arts and culture

SC Public Radio

Rudy shares some of Longfellow's poetry, "If Spring Came but Once a Year."

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.”

Alicia Keys with Marian McPartland in 2003
Piano Jazz Session

This edition of Narrative features an interview by Christian McBride, host of NPR’s Jazz Night in America. He had a conversation with South Carolina Public Radio’s own Shari Hutchinson, who produced Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz for more than 25 years.

Marian with Jimmy McPartland at the Piano Jazz recording session.

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.”

The horn section of the band at Lee Correctional Institution.  Musicians work on original songs to perform with members of DeCoda, a New York-based chamber music group.   The annual week of collaboration is something new for everyone involved.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville counts numerous musicians among its inmates.  Such is their talent that they have attracted the attention of DeCoda, a New York-based chamber music group.  For four years now, the prison has sponsored a program with the group in which DeCoda comes to work with the prisoners at Lee for a week to write and play music for an annual performance.  

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.

Massive, Seldom-Staged Bernstein Work Comes to SC

Feb 27, 2018

With musical influences as diverse as jazz, Broadway, rock, and the liturgy of the Catholic Church, Leonard Bernstein’s MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers is a work that demands versatility from its scores of performers. The range of music genres in Mass, along with the difficulties of coordinating the variety of performing groups for which it calls, make staging the work a seldom-pursued challenge.

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.”

For pianist Paolo Gualdi, variety is an important part of being a well-rounded musician. 

According to the Francis Marion University professor, “It’s a great advantage to be open to many, many different kinds of music. It doesn’t matter what you’re listening to, as long as it’s high-quality, as long as there’s something interesting about it.”

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.”

Like father, like son.

SC composer Richard Maltz thrives on linking family relationships to his passion for creating music. His son, the Vienna-based pianist Daniel Adam Maltz, isn’t so different. Daniel will give the premiere performance of his father’s piano concerto on Thursday, February 8th, at the USC Aiken Etherredge Center.  The concerto, along with Richard’s Symphony No. 2, “Fraternal,” is part of a program entitled Mostly Maltz: Classicism Revisited.

An early publicity photo of Carline Ray.

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

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.”

Glen Wright leads Shape Note Singing at NEFFA.
squashpicker [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A musical tradition begun in Colonial America which flourished in the South in the late 19th to mid 20th centuries is still carried on in South Carolina.  It’s shape note singing - also known as fa-sol-la, Jubilee or sacred harp singing.  A method developed to teach music to people who couldn’t read music, the notes on the page use shapes such as round, square, and triangular to represent the various pitches. 

Liz Magnes on Piano Jazz

Jan 22, 2018
Liz Manges

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.”

Cover photo of a bird-filled sky above a line of trees at sunset.
Kathleen Robbins

Ed Madden, editor of Theologies of Terrain (Muddy Ford Press, 2017), writes that poet Tim Conroy “is a theologian of the best kind, a theologian of the ordinary.”

“He knows… [we] face crushing loss and daily difficulties. We have to learn to live the best we can here, now. … [Conroy] points us to a ‘cathedral’ of trees where we are encouraged to find not truth or healing but perspective—to measure ourselves ‘by how a towering / moment passes.’"

Tim Conroy and Ed Madden join Walter Edgar to talk about Conroy’s Theologies of Terrain.

SC Public Radio

Rudy shares words from Henri-Frédéric Amiel's journal:

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

Cola Ukulele Band rehearses for an upcoming performance.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Over the past decade or so, the ukulele has grown tremendously in popularity among a wide variety of people, helped by its use by popular artists such as Jason Mraz and Ingrid Michaelson.  The trend hit the Midlands recently when University of South Carolina music student Tim Hall got a grant to start the Cola (not Columbia, though that’s where it’s located) Ukulele Band.  Since its beginning, the band has attracted members of all ages, from elementary school children to grandparents. 

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."

Travel, history, ghosts and more are among the many subjects of the USC Press' books.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

The Palmetto State has a prestigious name in the world of publishing: the University of South Carolina Press. Because it’s a non-profit, it can publish scholarly books on important subjects that would not make a profit for commercial publishers, according to Suzanne Axland. But that doesn’t mean the press doesn’t publish for the general interest. It prints a wide variety of books on art, history, Southern culture, beautiful photography and more, even novels, says Axland.

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

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."

Poster for "Eight Days a Week."
Apple Corps

The 2017 Ron Howard documentary film “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years” highlights the cultural phenomenon of Beatlemania in the 1960s.  The movie captures America’s excitement as John, Paul, George and Ringo stormed the country at the forefront of the most popular musical revolution of the century, the British Invasion.