Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Classical Stations: Sun, 7-8 pm | News Stations: Sat, 8-9 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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Doc Cheatham
Courtesy Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University.

  - News Stations: Sat, Jun 6, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jun 7, 7 pm -

Trumpeter Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham (1905 – 1997) was known for his admirable technique and tone. His signature slight burr gave his solos an edge, but his approach was warm and elegant. He continued touring late into his life, with some of his best recordings from this later stage. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Cheatham and McPartland play “Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On” and “I Double Dare You.”

- News Stations: Sat, May 30, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 31, 7 pm -

Pamela Hines is a pianist and composer whose forte is a complex and engaging take on the structural components of music within the jazz form. She brings nuances and impressive technical abilities to all the tunes she plays, and as a composer, she draws out a theme from every musician working with her. In this session from 2000, Hines performs her original tune “Porridge.”

- News Stations: Sat, May 23, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, May 24, 7 pm -

Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton (1908 – 2002) was one of the most influential figures in the annals of jazz. He made the vibes a vital voice in the arsenal of jazz instruments and gained international fame playing in Benny Goodman’s small groups and leading his own orchestra. On this 1989 Piano Jazz, Hampton and McPartland duet on a set including “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Mack the Knife.”

Gonzalo Rubalcaba
http://www.g-rubalcaba.com/

- News Stations: Sat, May 16, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 17, 7 pm -

The music of pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a potent mixture of Cuban and American jazz. His style is both melodic and rhythmic, filled with exciting and intriguing influences. He plays everything from jazz to classical as well as music from his native land, Cuba. When he was a guest on Piano Jazz in 1995, he spoke with host McPartland through an interpreter and dazzled with pieces including “Con Alma” and “Straight No Chaser.”

- 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.”

  - News Stations: Sat, May 2, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 3, 7 pm -  Jazz musicians have long admired pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn (1934 – 2005). Her sensitive and relaxed playing style and unique vocals earned her comparisons to fellow jazz greats such as Count Basie and Nat King Cole. In this Piano Jazz session from 1995, Horn brings her unmistakable contralto to a set including “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely” and “End of a Beautiful Friendship.” McPartland performs her original tune “Days of Our Love.”


Bonus: Ginny Mancini

Apr 20, 2015

On this special edition of the Piano Jazz Shorts podcast, we remember the life of Henry Mancini, who would have been 91 April 16th. Ginny Mancini was a recent guest on NPR's Song Travels with Michael Feinstein, and she told how she and Henry met, fell in love, and were married. It's a great story and we want to share it thereby adding to the Henry Mancini broadcast from last week's Piano Jazz. We hope you'll enjoy this excerpt from the Song Travels interview.

Stanley Cowell
Maxim François / Vision Fugitive

  - News Stations: Sat, Apr 25, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 26, 7 pm - Recorded before a live audience at NPR studios in Washington, DC, Marian McPartland hosted pianist Stanley Cowell for this 1999 Piano Jazz. Known for his brilliant and highly personal approach, Cowell bridges traditional and contemporary styles of jazz. He and McPartland challenge each other in inventive duets, and Cowell performs his famous composition “Euqipoise.”

Henry Mancini on Piano Jazz

Apr 13, 2015
Henry Mancini
© Bettmann/CORBIS

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

Composer, arranger, and pianist Henry Mancini (1924 – 1994) penned some of the most memorable tunes of the modern era. Throughout his career, he recorded more than 90 albums and won 20 Grammys and four Oscars. 

  

Carmen McRae on Piano Jazz

Apr 6, 2015
Carmen McRae
Zita Cypress

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

Vocalist Carmen McRae (April 8, 1920 – 1994) was an expert of rhythm, deft phrasing, and personal, bittersweet ballads.


John Pizzarelli
Courtesy of the artist

- News Stations: Sat, Apr 4, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 5, 7 pm -

  Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli is one of the hottest jazz acts on the scene today. With his swinging and sophisticated style, he makes music that sounds both classic and modern. He’s the son of jazz guitarist John “Bucky” Pizzarelli, who helped him get his start. On this Piano Jazz from 2001, McPartland and John team up for “I Got Rhythm” and his brother, bassist Martin Pizzarelli, joins in for “It’s Only a Paper Moon.”

Jazz vocalist and pianist Dardanelle Hadley (1917 – 1997) was born Marcia Marie Mullen, the daughter of vocalist/pianist Marcius Mosely “Buck” Mullen. In the 1940s, she formed a trio that played regularly at the Copacabana Club in New York, and she went on to work with jazz greats such as Bucky Pizaarelli and Grady Tate. In this Piano Jazz session from 1984, Hadley shows off her chops on “All the Things You Are” and duets with McPartland on “It’s Delovely.”

  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. 

Mercer Ellington
Tom Marcello/Wikimedia Commons

  Copyist, arranger, and musician Mercer Ellington (1919 –1996) worked for his father, Duke Ellington, as a horn player in Duke’s band before becoming manager of the group. He took on additional duties, such as composing for the group, resulting in his original tune, “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be.” On this 1994 Piano Jazz, he reprises some of his father’s gems, such as “In My Solitude.”  - News Stations: Sat, Mar 14, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 15, 7 pm -

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.”

- News Station: Sat, Mar 07, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 08, 6 pm -

  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.” 

- News Station: Sat, Feb 28, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 01, 6 pm -

  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.” 

- News Station: Sat, Feb 21, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 22, 6 pm -

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. 

- News Station: Sat, Feb 14, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 15, 6 pm -

  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.” 

- News Station: Sat, Feb 7, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 8, 6 pm -

Danilo Perez
Raj Naik and Luke Severn

Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez worked with Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations Orchestra, where he absorbed bebop and prebop styles. But Dizzy also impressed upon him the importance of getting to the roots of his own heritage, and Perez began creating music that seeks connection and defies boundaries. In this Piano Jazz session from 1994, he demonstrates his fresh ideas of music with his original composition “Reminiscing.” 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 31, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 1, 7 pm -

Gary Burton
Courtesy of the artist

  Five-time Grammy Award-winner Gary Burton taught himself to play the vibraphone as a young person and began his recording career at age seventeen. He backed jazz greats, including George Shearing and Stan Getz, and went on to form his own quartet, combining jazz, rock, and other influences into what would become Fusion. On this Piano Jazz from 2005, Burton and McPartland perform tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hart, and many more. 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 24, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 25, 9 pm -

  Cyrus Chestnut is a conservatory-trained pianist who is firmly grounded in jazz history, all the way back to Jelly Roll Morton. He’s also played with many of today’s best interpreters—Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Terence Blanchard, and Betty Carter, to name a few.  On this 2003 Piano Jazz, he joins McPartland for a swinging hour of jazz bursting with spirit. 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 17, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 18, 7 pm -

  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.”

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

  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.” 

- News Stations: Sat, Jan 3, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 4, 7 pm -

  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.”

- News Stations: Sat, Dec 20, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 21, 7 pm -

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.”

- News Stations: Sat, Dec 6, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 7, 7 pm - 

  When Harry Connick Jr. sat down with Marian McPartland in 1991, he was in his twenties and coming off the heels of his successful “Big Band Tour.” He has gone on to become a Grammy-winning recording artist with multiple best-selling albums and a successful acting career. On this Piano Jazz, Connick sings and plays “They Didn’t Believe Me” and joins McPartland for “Stompin at the Savoy.”

  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.”

- News Stations: Sat, Nov 22, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Nov 23, 7 pm -

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