The Arts

Shirley Horn and Marian McPartland

1 hour ago
Marian McPartland and Shirley Horn, New York City, 1995
JR Capak

Pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn (1934 – 2005) possessed a unique vocal style and touch, most evident in her soulful ballads. Among her acclaimed albums is her 1993 tribute to Ray Charles, “Light Out of Darkness.” McPartland named the album as a favorite in this session from 1995, where the Grammy-winning artist delights with her incredible vocal range and faculty on the keys. A performer throughout her life, Horn was a guest three times on Piano Jazz, starting with an early appearance on the show in 1985, when a second phase of her career was just beginning.

Spoleto Festival USA Chamber Music director, Geoff Nuttall.
Spoleto Festival USA

For violinist Geoff Nuttall, finding the right performers for the Bank of America Chamber Music Series is critical. 

"Everybody that comes is not only amazing and an incredible player," Geoff says, "but also super-easy to work with and a joy to hang out with."

Alicia Keys and Marian McPartland

May 24, 2018
Marian McPartland and Alicia Keys, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2003
RJ Capak

Only 22 at the time of her appearance on the show, pianist, composer and vocalist Alicia Keys was already developing her own musical identity. When McPartland asked what she would call her musical style, Keys said she wouldn’t call it anything. “But I do think that it would be, you know, heart music,” she said, contemplating the question. “It’s music from my heart and it’s music from my soul.” Her honest and passionate sound was just beginning to take the music world by storm, as she began her quick ascent to stardom in the years that followed.

Tony Bennett and Marian McPartland

May 23, 2018
Tony Bennett and Marian McPartland, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2004
RJ Capak

Vocalist Tony Bennett is no stranger to the American Popular Songbook. The world-renowned musician is known for his unfaltering dedication to excellence and his ability to connect to audiences of all generations. The returning Piano Jazz guest dives into his vast repertoire of swinging jazz standards for McPartland and her listeners on this 2004 episode.

Barbara Cook at the 120th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall gala, MOMA, New York City. (April 12th 2011)
Joella Marano [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

This week Piano Jazz remembers Barbara Cook (1927 – August 8, 2017), the Tony and Grammy Award-winning lyric soprano who was a favorite of audiences around the world. She was a star on Broadway as an ingénue and became a staple of the New York cabaret scene in the later years of her prolific career. She was McPartland’s guest in 1998. Joined by her longtime musical collaborator and accompanist Wally Harper, Cook delights host McPartland with her rendition of “It Might as Well Be Spring.” McPartland returns the favor with her solo of “Plain and Fancy.”

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Brookgreen Gardens. The Archer M. and Anna Hyatt Huntington Sculpture Gardens at Brookgreen rests on thirty acres of display gardens in the middle of some 9,100 acres of the South Carolina lowcountry. The site is best known for its beautiful display gardens and its unrivaled American figurative sculpture collection, as well as its commitment to conservation and preservation. Ten garden “rooms” are highlighted by ponds, fountains, and sculpture set off by native plants and seasonal flowers—displayed against a tapestry of magnificent live-oaks and towering pines.

The mandolin is a central of many Bluegrass groups. (Mandolin player with the Jeff Austin Band, on stage at the 80/35 music festival in Des Moines, July, 2016.)
Max Goldberg via Flickr [CC BY 2.0}

Bluegrass music has always been popular in South Carolina, but Willie Wells thinks it’s about to break out to a new, mass popularity.  Every Friday night, Wells holds a bluegrass jam at his store, Bill’s Music Shop and Pickin’ Parlor.  Fans and musicians enjoy a performance before getting out their guitars, banjos and fiddles to play country, gospel and bluegrass tunes with each other. 

Fud Livingston
Discogs

Charleston’s Fud Livingston, 'Jazz Age' arranger, composer, and musician, made memorable music.

Joseph Anthony “Fud” Livingston, born in Charleston, SC, in 1906, was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, arranger, and composer who played with some of the most renowned musicians of the Jazz Age, including Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and the Dorsey brothers, Tommy and Jimmy. He arranged for Broadway and wrote songs, the most famous of which is “I’m Through with Love.”

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.”

Narrative: A Daughter's Love Passed Down

Feb 12, 2018
Tonya German and her mother Nancy Wegner, Columbia 2016
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Columbia in 2016, Tonya German spoke with her mother Nancy Wegner about her early life, starting with the last time Nancy saw her own mother as a child. Here’s Tonya.