Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

News & Talk Stations: Sat, 8-9 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, 7-8 pm

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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Lee Konitz at Regattabar
Upsilon Andromedae [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A former member of the Miles Davis "Famous Nonet," Lee Konitz is the foremost saxophonist in the cool style of jazz. He is also a composer, arranger, and teacher. While his very first instrument was a clarinet, he favored tenor sax and made his way to alto. What’s more, he plays the piano! On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Konitz and McPartland combine forces for a version of "Like Someone In Love."

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

Patrice Rushen
Courtesy of the Artist

  A popular vocalist whose talent ranges from jazz to soul to R&B, Patrice Rushen is also a songwriter, arranger, and master keyboardist. She has performed with and produced for artists such as Stevie Wonder, Prince, Nancy Wilson, Michael Jackson, and Dianne Reeves, and she has played at some of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals. On this 1987 Piano Jazz, Rushen demonstrates her talents with "Ocean Song." McPartland responds with "What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?"

  Award-winning pianist and vocalist Lenore Raphael has emerged as one of the most promising musicians in modern mainstream jazz. Influenced by such jazz greats as Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, and Thelonious Monk, Raphael has developed her own swinging style. On this 2002 edition of Piano Jazz, she brings her creative ideas to the tune “I’m Old Fashioned.” McPartland joins Raphael to end the hour with “Blue Monk.”

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

Jack DeJohnette
Courtesy of the Artist

  Jack DeJohnette got his start on the piano as a child, but he took up the drums at eighteen and went on to become one of the most inventive and important drummers in modern jazz history. He’s provided rhythm for greats such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Keith Jarrett. In this 1993 Piano Jazz session, DeJohnette shares the story behind the real "Freddy the Freeloader." McPartland and bassist Christian McBride join in for a jam on the McPartland original "Ambiance."

Daniela Schaechter
Courtesy of the Artist

In 2005, Sicilian pianist Daniela Schaechter won the prestigious Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz competition. Ever devoted to the next generation of female jazz musicians, McPartland wasted no time in having Schaechter on this 2006 show. Schaechter's opening tune, an original called "Thinking of You," hints at her classical training while confirming her fondness for jazz masters like Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. She and McPartland wrap the hour with a duet of Cole Porter's "I Love You."

News Stations: Sat, Aug 05, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug 06, 7 pm

As the swinging pianist in the Quincy Jones Orchestra, Patti Bown (1931 – 2008) kept the music moving. In honor of her July 26 birthday, Piano Jazz remembers Bown with this encore from the early years of the program. Bown joins host McPartland to talk about the role of women in jazz. She presents her rendition of Coltrane's "Giant Steps" and shares her Swahili love song, "Oh My Darling, How I Love You."

News Stations: Sat, Jul 29, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jul 30, 7 pm

Jackie King, Willie Nelson, and Marian McPartland

Country music legend Willie Nelson and jazz guitarist Jackie King (1945 – 2016) performed and recorded together for decades. They were McPartland's guests for this unforgettable 2002 Piano Jazz. Songs include standards like "The Nearness of You" and Nelson's classic ballad, "Crazy," plus a few selections from Nelson and King's collaboration from 2000, with "The Gypsy" and "Heart of a Clown."

News Stations: Sat, Jul 22, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jul 23, 7 pm

Gerald Wiggins
Courtesy of the Artist

Piano Jazz remembers jazz piano master Gerald Wiggins (1922 – 2008). Born in Harlem, Wiggins began learning classical piano at a young age, but he discovered jazz through pianists Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum. In this 1992 session, Wiggins talks about some of his early professional gigs with the big bands of Benny Carter and Les Hite. He and McPartland journey back with Sammy Cahn's "If It's the Last Thing I Do" and a Wiggins original, "Edie Is a Sweetie." The two wind up the hour with a duet of Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time."

Sandy Stewart and Bill Charlap

Vocalist Sandy Stewart first emerged as a star on the cabaret scene during the 1960s, and her marriage to Broadway composer Moose Charlap kept her plugged into a vibrant music community. In 2005, Stewart and her son, pianist Bill Charlap, collaborated on their first album together, "Love Is Here to Stay." On this Piano Jazz from 2006, mother and son bring a rare combination of swing and sophistication with a performance of "Two for the Road."

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

This 2007 Piano Jazz remembers one of the great innovators of the bebop style—pianist Duke Jordan (1922 – 2006). He's perhaps best known for his innovative work with Charlie Parker's legendary 1947 quintet, and he played with a number of other legends including Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, and Sonny Stitt. Jordan joined McPartland in 1980 for a session including duets on "Groovin' High" and his original "Jordu."

News Stations: Sat, Jul 01, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jul 02, 7 pm

Eddie Gomez
Claudio Casanova/

A two-time Grammy Award winner, bassist Eddie Gomez has been on the cutting edge of music for over four decades. He has held down rhythm sections and set the groove for some of the heavyweights of jazz—from Bill Evans to Miles Davis to Chick Corea. His masterful touch and sense of swing shine through, whether he's grooving in the background or bringing the bass up front. On this 1993 Piano Jazz, he and McPartland dazzle with performances of "Turn Out the Stars" and "Stella by Starlight."

News Stations: Sat, June 24, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, June 25, 7 pm

Pianist LeeAnn Ledgerwood studied at the Berkley College of Music alongside fellow musicians Branford Marsalis and Terrence Blanchard. She became a protégée of Marian McPartland, who encouraged her to pursue a career in jazz. She was McPartland’s guest on Piano Jazz in 1990. In this session Ledgerwood shows off her keen sense of style with "I Want to Talk about You." McPartland joins in for a duo version of "Broadway."

News Stations: Sat, June 17, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, June 18, 7 pm

Nat Hentoff
The Cato Institute

A prolific author and jazz critic for more than half a century, Nat Hentoff (1925 – January 7, 2017) wrote for publications including the Village Voice, Down Beat, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post. For his commitment to jazz and his unique contribution to the music, Hentoff was honored in 2005 by the NEA as a Jazz Master—the first such honor bestowed on a non-musician. On this 2006 Piano Jazz, McPartland honors her guest by performing a "Portrait of Nat Hentoff."

News Stations: Sat, June 10, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, June 11, 7 pm

Joyce DiCamillo
Joyce DiCamillo is a Steinway Artist

For more than thirty years, pianist and composer Joyce DiCamillo has led her own trio, which critics hail as “a compact unit that breathes almost as one.” A dedicated educator, DiCamillo appears in high schools and universities around the country and is a model for women in jazz. On this Piano Jazz from 2000, she demonstrates her considerable keyboard talents on "If I Should Lose You." DiCamillo and McPartland join forces for a rendition of "What Is This Thing Called Love."

News Stations: Sat, Jun 03, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jun 04, 7 pm

Terence Blanchard
Nitin Vadukul

Multiple Grammy winner, trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard carries the torch of New Orleans jazz in the tradition of the great Louis Armstrong, who shares his hometown. This spring Blanchard comes to Charleston, South Carolina, with his quintet, The E-Collective, to perform at the Spoleto Festival. In 2004 he was McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz. McPartland and Blanchard are joined by bassist Gary Mazzaroppi for a trio set of standards such as "I Thought about You" and "Now's the Time."

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

Dee Dee Bridgewater
Mark Higashino

Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater began her career as the lead vocalist of a jazz band. She honed her talent and headed to Broadway in 1975, where her performance in The Wiz was honored with a Tony Award. She has been a featured performer at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. On this Piano Jazz from 2003, Bridgewater exhibits her knowledge and enthusiasm when she sings “September Song” and "Beginning to See the Light."

News Stations: Sat, May 20, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, May 21, 7 pm

  Percussionist T.S. Monk was born into the world of jazz. As the son of Thelonious Monk, his home was the gathering place for musicians such as Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Max Roach, who gave him his first pair of drumsticks. An accomplished musician, T.S. has charted his own course as a composer, arranger, and melodic drummer. In 1995 he and McPartland dedicated this Piano Jazz set to Thelonious, performing classics such as “‘Round Midnight,” “Mysterioso,” and “Straight, No Chaser.”

Carmen Cavallaro (1913 – 1989) was known as the “Poet of the Piano,” whose tender style created an ideal atmosphere for romantics worldwide. An outstanding pianist and a versatile performer, Cavallaro played everything from beguiling ballads to swinging jazz numbers and vibrant interpretations of Latin American melodies. He was McPartland’s guest shortly before he passed away in 1989. On this Piano Jazz, Cavallaro solos on his own arrangement of “Cole Porter Melody” and joins McPartland for a piece entitled “Lover.”

Regina Carter
Courtesy of the Artist

Jazz violinist Regina Carter is one of today’s most original and daring musicians. Classically trained, Carter grew up in Detroit, where she absorbed all the music that Motown had to offer. While in high school Carter became inspired when she discovered jazz violinists such as Noel Pointer, Ray Nance, and Eddie South. On this 2003 Piano Jazz, Carter brings her stellar technique and infectious energy to bear when she joins McPartland for "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "The Music Goes Round and Round."

News Stations: Sat, Apr 29, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Apr 30, 7 pm

David Amram

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.

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

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

Mose Allison
Michael Wilson,

One of the most original and provocative musicians in jazz, pianist Mose Allison (1927 – 2016) was heavily influenced by the blues. The Mississippi native drew inspiration from Sonny Boy Williamson, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, and Thelonious Monk to create jazz flavored by the blues, along with tastes of his own sardonic wit. On this 1988 Piano Jazz, Allison opens with one of his typically witty tunes, “Someone’s Going to Have to Move.” He and McPartland join forces on an old classic, “Your Red Wagon.”

Carli Muñoz

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.”

Judy Roberts

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.”

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

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

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

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.”

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