In Honor of Marian McPartland

In the spring of 2018, South Carolina Public Radio unveiled an exhibit of photos taken during recording session for Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. This year marks the centennial of host Marian McPartland (March 20, 1918 - August 20, 2013) and in her honor we present a series of 40+ minicasts (mini-podcasts) that capture the essence of the program and correspond with the photos on display.

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Chucho Valdés and Marian McPartland

17 hours ago
Marian McPartland and Chucho Valdés, 2000
RJ Capak

Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés was born into a musical family and began playing as a child. His father was a pianist at the popular nightclub Tropicana, where Valdés met and performed with famous musicians, including Nat King Cole. In 1973 Valdés formed his Afro-Cuban jazz band Irakere, and the group won a 1980 Grammy for Best Latin Recording. On this 2000 Piano Jazz, Valdés tells McPartland about his Latin roots and plays his original “Claudia.”

Bill Crow, Joe Morello, and Marian McPartland: Hickory House Trio

17 hours ago
Marian McPartland with Bill Crow (bass) and Joe Morello (drums), New York, 1991
RJ Capak

Bassist Bill Crow and drummer Joe Morello (1928 – 2011) were members of McPartland’s Hickory House Trio. The group performed together for more than a decade in one of the last 52nd Street jazz clubs in Manhattan. After leaving the trio, Morello and Crow went on to careers performing with Dave Brubeck and Gerry Mulligan, respectively. On this 1991 Piano Jazz, the trio reunites for an hour to reminisce about the 1950s jazz scene and play some favorite tunes from their Hickory House days, including Duke Ellington’s “I’m Beginning to See the Light.”

Oscar Peterson and Marian McPartland

Jul 13, 2018
Marian McPartland and Oscar Peterson, New York City, 1980
Raymond Hillstrom

Pianist Oscar Peterson (1925–2007) grew up in Montreal, Quebec, where his parents started him with piano lessons as a child. At only fourteen years old, he won a talent contest that landed him on Canada’s national radio network, CBC. After moving to the United States in 1949, he connected with fellow jazz giants such as Dizzy Gillespie and became a favorite musical partner for everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Herbie Hancock. In this Piano Jazz session from 1980, Peterson demonstrates his legendary technique for McPartland.

Stefon Harris and Marian McPartland

Jul 12, 2018
Marian McPartland and Stefon Harris, New York, 2002
RJ Capak

Vibraphonist and composer Stefon Harris has propelled himself to the forefront of the jazz scene over the last two decades, with his career as an educator and performer in full swing. Harris grew up studying and playing classical music, but when he discovered the music of Charlie Parker in college, he decided to pursue jazz.

Barbara Carroll and Marian McPartland

Jul 11, 2018
Marian McPartland and Barbara Carroll, 1991
RJ Capak

Pianist and vocalist Barbara Carroll (1925 – 2017) was a celebrated musician who performed and recorded prolifically over seven decades. After moving to New York in 1947, Carroll launched her career as one of the first female bebop players. For a remarkable 25 years, she played at Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, securing her place in the hearts of Manhattan jazz lovers. On this 1991 Piano Jazz, McPartland exclaims that the two are “survivors of this thing,” in regard to their extensive careers as women musicians.

Charlie Watts and Tim Ries with Marian McPartland

Jul 10, 2018
Marian McPartland with Charlie Watts (drums) and Tim Ries (saxophone), New York, 2006
RJ Capak

Drummer Charlie Watts has been a member of the Rolling Stones for more than five decades. A rock-and-roll icon, Watts started out in the early 60s playing jazz clubs in England. Tim Ries is an accomplished composer, arranger and educator, and he performs on the saxophone both as a sideman and as a soloist. In 2005 he released The Rolling Stones Project, which includes Ries’ interpretations of classic Rolling Stones songs. In Piano Jazz session from 2006, Watt and Ries team up with McPartland to play their own jazz rendition of “Honky Honk Woman.”

Dave Brubeck and Marian McPartland

Jul 9, 2018
Marian McPartland with Dave Brubeck, 1984
Vanguard Photography

Pianist and composer Dave Brubeck (1920 – 2012) went beyond the constraints of traditional popular music with his emphasis on polytonality as well as improvised classical counterpoint. Brubeck’s career took off with the debut of the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951, and until his death at age 91, the visionary composer never slowed down. From “Take Five” to “In Your Own Sweet Way,” many of Brubeck’s compositions became part of the standard jazz repertoire.

Ellen Seeling, Jean Fineberg, Allison Miller, and Marian McPartland

Jul 5, 2018
Ellen Seeling (Trumpet), Marian McPartland, Jean Fineberg (Saxophone) and Allison Miller (Drums), New York City, 2006
RJ Capak

Trumpeter Ellen Seeling grew up surrounded by music. As a child she was torn between the drums and the violin, but her father’s love for jazz trumpet eventually led her to the instrument. The first woman to receive a degree in jazz studies from Indiana University, she moved to New York City in 1975, where her career blossomed. Seeling founded the Montclair Women’s Big Band and has been performing with the group for more than twenty years. On this 2007 Piano Jazz, two of Seeling’s bandmates join her to perform her original composition “Chevere.”

Dudley Moore and Marian McPartland

Jul 3, 2018
Marian McPartland and Dudley Moore, New York, 1983
Vanguard Photography

Dudley Moore (1935 – 2002) was a multitalented entertainer who possessed the abilities to sing, act, compose, and play piano. Moore made his debut in 1965 in comedy sketches with actor Peter Cook before he made his transition into film acting. During his career on screen, Moore fueled his passion for music by writing film scores. In this Piano Jazz from 1983, Moore tells McPartland that Erroll Garner was his earliest and strongest influence, and Garner-inspired themes can be heard when the two improvise on a completely free piece.

Ray Charles and Marian McPartland

Jul 2, 2018
Marian McPartland with Ray Charles, Los Angeles, 1991
Vanguard Photography

Ray Charles (1930 – 2004) is often credited as one of the key developers of modern soul music. Charles cited Nat King Cole as his primary influence and inspiration, and by drawing from rock, jazz, country and gospel, the legendary artist created his unique and much-loved sound. In 1951 Charles rocked the charts with his first R&B hit single, “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand,” launching a career that spanned more than half a century. On this Piano Jazz from 1991, McPartland asks Charles to join her for a spontaneous blues. The two name the tune “Ray and Marian’s Blues.”

Shari Hutchinson and Marian McPartland

Jun 29, 2018
Marian McPartland and Shari Hutchinson, London Bridge, 1991
SCETV

Producer Shari Hutchinson worked with Marian McPartland for more than three decades, overseeing the run of the series from the early years. When asked about her time spent with the legendary pianist, she said: “I learned so much from her about life and music.” For the 15th season of Piano Jazz, the program traveled to London to record at the BBC. Hutchinson shared how Marian showed her around the city, making stops for such experiences as traditional high tea, and the pair paid a visit to the London Bridge.

Diana Krall and Marian McPartland

Jun 28, 2018
Marian McPartland with Diana Krall, New York City, 1994
RJ Capak

Grammy-award winning artist Diana Krall took the jazz world by storm in the late 90s and within a few years became one of the best-selling jazz artists of her time. After having reached out to Marian for mentorship as a teenager, Krall was just kicking off her career when she was a guest on this 1995 Piano Jazz. She tells McPartland how she got her start by singing and playing with her grandmother. The two have fun with a few duets, and McPartland accompanies Krall on the timeless standard “Body and Soul.”

Bill Evans and Marian McPartland

Jun 27, 2018
Marian McPartland with Bill Evans, New York, 1979
SCETV, with thanks to Brian Dressler Photography

Bill Evans (1929 – 1980) left his mark on the jazz world through his innovative interpretations of the classic jazz repertoire. He got his first taste of jazz through boogie-woogie and blues, and it didn’t take long for his style to grow into the impressionistic sound he is known for today. The renowned musician is credited for having had two great trios, which featured incredible improvisation between members. In this 1979 Piano Jazz, Evans shows his love for solo piano when he plays a rare Ellington piece called “Reflections in D.”

Valerie Capers and Marian McPartland

Jun 26, 2018
Marian McPartland with Valerie Capers, 1983
SCETV

Pianist and composer Dr. Valerie Capers is a gifted performer as well as an award-winning jazz educator. Her family encouraged her interest in music throughout her childhood, and she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Julliard School of Music—the first blind person to ever do so. In this 1983 Piano Jazz session, her first appearance on the show, Capers tells McPartland that she didn’t decide to pursue jazz until later in her life. She demonstrates her skill on Ellington’s classic “Lush Life.”

Clint Eastwood and Marian McPartland

Jun 25, 2018
Marian McPartland with Clint Eastwood, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2003
RJ Capak

Clint Eastwood is widely recognized for his work in the movie industry, but not many people are aware of his passion for jazz. Eastwood has combined his love of the two art forms by purposely including classic jazz compositions in several of his films, particularly in his 1988 motion picture Bird, which features original Charlie Parker recordings. Although he calls himself an aficionado of piano players rather than a pianist himself, Eastwood flies through a blues improvisation with McPartland in this 2004 Piano Jazz session.

Mel Tormé and Marian McPartland

Jun 21, 2018
Marian McPartland with Mel Tormé, 1992
Vanguard

Mel Tormé (1925 – 1999) was a supreme entertainer who worked steadily at his craft for more than half a century, beginning in the 1940s with his hit “Careless Hands.” Tormé was an expert vocalist who contributed several originals to the Great American Songbook. McPartland calls the prolific songwriter “the man of all parts,” considering that the star was also a drummer, pianist, arranger, author, and actor.

Sumi Tonooka and Marian McPartland

Jun 20, 2018
Marian McPartland with Sumi Tonooka, 1992
RJ Capak

Composer and pianist Sumi Tonooka caught the jazz bug at a young age as she listened to her mother’s classic records at home. Early on in her dynamic career, Tonooka studied with giant Mary Lou Williams and she credits much of her style and technique to the prolific composer. In 1985 Tonooka was commissioned by the Japanese American Cultural Association to compose a piece about her mother’s experiences in one of the World War II internment camps, Manzanar.

Les Paul, Marian McPartland, Paul Nowinski and Lou Pallo

Jun 18, 2018
Marian McPartland sits next to guitarist Les Paul, with bassist Paul Nowinski and guitarist Lou Pallo, Avatar Recording Studios, New York, 1999
RJ Capak

Virtuoso guitarist and innovator Les Paul (1915 – 2009) was a supreme contributor to the music world as he is the creator of one of the first electric guitars as well as early multitrack recording technology. He kicked off his career as a country star in the 1920s under the pseudonyms Hot Rod Red and later Rhubarb Red, all the while sitting in with jazz greats Earl Hines and Coleman Hawkins on the side. In this 1999 Piano Jazz session, Paul tells McPartland that he was “torn between jazz and country” and ultimately chose jazz.

Eubie Blake and Marian McPartland

Jun 15, 2018
Marian McPartland with Eubie Blake, New York City, 1979
Karen Mantlo

As one of the last original ragtime pianists, James Herbert “Eubie” Blake (1883 – 1983) was a must-have guest for Piano Jazz in this early session from 1980. Demonstrating his iconic composition “Charleston Rag,” Blake shows that he kept his technique sharp well into his late nineties. Blake tells McPartland how he maintained his chops with two hours of practice a day, and he continued to record and perform until his last professional appearance in 1982, one week before his 99th birthday.

Norah Jones and Marian McPartland

Jun 13, 2018
Marian McPartland and Norah Jones, Manhattan Beach Studios, NYC, 2002
RJ Capak

Vocalist Norah Jones possesses a style that reaches every musical realm, branching out to country, folk, blues and pop. In 2002 the young artist took the jazz scene by storm with the release of her debut album, Come Away with Me. The critically acclaimed record earned five Grammy Awards and resulted in extensive touring. In this 2003 Piano Jazz session, McPartland accompanies Jones as she sings “Don’t Know Why,” which reached number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, earning the status of a new standard.

Martin Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli and Marian McPartland

Jun 12, 2018
Marian McPartland with John Pizzarelli and Martin Pizzarelli, Avatar Recording Studios, NYC, 2001
RJ Capak

John Pizzarelli began playing at an early age with the help of his jazz guitarist father and teacher, Bucky Pizzarelli. The young musician had the opportunity to play with many outstanding musicians throughout his childhood and teen years, giving him a solid understanding of jazz. In the 1990s John and his brother Martin Pizzarelli toured as part of a trio that opened for Frank Sinatra. In this 2001 session, McPartland asks the brothers to play “It's Only A Paper Moon,” which was made famous by the legendary crooner. “Only if you play it with us,” John replies.

Michael Feinstein and Marian McPartland

Jun 11, 2018
Marian McPartland with Michael Feinstein, 1988
Vanguard Photography

When pianist and vocalist Michael Feinstein was a guest on Piano Jazz in 1988, his career was just beginning to take off. The legendary songwriter Ira Gershwin had hired the young musician to archive records and memorabilia that belonged to both Ira and his younger brother George, and Feinstein has become recognized as the ambassador of The Great American Songbook.

Dee Dee Bridgewater and Marian McPartland

Jun 8, 2018
Dee Dee Bridgewater and Marian McPartland, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2003
RJ Capak

Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater has been on the jazz scene for nearly four decades. After getting her start with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, she honed her talent and headed to Broadway in 1975, where her performance in The Wiz was honored with a Tony Award. As a returning guest to Piano Jazz, Bridgewater was no stranger to public radio: for more than twenty years, she hosted the NPR series JazzSet.

Gary Burton and Marian McPartland

Jun 7, 2018
Marian McPartland with Gary Burton, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2004
RJ Capak

Self-taught on the vibraphone, Gary Burton is known for his exceptional four-mallet technique, which allows him to sound like multiple players at once. He was mentored by jazz greats such as Joe Morello and Stan Getz, and Burton later continued his career by becoming an influential jazz educator himself. On this 2004 edition of Piano Jazz, Burton reminds McPartland that she was instrumental in getting him his first fulltime job, playing with George Shearing at nineteen.

Artist site: http://www.garyburton.com/

Elvis Costello and Marian McPartland

Jun 6, 2018
Marian McPartland with Elvis Costello, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2003
RJ Capak

Elvis Costello made a name for himself as a rock and punk icon. A prolific and influential songwriter, his career took off in the late ’70s with his critically acclaimed record My Aim is True. On this 2003 Piano Jazz, he tells his friend Marian McPartland how he crossed over into other genres, from penning his own jazz to composing for film and opera.

Rosemary Clooney and Marian McPartland

Jun 5, 2018
Marian McPartland with Rosemary Clooney, 1991
RJ Capak

The legendary Rosemary Clooney (1928 – 2002) sang with a simplicity and honesty that became her trademark. As one of the great interpreters of popular song, she demonstrated her understanding of lyrics through her sure and steady vocal delivery. Clooney first rose to fame in the 1950’s with the overnight success of “Come on-a My House.” In this 1992 Piano Jazz session, McPartland and Clooney talk about her legacy as a jazz artist and the second phase of her career. “I just think you're better than ever,” McPartland remarks.

Jackie King, Willie Nelson, Marian McPartland and Duke Marcos, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2001
RJ Capak

Vocalist Willie Nelson and guitarist Jackie King (1945 – 2016) were friends for decades, making up one of the most recognizable duos in the music world. From co-writing songs to creating record labels, the two friends played major roles in each other’s careers and lives. Their Piano Jazz session was one of the most memorable for listeners and show staff alike. Longtime mastering engineer Duke Marcos recorded the session, and show regular Gary Mazzaroppi provided bass for a jazzy set of standards and Nelson/King originals.

Christian McBride and Marian McPartland

May 31, 2018
Marian McPartland and Christian McBride, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2001
RJ Capak

Christian McBride is considered one of the premier bassists of his generation. The Grammy-winning artist is a celebrated composer, also known for adding a modern touch to traditional jazz standards. A frequent sideman on Piano Jazz, he first played on the show in 1992 and was a guest himself in this 2001 session. McBride has dedicated his time to education in addition to performing as a bandleader and sideman on hundreds of studio recordings.

Marian McPartland and Eldar Djangirov

May 29, 2018
Marian McPartland and Eldar Djangirov, Avatar Studios, New York City, 1999
RJ Capak

Eldar Djangirov was the youngest guest ever to appear on Piano Jazz. Only twelve at the time, the young pianist already possessed an impressive repertoire along with confidence that was evident both in his personality and in his playing. His prodigious technique blew McPartland and Piano Jazz listeners away, and he was a guest again in 2005 as he transitioned into his career as an adult. He is a regular at major jazz festivals, has toured throughout the world, and has made appearances on national television, including performing at the Grammy Awards.

Shirley Horn and Marian McPartland

May 25, 2018
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.

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