Marian McPartland

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.”

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?

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."

Mose Allison
Michael Wilson, moseallison.com

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.”

  Bassist and vocalist Jim Ferguson got his start in South Carolina, where his father was a church music director. He picked up the bass late in high school and learned to play on the job before taking formal lessons. He went on to play with greats such as Teddy Wilson, Kenny Burrell, Mose Allison, and Stephen Grappelli. On this Piano Jazz from 2001, Ferguson joins host McPartland to perform “While We’re Young” and McPartland’s “There’ll Be Other Times.”

News Stations: Sat, May 07, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 08, 7 pm

- News Stations: Sat, May 09, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 10, 7 pm 

In addition to being a lauded pianist, composer, and arranger, Sharon Freeman is an accomplished French horn player. She has worked with many jazz greats, including Gil Evans, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, and Charlie Haden. In 1988, she was McPartland’s guest on Piano Jazz, where she demonstrated her skill as a pianist on standards such as “Body and Soul” and “Heaven,” along with her own composition “Waltz for Achim.”

  Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music. Guests featured on the broadcast of this memorial concert include Tony Bennett, Barbara Carroll, Bill Charlap, Michael Feinstein, Chris Brubeck, Jon Faddis, and many more. 

Remembering Marian: Jon Faddis and Jon Weber

Mar 4, 2015

Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music.

Remembering Marian: Bill Charlap, George Mraz

Mar 4, 2015

Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music.

Remembering Marian: Jon Weber, Eddie Gomez

Mar 4, 2015

Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music.

Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland’s remarkable life in music.

Arturo Sandoval
Courtesy of the artist

  Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is one of Cuba’s best-known musical exports. On this Piano Jazz from 2002, Sandoval showcases his talent as a pianist and composer. His inspiration for turning to the piano came from his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie, who prompted him to take it up. He joins McPartland for a duet of his composition “Blues in F,” and Sandoval solos on “Surena” and “Romantio.”

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  Renowned lyricists and songwriters Marilyn and Alan Bergman have been the recipients of Oscars, Grammy, Emmys, and many additional awards. Their works include “The Windmills of Your Mind,” the score for Yentl, and music for In the Heat of the Night. On this 2005 episode, they collaborate with McPartland as she accompanies Alan singing some of their trademark songs, “The Way We Were” and “Nice and Easy.” 

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  Vocalist Jackie Cain (May 22, 1928 – Sept. 15, 2014) was half of one of the best-known duos in jazz history, Jackie & Roy. She was an icon in the cabaret world, with a smooth, feathery voice. Her ability to express a full range of emotions as a performer allowed her to traverse the broad landscape of American popular song. On this 1999 edition of Piano Jazz, McPartland and bassist Dean Johnson join Cain for performances of “Wait ‘Til You See Her” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” 

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The late Eartha Kitt (1927 – 2008) was nothing less than an institution. Her enduring career spanned theater, cabaret, recording work, film, and television, including the infamous Catwoman of Batman fame. Orson Welles dubbed her “the most exciting woman in the world.” An international star, she brought new meaning to the word “versatility.” On this 1993 Piano Jazz, she performs “God Bless the Child” and “Lush Life” as only Kitt can. 

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  Pianist and composer Joe Sample (Feb. 1, 1939 – Sept. 12, 2014) began studying piano at age five and was exposed to a variety of musical traditions as a child. While still in high school in the late 1950s, he formed The Crusaders, with whom he played for much of his professional life. On this episode of Piano Jazz from 2005, Sample and McPartland team up for “I’ve Got Rhythm,” and Sample solos on his original tune “Carmel.” 

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  Longtime bandleader for NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman, Paul Shaffer’s early training was in the classics. But thanks to rock-n-roll, he grew up to lead what David Letterman has called “the world’s most dangerous band.” Also a composer, performer, and director, the versatile Shaffer is indeed a force to be reckoned with. On this 1988 Piano Jazz, he plays the standard “All the Things You Are” and teams up with McPartland for Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”

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  Guitarist Mimi Fox is in the vanguard of invigorating the jazz guitar tradition. She possesses a pure tone and an amazing set of chops and cooks whether playing bebop or ballads. Her compositional abilities are evident on this 2006 Piano Jazz as she plays her own tune “Perpetually Hip.” With McPartland on piano and Gary Mazzaroppi on bass, Fox tears up the fret board on “What is This Thing Called Love.” 

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  Michel Petrucciani (December 28, 1962 – January, 6 1999) was one of the greatest French jazz pianists of all time. Born with a genetic disease, he only stood at three feet, but with hands unaffected by his disease, Petrucciani had an extraordinary talent at the keys. He was only twenty-three when he joined McPartland for Piano Jazz. On this 1987 broadcast, Petrucciani plays his own composition, “The Prayer,” then he and McPartland combine their talents on John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.”

  British jazz pianist George Shearing (August 13, 1919 – February 14, 2011) was a friend and frequent guest of Marian’s on Piano Jazz. On this special edition from 2001, Shearing joins McPartland to celebrate the holidays in a jazzy way! The two reminisce about seasons gone by and perform both traditional and contemporary holiday tunes, including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Away in a Manger,” and “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

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Mel Tormé and Marian McPartland
SCETV

  Described by Rex Reed as “America’s greatest male singer,” Mel Tormé (September 13, 1925 – June 5, 1999) was one of the most versatile performers of his day. On this Piano Jazz from 1992, Tormé shares how his classic “The Christmas Song” inspired him to put out his own holiday album. He sings and plays “Too Late Now” and “Walking My Baby Back Home” with McPartland joining in.

  Pianist/composer Liz Story is a fascinating, ever-changing musician. She was inspired to pursue music after hearing Bill Evans perform, and her music has been compared to Copeland, Chopin, Debussy, Keith Jarrett, and Chick Corea. In this 1993 Piano Jazz session, Story plays “My Foolish Heart,” then she and McPartland get together for “All the Things You Are.”

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  As the son of jazz legends John and Alice Coltrane, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is continuing the legacy he has inherited by developing his own sound and feeling. In 2012, he released his sixth album, Spirit Fiction. In 2000, he joined McPartland to talk about his family’s musical heritage and his individual approach to music. On this Piano Jazz, Coltrane and McPartland duet on “What is This Thing Called Love?” and “If I Should Lose You.”

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  Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress/vocalist Ruth Brown (January 12, 1928 – November 17, 2006) was one of the pioneers of R&B. Brown also hosted a blues program on NPR called Blues Stage that helped bring wider attention to the genre. On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1993, Brown’s roots in blues, R&B, and jazz are on display as she sings to McPartland’s accompaniment on “Skylark” and “Fine and Mellow.”

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  This broadcast of Piano Jazz is in memory of pianist Kenny Drew Jr. (June 14, 1958 - August 3, 2014). The son of pianist Kenny Drew, who rose to fame in the fifties and sixties, Kenny Drew Jr. made his own way with a virtuosic career in both jazz and classical. He favored distinct, single-note lines but could also play in a full orchestral style. In this 1992 session, Drew interprets Monk’s “In Walked Bud,” then he and McPartland collaborate on “Falling in Love with You.”

Roy Hargrove
Adriana Mateo

- Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 26, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Oct 25, 8 pm  - 

 

   Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove has played with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Mulgrew Miller, and Bobby Watson. His blazing sound, depth of feeling, and joy in playing was evident even from a young age, when he was discovered by Wynton Marsalis at a high school jazz clinic. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Hargrove joins McPartland for “I Wish I Knew,” and McPartland performs “Threnody.”

Cassandra Wilson
Ojah Media Group

Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 19, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Oct 18, 8 pm

  In this 1999 edition of Piano Jazz, recorded live at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City, host McPartland welcomes vocalist Cassandra Wilson for an hour of jazz standards. Wilson is known for the enormous range of emotion in her performances. She delights with an array of tunes, joining McPartland and bassist Peter Washington for “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “Old Devil Moon.”

Benny Green
Elde Steward

Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 12, 7 pm | News Stations: Sat, Oct 11, 8 pm

  Hard bop pianist Benny Green was mentored by Walter Bishop Jr. and has appeared on more than 100 recordings with artists such as Betty Carter, Milt Jackson, and Diana Krall. In 1993, Oscar Peterson chose Green to receive the Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music. He joined McPartland for Piano Jazz in 2003, demonstrating his swinging style and musical sensitivity on tunes including “What Are Your Doing with the Rest of Your Life?” and “You Make Me Feel So Young.”

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