performed with the late trumpet master Clark Terry. A young virtuoso, he was in his twenties when he sat down with McPartland for this 1998 Piano Jazz session. Bassist Ray Drummond joins Payton and McPartland for a trio set, including the standard “Four” and an original improvised tune, “Payton’s Other Place Blues.”

Gil Goldstein
John Abbott

Composer and arranger Gil Goldstein came to the piano by way of the accordion, which he has rediscovered and added to the jazz lexicon. Collaborations with Jaco Pistorius and Bill Evans fostered his career and led to work with David Sanborn, Michael Franks, and Al Jarreau, among others, and to writing original scores for films. In this 2001 Piano Jazz session, Goldstein solos on his own “City Lights.” McPartland accompanies him as he plays accordion for a few tunes, including “Waltz for Debbie.”

Marian McPartland
SC Public Radio

No jazz musician has ever been heard more on public radio than the late Marian McPartland, the host of NPR's Piano Jazz for more than 40 years. But for all her ubiquity, how well did we really know her?

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

For more than 50 years, Earma Thompson (1923 – 2009) was a constant on the Chicago jazz scene. She was recognized as the reigning queen of Windy City jazz but spent most of her career as a dependable and accomplished side person. In her 80s Thompson released her first albums as a leader, including 2004’s Just in Time, which debuted shortly before her 2005 appearance on Piano Jazz. In this session, Thompson showcases her elegant, bluesy style on “Back at the Chicken Shack” before joining McPartland for “Lullaby of the Leaves.”

Marian with Jimmy McPartland at the Piano Jazz recording session.
SCETV

This year marks the centennial of Marian McPartland (1918 – 2013). In honor of the occasion, Piano Jazz revisits a session with Marian and Jimmy McPartland. In addition to playing with the early greats, such as Bix Beiderbecke and Fats Waller, trumpet legend Jimmy McPartland (1907 – 1991) was also responsible for introducing a young English pianist named Margaret Marian Turner to the American Jazz scene. In this classic program from 1990, the McPartlands perform one of Jimmy’s favorite tunes, “St. James Infirmary.”

Jeremy Monteiro rehearsing before the Jazznote Festival at Timbre.
Alfiedog [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Pianist Jeremy Monteiro grew up in Singapore, where he launched a remarkable career, landing his first gig at 17. He gained international attention in 1988 at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and has continued to gain acclaim worldwide throughout his career. To his credit he has more than 20 albums as a leader, is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and has received Singapore’s highest honor in the arts, the Cultural Medallion.

Carol Sloane, in an early promotional photo, 1958.
Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Historical Archive

Carol Sloane is a sublime singer of great songs. She is natural and unaffected, with a voice that embraces the melody and the listener with equal parts maturity and conviction. Combining spirit with character, elegance with style, Sloane has enchanted audiences all over the world. Her command of the Great American Songbook is unmatched. On this 2002 Piano Jazz, Sloane brings her effortless charms to Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek.” She and McPartland end the hour with Ellington’s “I Love You Madly.”

Frank Kimbrough
Pirouet Records

When pianist Frank Kimbrough was McPartland’s guest in 1997, he was performing regularly with the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra at Visiones Jazz Club in New York, where he has been active on the jazz scene for nearly four decades. An educator and recording artist, Kimbrough was a founding member and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective. In this Piano Jazz session, Kimbrough’s graceful, romantic style is evident on a Herbie Nichols tune, “Wildflower.” He and McPartland duet on Sonny Rollins’ “Doxy.”

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

Harmonically modern and rooted in the 1960s hard-bop school, Albert Dailey (1939 – 1984) had a superb command of his instrument. A leader and sideman, Dailey played piano with Art Blakey, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Charles Mingus, and Lee Konitz, to name only a few. He was one of McPartland’s guests in the early years of Piano Jazz. On this 1983 episode, Dailey demonstrates his brilliant sense of invention on “If You Could See Me Now” and joins McPartland on “Night in Tunisia.”

An early publicity photo of Carline Ray.
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Forceful double bassist and spirited vocalist Carline Ray (1925 – 2013) was known as one of the pioneering woman of jazz. A member of The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, she worked with prodigious female talents such as Mary Lou Williams and Marian McPartland. On this 1997 Piano Jazz, Ray shares her many abilities with McPartland as she performs on multiple instruments. Ray plays bass on “In a Sentimental Mood,” sings “Come Sunday,” and switches to piano for “After Hours.”

Charlie Watts
rollingstones.com

Drummer Charlie Watts has been the heartbeat of the Rolling Stones for more than 50 years, though he has always had a passion for jazz and the blues. Saxophonist Tim Ries plays with the Stones, but as a true jazz journeyman, he’s also worked with greats such as Maria Schneider, Maynard Ferguson, and Tim Woods. When Watts and Ries were on a break from the Rolling Stones’ World Tour in 2007, they sat down with McPartland for an hour of jazz and rock, with Ries’ arrangement of the Stones classic “Honkey Tonk Woman.”

Liz Magnes on Piano Jazz

Jan 22, 2018
Liz Manges
lizmanges.com

In 2001 McPartland introduced Piano Jazz audiences to Liz Magnes, one of Israel’s most dynamic and creative solo jazz pianists. Her signature style blends Eastern and Western influences, creating a World Music flavor. Magnes moved to New York in 2000, going on to perform coast to coast and dedicating much of her time to arts education. In this session, Magnes presents her percussive form on “Someone to Watch Over Me.” She and McPartland team up for “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Jan 27, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Jan 28, 7 pm

Eddie Palmieri
Jason Goodman/National Endowment for the Arts

Virtuoso pianist, bandleader, and composer Eddie Palmieri has been called “the madman of Latin Jazz.” His playing fuses the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of his jazz influences: Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner as well as his older brother, Charlie Palmieri. On this 2000 Piano Jazz, McPartland joins the band for an hour of Palmieri’s powerful rhythmic compositions. Palmieri and his group perform a set including “La Comparsa” and “Beloro Dos.” McPartland improvises a “Portrait of Eddie Palmieri.”

Tony DeSare
Courtesy of the Artist

Vocalist and pianist Tony DeSare discovered music at a young age and began performing as a teenager. He broke out on the New York music scene in the early 2000s with a role in the Off-Broadway review Our Sinatra and a lauded club debut at the Café Carlyle. On this 2008 Piano Jazz, McPartland accompanies him on “Memories of You” and “Do Nothing ‘till You Hear from Me.” DeSare recalls Sinatra with “Fly Me to the Moon” and performs an original, “How Will I Say I Love You.”

French-Canadian pianist and composer Lorraine Desmarais made her first appearance in the United States at the 1986 Great American Jazz Competition, where she took the highest honors. In 2012 she was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada for her work bringing Canadian jazz to the world. She was McPartland’s guest for this 1991 Piano Jazz. She performs a few of her own compositions, “The Third King” and “Memoir,” along with a set of standards.

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Jan 06, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Jan 07, 7 pm

Marian McPartland and Dizzy Gillespie.
SC Public Radio

2017 marks the centennial of jazz giant Dizzy Gillespie (1917 – 1993). In a classic Piano Jazz from 1985, Gillespie discusses his work with Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, demonstrates various rhythmic progressions, and shares his theory on Aretha Franklin’s unique vocal phrasing. Inspired by the session, McPartland spontaneously creates two new compositions in Gillespie’s honor: "For Dizzy" and "A Portrait of Diz." They perform several of Dizzy’s tunes, including "A Night in Tunisia" and "In a Mellow Tone."

Bobby Broom with drummer Makaye McCraven, INNone Jazzfestival, 2013.
Manfred Werner [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bobby Broom didn't begin playing guitar until age 12, but he developed his jazz chops quickly, gaining the attention of the legendary Sonny Rollins. Throughout the years, he's played with Rollins and other notable groups such as Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and he has toured with his own Bobby Broom Trio. He is also a jazz educator in Chicago. On this 2008 Piano Jazz, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi joins Broom and McPartland to kick off the set with the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love."

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

Pianist Don Pullen (1941 – 1995) was known for his melodic brilliance, swirling chords, and glissandos, and his kinetic, cascading piano attack could ignite any band. He gained his first experiences playing African American church music and R&B, and his career took off when he joined Charles Mingus' band in the 1970s. He went on to form his own quartet. In this 1989 Piano Jazz session, Pullen performs one of his original compositions, "Jana's Delight." He and McPartland get together for "All the Things You Are."

Beegie Adair
greenhillrecords.com

Beegie Adair, the Nashville native with a distinctive flair for the piano, has worked with jazz, pop, and country. She's played for movie and TV soundtracks, been in concerts, festivals, and clubs, and put in many orchestra appearances. On this 1991 Piano Jazz, Adair joins McPartland for a unique blend, including an original tune she whipped up for a friend's Christmas present: "Sylvia's Mayonnaise." McPartland and Adair duet on "Poor Butterfly."

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Dec 09, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Dec 11, 7 pm

Claudio Roditi
OhWeh [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

Integrating post-bop elements and Brazilian rhythmic concepts into his palette with ease, Claudio Roditi plays with power and lyricism. This versatility has kept the trumpeter and flugelhornist in demand as a leader, studio musician, and sideman. Having made his way from Brazil to the New York jazz scene in the 1970s, he was McPartland's guest for this 1996 Piano Jazz session. With McPartland at the piano, Gary Mazzaroppi on bass, and Roditi on his horn, the three dish up "I Remember April" and "Speak Low."

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

Ellyn Rucker's light sensual vocals and smooth swinging piano produce a wonderfully intriguing mixture. Hailing from Colorado, Rucker broke into the jazz big leagues in the 1980s after she took up her musical career fulltime. She remains a staple on the Denver music scene. On this 1993 Piano Jazz, her versatility is evident when she performs Cole Porter's "Everything I Love," then McPartland joins in to play the title tune from one of Rucker's albums, This Heart of Mine.

Milton Hinton with Cab Calloway.
Photographer unknown

Milt Hinton (1920 – 2000) was one of the world's legendary bass players. In a career that spanned eight decades, he played with just about everyone, from Cab Calloway to Ellington to Coltrane. He's often credited with bridging the gap from swing to modern jazz. In this 1991 session, Hinton "raps" his expansive resume, talks about his priceless collection of jazz photographs, and joins McPartland for "How High the Moon."

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Nov 18, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Nov 20, 7 pm

Ruth Laredo
Courtesy of Nonesuch Records

One of the premier classical pianists of her generation, Ruth Laredo (1937 – 2005) was known as America's First Lady of the Piano. In partnership with McPartland and Dick Hyman, Laredo produced wildly popular Three Piano Crossover Concerts, exploring the boundaries between classical music and jazz. In this 2004 Piano Jazz session, Laredo and McPartland continue their genre-bending excursions, juxtaposing Chopin with Jobim, and Scriabin with "Stella by Starlight."

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Nov 11, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Nov 13, 7 pm

Teri Thornton
Kwaku Alston

Piano Jazz remembers vocalist and pianist Teri Thornton (1934 – 2000), who lost her battle with cancer in the year after this 1999 session. Thornton first wowed audiences in 1963 with her hit recording of "Somewhere in the Night" from the television series Naked City. Her comeback to the jazz world was highlighted in 1998 when she won the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition. On this Piano Jazz, she and McPartland team up for an unforgettable "I'll Be Seeing You." Thornton performs her signature song, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon."

Makota Ozone
Courtesy of the artist

In 1984 when pianist Makoto Ozone was McPartland's guest for the first time, he had become known as a rising jazz star. In his early 20s he was already a master technician with many keyboard influences, including Oscar Peterson, but he first heard jazz from his father at home in Kobe, Japan. In this session he displays his powerful, hard-driving style, soloing on "Love for Sale" and "Here's that Rainy Day." Then Ozone joins McPartland for swinging duets on "Everything Happens to Me" and "You Stepped Out of a Dream."

Anat Fort
Courtesy of the artist

Israeli-born pianist, composer, and arranger Anat Fort is classically trained but is also well-studied in jazz improvisation. A prolific composer, her musical worlds come together in elegant and often intense tunes, and she has been commissioned to write work for both orchestra and jazz settings. In this 2007 Piano Jazz session, Fort performs her originals, including "Just Now" and "Something about Camels," before joining McPartland on "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise."

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Oct 21, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Oct 22, 7 pm

McCoy Tyner
Courtesy of the artist

McCoy Tyner is an inventive composer and pianist, perhaps best known for creating the lavish harmonies and percussive piano lines heard on some of John Coltrane's most famous recordings. He also has had a successful career as a leader with his own McCoy Tyner Trio. On this 1983 edition of Piano Jazz, Tyner puts his prodigious technique to work on "Lazy Bird," and McPartland gets on board for a driving duet of "Take the A Train."

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Oct 14, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Oct 15, 7 pm

Holly Hofmann
Courtesy of the artist

Classically trained flutist Holly Hoffman was influenced by her father, a fine jazz guitarist. At age five, she chose the flute because she could carry it to play music with him. Hoffman has taken the flute from the orchestra to the jazz stand, making her mark with a bluesy style all her own. In this session from 2002, bassist Darek Oles joins McPartland and Hoffman to perform a set including "You and the Night and the Music" and "Bohemia After Dark."

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Oct 07, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, Oct 08, 7 pm

Tony Caramia
SUNY

Tony Caramia is a world-class pianist and educator, currently teaching at the Eastman School of Music, where he is Director of Piano Pedagogy Studies and Coordinator of the Class Piano Program. Caramia is skilled in both classical and jazz, but has an affinity for ragtime, with a particular interest in British composer and pianist Billy Mayerl. McPartland got her start in the music business when she joined Mayerl’s piano quartet in England in the late 1930s. On this 2003 Piano Jazz, Caramia plays a famous Mayerl melody, “Marigold.”

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