Jazz

Pat Metheny
Jim Katz/Nonesuch

Guitarist Pat Metheny is one of the brightest stars in the jazz firmament. The only person to win a Grammy in ten different categories, the ever-evolving artist is constantly experimenting with new technology and honing his improvisational skills and unique style. On this 2006 Piano Jazz, The Pat Metheny Trio, which includes bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonia Sanchez, performs an exclusive version of “Go Get It” and “Bright Size Life.

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Sep 22, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Sep 23, 7 pm

Michel Camilo
michelcamilo.com

Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, and bandleader Michel Camilo is one of the most fascinating jazz artists working today. A prodigy from the Dominican Republic, he began his professional career at sixteen, the youngest member of the National Symphony Orchestra. In his twenties he moved to New York City, where he took the jazz scene by storm with his whirlwind approach to music, technical brilliance, and post-bop Latin rhythms. In this 1989 Piano Jazz session, Camilo plays his own composition “Nostalgia.”

Gene Harris on Piano Jazz

Aug 27, 2018

Pianist Gene Harris (1933 – 2000) was an integral part of the well-known group The Three Sounds trio, with bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy. After a brief hiatus in the 1970s, he teamed up with bassist Ray Brown to form a new group and also made his way as a solo act. An accomplished leader and sideman, Harris played with such greats as Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, and B.B. King. On this 1988 Piano Jazz, Harris opens with a slow and easy “Black and Blue,” then McPartland joins him on “Bag’s Groove.”

Marlene VerPlanck on Piano Jazz

Aug 20, 2018

This week, Piano Jazz remembers Marlene VerPlanck (1933 – January 14, 2018), who died from cancer this year at age 84. One of the finest interpreters of American Popular Song, VerPlanck’s artistic sensitivity made her a favorite of songwriters and listeners alike. As a studio singer, she was sought out by everyone from Frank Sinatra to KISS, and she also had a dynamic career as a solo performer. She was McPartland’s guest in 1999. In this session, VerPlanck joins McPartland to sing “Skylark” and “Our Love is Here to Stay.”

Stefon Harris on Piano Jazz

Aug 13, 2018
Stefon Harris at the North Sea Jazz Festival 2007.
Siebe van Ineveld [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris is one of the most innovative and impressive artists in jazz, blazing new trails on vibraphone and marimba. While much of his music is on the cutting edge, he has a strong sense of tradition and his technical facility knows no bounds. On this 2002 Piano Jazz, Harris shows off his fresh, clear sound on a number of duets with McPartland, including “Whisper Not,” “Blue Monk,” and “Bemsha Swing.” McPartland solos on her own “Twilight World.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Aug 18, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: Aug 19, 7 pm

Jess Stacy, New York, N.Y.(?), ca. Jan. 1947.
The Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s Piano Jazz presents an episode from the early years of the program with guest Jess Stacy (1904 – 1995), who came out of retirement to appear on the show in 1982. One of the leading pianists of the swing era, Stacy was best known for his work with the Benny Goodman Orchestra and had a prolific career before stepping back from the music world in the 1950s. In this classic session from the archives, Stacy needs no introduction as he starts the show with a solo performance of “Dancing Fool.” McPartland joins to end the hour with “St. Louis Blues.”

Rachel Z
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist and composer Rachel Z grew up in Manhattan in a musical family. Her mother taught her classical voice and opera from a young age, but she found her own sound in the jazz and rock worlds. On the keys, she is lightning-quick and her percussive yet lyrical approach enhances her technique. In 2010, she formed a group called The Trio of Oz with her husband, Omar Hakim. On this 1999 Piano Jazz, Rachel Z performs her original “Gently Sleeps the Pear Tree.” She and McPartland switch gears with “All the Things You Are.”

Tony Bennett and Marian McPartland, Manhattan Beach Studios, New York City, 2004.
RJ Capak

Ever-popular song stylist Tony Bennett was McPartland’s guest for the first time in 1990. Bennett vocalizes American popular songs like nobody else can. When he was starting out, a voice teacher, Miriam Spier, famously told him: “Don’t imitate singers, imitate musicians.” So, Bennett decided to emulate Art Tatum. He also credits his relaxed delivery to the inspiration of Mildred Bailey. On this edition of Piano Jazz, Bennett sings “Stay as Sweet as You Are” and “Imagination.” There’s no need to guess who’s playing the accompaniment.

Dr. Billy Taylor and Nancy Wilson with Marian McPartland

Jul 19, 2018
Marian McPartland with Billy Taylor and Nancy Wilson, New York, 1998
RJ Capak

Dr. Billy Taylor (1921–2010) was a pianist, composer and educator. He dedicated his life to teaching jazz history and was a regular voice heard on NPR, making jazz accessible to a large audience and putting public radio on the cultural map. Brilliant song stylist Nancy Wilson also worked for NPR as host of Jazz Profiles, a companion series to Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. This special edition commemorates the 20th anniversary of Piano Jazz in 1999.

Wynton Marsalis and Marian McPartland

Jul 19, 2018
Marian McPartland and Wynton Marsalis, New York, 1990
RJ Capak

Wynton Marsalis is a trumpeter, composer, and educator. He is the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and is an active promotor of music to young audiences. Since Marsalis’ debut album in 1982, he has released more than 60 jazz and classical recordings and has earned nine Grammy Awards. In 1997 his oratorio, Blood on the Fields, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, the first jazz composition ever to do so. In this 1990 Piano Jazz session, Marsalis and McPartland delve into their standard repertoires with “I Cover the Waterfront.”

Peter Cincotti and Marian McPartland

Jul 19, 2018
Marian McPartland and Peter Cincotti, Washington, D.C., 2004
SCETV

Peter Cincotti is a pianist, composer, and vocalist who broke onto the music scene at a notably young age. He started learning the piano when he was just a toddler and at seven was invited to play with Harry Connick Jr, after impressing the singer through an impromptu performance during a live concert. At age 18 Cincotti released his eponymous debut album, which reached Number 1 on the Billboard jazz charts, making him the youngest artist ever to do so.

Dizzy Gillespie and Marian McPartland

Jul 18, 2018
Marian McPartland and Dizzy Gillespie, 1985
Mark Vinci

Dizzy Gillespie (1917–1993) was a true musical innovator. Gillespie not only revolutionized 1940s jazz by becoming one of the first inventors of bebop, but he also helped introduce the Afro-Cuban jazz movement through his love of Latin music. With his puffed cheeks and bent trumpet, he is one of the most recognizable faces in the music world. On this Piano Jazz from 1985, the Cheraw, SC native tells McPartland about his induction into the South Carolina Hall of Fame, and the two collaborate on Gillespie’s standard “Night in Tunisia.”

George Shearing and Marian McPartland

Jul 18, 2018
Marian McPartland and George Shearing, New York City, 1980
SCETV

George Shearing (1919–2011) was an internationally acclaimed pianist, arranger, and composer. Born in London, Shearing showed an affinity for music as a child but he did not officially start his career until he moved to the United States in 1947. In just two years he gained worldwide acclaim with the George Shearing Quintet, and the ensemble performed and recorded for nearly three decades. On this 1980 Piano Jazz, Shearing puts his classical influences on display as he plays an interpretation of his hit “Lullaby of Birdland.”

T. S. Monk and Marian McPartland

Jul 18, 2018
Marian McPartland and T. S. Monk, New York, 1995
RJ Capak

Percussionist T. S. Monk was born into the world of jazz, but it wasn’t until his late teens that he dedicated himself to music. His first performance was in 1970 with his father, the legendary pianist Thelonious Monk. Until his father’s passing in 1982, T. S. Monk focused on recording and performing, and by 1986 his family had established the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. On this 1995 Piano Jazz, Monk talks to McPartland about his father’s legacy, and bassist Scott Colley joins them for a trio on the standard “Blue Monk.”

Mary Lou Williams and Marian McPartland

Jul 17, 2018
Mary Lou Williams and Marian McPartland, New York City, 1978
SCETV

Composer, arranger, and pianist Mary Lou Williams (1910–1981) was essential to the 1930s swing era and a major force in the bebop revolution of the 1940s. Her peers included Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Duke Ellington, and Williams was deeply respected by her colleagues during a time when women musicians struggled to be treated as equals, especially in the jazz world. Today she is remembered as one of the greatest of her generation.

Steve Allen and Marian McPartland

Jul 17, 2018
Marian McPartland and Steve Allen,1988
Vanguard Photography

Steve Allen (1921–2001) became a household name in the 1950s as the first ever host of a late night talk show, which would become The Tonight Show. A legendary comedian and actor, Allen was also a musician and prolific composer, though he never learned to read music. He wrote thousands of songs and won a Grammy for Best Original Jazz Composition. In this Piano Jazz session from 1988, Allen demonstrates his rich harmonics as he solos on one of the compositions he penned when he was still in his teens, a lush ballad called “No New Love.”

Chucho Valdés and Marian McPartland

Jul 16, 2018
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

Jul 16, 2018
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.”

Renee Rosnes
reneerosnes.com

Upon moving to New York from Vancouver, Canada, pianist and composer Renee Rosnes established a reputation as one of the premier jazz musicians on the scene. Over her 30-year career, Rosnes has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, from established masters such as Jack DeJohnette to younger giants such as Christian McBride and Melissa Aldana. On this 1990 episode of Piano Jazz, she plays Monk’s “Four in One” then improvises with McPartland on her own tune “Fleur De Lis.”

News & Talk Stations: Sat, Jul 21, 8 pm | News & Music Stations: July 22, 7 pm

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.

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
SC Public Radio

Pulitzer Prize finalist and 2007 Guggenheim Fellow Don Byron is a prodigious multi-instrumentalist and  composer. One of the most inventive and compelling musicians of his generation, he is credited for reviving interest in the jazz clarinet, his primary instrument. He has presented projects at major music festivals around the world and is known for playing in a wide variety of genres. In this 1999 Piano Jazz session, Byron demonstrates his flexibility and duets with McPartland on “Perdido,” “Moon Indigo,” and a creative free piece.

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.”

Barbara Carroll, Clyde Lombardi, and Chuck Wayne, Downbeat magazine, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress

Pianist and vocalist Barbara Carroll (1925 – 2017) was described as a joyous and swinging jazz stylist. A dear friend of McPartland’s, Carroll had a monumental career. When she was a guest on the program in 1979, she had just started her engagement at Bemelmans Bar in Manhattan, where she would perform for a remarkable 25 years. On this episode from the first season of Piano Jazz, she plays an original, “Barbara’s Carol,” and duets with McPartland on a timely rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”

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.

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