Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

News & Talk Stations: Sat, 8-9 pm | News & Music Stations: Sun, 7-8 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.

Ways to Connect

Alan Clare (ctr) with Yehudi Menuhin (l)and Stephane Grappelli (r) at  Abbey Road Studios London.
Allan Warren

British pianist Alan Clare (1921 – 1993) was McPartland’s guest at the BBC’s Delaware Road studios in London. Clare began his professional career at age eleven and went on to work with George Shearing, Stephen Grappelli, and Spike Milligan. He also fulfilled regular engagements at the London residence of the American Ambassador for parties honoring such guests as Queen Elizabeth and former President Reagan. On this Piano Jazz from 1990, Clare plays his composition “John O Groats” and joins McPartland for a go-around on “In a Mellow Tone.”

Dena DeRose
Courtesy of the artist

Singer and pianist Dena DeRose has performed at some of the most renowned venues in the world, from The Blue Note in New York to Swing Hall in Japan. She has shared the stage with artists including Clark Terry, Ray Brown, and Ingrid Jensen. She teaches at the Jazz Institute of the University for Music and Performing Arts in Austria, and continues to perform worldwide. She was McPartland’s guest in this 2001 session. DeRose opens the show with “If I Should Lose You” and McPartland joins for “I’m Old Fashioned.”

Portrait of Artie Shaw, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948.
William P. Gottlieb Collection (Library of Congress)

  Cornetist and jazz historian Richard Sudhalter (1938 – 2008) joined Marian McPartland on several occasions to provide historical perspective on great performers and songs from the golden era of jazz. In 2002, He sat down with McPartland to talk about Artie Shaw (1910 – 2004). Shaw was known for his unparalleled virtuosity and as a successful bandleader with a limitless imagination. Piano Jazz honors Shaw with selections including “Love of My Life” and “Any Old Time.”

News Stations: Sat, May 21, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 22, 7 pm

Tania Maria

Born in Brazil to a musical family, pianist and vocalist Tania Maria was leading her own group of professional musicians by the time she was thirteen. In the 1970s she moved to Paris, and she first came into the international spotlight through her work in jazz festivals. In the 1980s Tania Maria moved to New York, where she recorded a number of hit albums and worked with some of the most renowned jazz artists in the world. On this 1994 Piano Jazz, Maria performs her own composition “Carona” then solos on “Ta’ Tudo Certo.”

  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

Rose Murphy and Marian McPartland
SC Public Radio

Rose Murphy Rose Murphy (1913 - 1989) was a legendary singer and pianist who starred at Café Society in the heyday of New York’s jazz scene. She made history with her version of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Critics and audiences alike were delighted by her breathless, giggly voice, her spirited playing, and her signature “chee-chee.” In this Piano Jazz session from 1988, Murphy showcases her trademark vocal style on “Cecilia.” Then she teams up with McPartland for “St. Louis Blues.”

News Stations: Sat, Apr 30, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, May 01, 7 pm

Mike Longo
Ken Weis

  Mike Longo performed his first gig at fifteen with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, who was at that time an unknown. Since then, Longo has played with, taught, and composed for many other jazz greats, including Jimmy McPartland. He was Dizzy Gillespie’s pianist and musical director, and his repertoire includes everything from traditional jazz to bebop. For this 1999 Piano Jazz, he solos on Gillespie’s “Con Alma” and McPartland continues the tribute with her own “Dizzy.”

News Stations: Sat, Apr 23, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 24, 7 pm

Ayako Shirasaki

  Originally from Japan, pianist Ayako Shirasaki showed an early talent for jazz and classical styles. As an adult, she moved to New York and entered the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Kenny Barron and Ted Rosenthal. She has gone on to establish herself as one of New York’s finest jazz pianists. On this 2006 Piano Jazz, Shirasaki performs her compositions “Far Away” and “Falling Leaves.”

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

Barbara Lea

  Vocalist Barbara Lea (1929 – 2011) was a widely respected and admired interpreter of classic American popular song. She started her career in the 1950s, and the Downbeat Critic’s Poll of 1956 recognized her as “Best New Singer.” On this 1999 Piano Jazz, she joins McPartland for a tribute to songwriter Hoagy Carmichael. The conservator of Carmichael’s repertoire, Lea brings her skill to selections including “Lazybones” and “Star Dust.”

News Stations: Sat, Apr 9, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 10, 7 pm

Paul Bley on Piano Jazz

Mar 28, 2016
Paul Bley, Theaterzaal, Vooruit, Gent, BE, 05/15/2009.
Bruno Bollaert

  Legendary leader of the jazz avant-garde, pianist Paul Bley (1932 – 2015) cultivated his own musical vision and influenced a generation of performers. Throughout his life, he remained on the cutting edge of creative music, performing with everyone from Ornette Coleman and Charlie Parker to Jaco Pastorious and Pat Metheny. This week, we remember Paul Bley with his appearance on Piano Jazz in 2000. Bley performs his original motifs and collaborates on a duet with McPartland.

News Stations: Sat, Apr 01, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Apr 03, 7 pm

"The Music of Marian McPartland" on Piano Jazz

Mar 21, 2016
Marian McPartland
SC Public Radio

  Of all McPartland’s attributes, possibly the most underrated is her ability as a composer. Her piano pieces have entered the jazz repertoire and some of her songs—with lyrics by such stars as Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, and Peggy Lee—are part of the Great American Songbook. In honor of Marian’s birthday this week, guest host Murray Horwitz leads this exposition through some of her most beautiful works, with performances by Cleo Laine, Sarah Vaughan, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Marian herself.

News Stations: Sat,  Mar 26,  8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Mar 27, 7 pm

Harold Mabern on Piano Jazz

Mar 14, 2016
Harold Mabern
David Katzenstein

  Harold Mabern, born March 20, 1936, is one of New York’s most requested pianists and a staple of Japan’s jazz scene. A mainly self-taught musician, his style is influenced by Art Tatum, Chris Anderson, Billy Wallace, and Bud Powell. In 2015, he released Afro Blue. McPartland caught him for this 1991 Piano Jazz before he left for a late spring tour of Japan. Mabern solos on “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” then joins McPartland for Ellington’s “Squeeze Me.”

  News Stations: Sat, Mar 19, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, Mar 20, 7 pm

Mark Murphy on Piano Jazz

Mar 8, 2016
Mark Murphy

  Regarded as one of the world’s hippest jazz vocalists, Mark Murphy (1932 – 2015) epitomized the jazz singer. He was discovered by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1953, and remained true to his art throughout his life. This week, we remember Mark Murphy with this 1998 Piano Jazz session. Accompanied by bassist Sean Smith and host McPartland, Murphy puts his mark on “Detour Ahead.” He and Smith perform their own “Song for the Geese.”

 News Stations: Sat, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, 7 pm

Jay Leonhart on Piano Jazz

Feb 29, 2016
Jay Leonhart

  The turning point which propelled musician Jay Leonhart to take up the bass was hearing Ray Brown with the Oscar Peterson Trio in 1955. He has since become a superior bassist, a witty lyricist, and a charming singer. He has played with musicians from all genres and has been on the New York jazz scene for almost five decades. On this 2001 Piano Jazz, he performs his composition “Blues for Marilyn.”

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

Sumi Tonooka on Piano Jazz

Feb 22, 2016
Sumi Tonooka

  Pianist Sumi Tonooka is an incisive musician of great originality and imagination. She has toured with Art Blakely and teamed with tenor saxophonist Odean Pope and drummer Philly Joe Jones. In 2015, she was selected for the Music Alive: New Partnerships Residencies through New Music USA. On her visit to Piano Jazz in 1992, Tonooka swings with an easy grace while playing a great rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Tonooka and McPartland join up to show what jazz is all about on “Solar.”

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

Phil Woods on Piano Jazz

Feb 15, 2016
Phil Woods
David W. Coulter/

  Saxophonist Phil Woods (1931 – 2015) was a true master of bebop. Whether weaving jazz improvisations with other members of his group or playing feisty crackling licks on cool solos, Woods’ playing was always compelling. He built up his amazing technique with Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Buddy Rich, and with his quartet. We remember Phil Woods with this Piano Jazz from 2003. In this session, his imaginative and sultry sound blends with his trio and McPartland on “How About You” and “Fine and Dandy.”

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

Jon Batiste on Piano Jazz

Feb 12, 2016
Jon Batiste
Ingrid Hertfelder/Courtesy of the artist

  Pianist and bandleader Jon Batiste hails from the cradle of jazz, Louisiana. Now the leader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert house band Stay Human, he has collaborated with Harry Connick Jr., Allen Toussaint, Cassandra Wilson, and the Marsalis family. On this Piano Jazz session from 2011, guest hosted by Jon Weber, Batiste sings “What a Wonderful World” and joins Weber for a duet of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

News Stations: Sat, Feb 13, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Feb 14, 6 pm 

Eden Atwood on Piano Jazz

Feb 1, 2016
Eden Atwood
Terry Cyr

  One of the rare jazz discoveries of her generation, Eden Atwood has a voice that has been described as beautiful and refreshing. The daughter of arranger-composer Hub Atwood, she studied piano as a child and went on to have a performing career in New York and beyond. She has released several studio albums and tours regularly. On this Piano Jazz from 1996, Atwood and McPartland duet on “Old Devil Moon.”

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

Sergio Salvatore on Piano Jazz

Jan 25, 2016
Sergio Salvatore
Ryan Brooks

  Sergio Salvatore was only 14-years-old when he was McPartland’s guest 20 ago, but he was already making the jazz world sit up and take notice. This young composer, pianist, and improviser is a natural. He has gone on to partner with virtuoso vibraphonist Christos Rafalides, with whom he released the critically acclaimed Dark Sand. On this 1996 edition of Piano Jazz, he solos on his own “Revolving Door.” He and McPartland get together for “Autumn Leaves.”

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

Bobby Enriquez on Piano Jazz

Jan 18, 2016

  A florid, flamboyant pianist, Bobby Enriquez (1943–1996) was called “the Wild Man of jazz,” a reference to his karate-like attack with fists, elbows, and palms hitting the keyboard. Although he never received formal lessons, he clearly made his mark among jazz heavyweights. On this 1990 Piano Jazz, Enriquez plays a fiery rendition of “Just One of Those Things,” then gangs up with McPartland for his own “Bumble Rumble Blues.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 23, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 24, 7 pm

Jane Ira Bloom on Piano Jazz

Jan 11, 2016
Jane Ira Bloom
Kristine Larsen

  A supreme soprano sax player, Jane Ira Bloom is known for her innovative use of movement and her high-energy compositions. Her debut album, Modern Drama, caught the attention of NASA, who commissioned her to write three pieces in 1989. She went on to release several studio albums, including her highly praised Sixteen Sunsets. On this 1993 Piano Jazz, Bloom and McPartland combine forces to freely improvise and to play “My Romance.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 16, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jan 17, 7 pm

Max Roach on Piano Jazz

Jan 7, 2016
Max Roach at the Three Deuces, ca. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

  Being a legendary drummer was only part of Max Roach’s musical personality; he was also an accomplished composer and storyteller. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Roach (1924 – 2007) relates a few of his many musical memories from performing with greats like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie. He treats listeners to a selection of his own compositions. Roach, McPartand, and bassist Ray Drummond collaborate on “I’ll Remember Clifford” and “Joy of Spring.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 9, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 10, 7 pm

Eric Mintel on Piano Jazz

Dec 28, 2015
Eric Mintel

  Pianist Eric Mintel is on a mission to bring jazz to the masses. His playing is straight-ahead but energetic, lyrical, and always swinging. With his quartet, he has engaged audiences at the White House, The Kennedy Center, and venues around the country. On this Piano Jazz from 2005, Mintel talks about improvisation and the art of getting gigs before sitting down with host McPartland for “These Foolish Things.”

News Stations: Sat, Jan 2, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jan 3, 7 pm

Art Hodes on Piano Jazz

Dec 21, 2015
Art Hodes, Ole South, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1946
Ky Olsen

  Jazz pianist Art Hodes (1904 – 1993) was born in Ukraine and moved to the United States with his family as a baby. While he got his start as a musician in Chicago, his big break came when he moved to New York in 1938 and played with Joe Marsala and Mezz Mezzrow. In the 1950s, he returned to Chicago, where he remained active on the jazz scene as a performer, educator, and writer. On this 1984 Piano Jazz, Hodes plays “St. Louis Blues” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

News Stations: Sat, Dec 26, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 27, 7 pm

Ruby Braff on Piano Jazz

Dec 14, 2015
Ruby Braff (with Howard Alden, left) at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London (1996)
Berit Bolt/

  Trumpeter and cornetist Ruby Braff (1927– 2003) drew his style from the influences of Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Throughout the 1950s, he was in demand in New York as a Dixieland and swing player, and he went on to form a quartet with guitarist George Barnes and other small-group settings later in his career. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Braff joins McPartland for duets of “Thou Swell” and “Blue and Sentimental.”

News Stations: Sat, Dec 19, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 20, 7 pm

Piano Jazz Holiday Special

Dec 7, 2015

   On this 2006 Piano Jazz Holiday Special, host Marian McPartland takes a look back at some favorite Christmas and holiday songs performed on the show throughout the years. Melissa Walker sings “The Moon on Christmas Eve,” written by Kathryn Williams and Vana Gerig, who stop by to talk about the song’s genesis. Pianist Cleo Brown evokes the style of Duke Ellington as she plays the traditional Christmas hymn “Silent Night.”

News Stations: Sat, Dec 12, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Dec 13, 7 pm

Ingrid Jensen on Piano Jazz

Nov 30, 2015
Ingrid Jensen
Angela Jimenez

  Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen has built a strong reputation among critics and peers, and McPartland praised the warmth and virtuosity of her playing. Her performances as a leader and featured soloist have taken her around the world, and she can be heard as a soloist with the Christine Jensen Orchestra, her own quartet and quintet formations, and a number of other New York-based bands. Jensen is McPartland’s guest on this 2000 Piano Jazz, with musical selections including “A Child Is Born” and “Chelsea Bridge.”

News Stations: Sat, Dec 5, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Dec 6, 7 pm

Hilton Ruiz on Piano Jazz

Nov 23, 2015

  Hilton Ruiz (1952 – 2006) was a jazz pianist in the Afro-Cuban and bebop styles. Born to Puerto Rican parents in New York, he became known as a child prodigy and as a teenager gigged professionally, working primarily with Latin music groups. Ruiz went on to work with major jazz artists like Frank Foster, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, and Joe Newman. On this 1988 Piano Jazz, Ruiz solos on his own composition “Home Coming” and duets with McPartland on “I’ll Remember April.”

News Stations: Sat, Nov 28, 8 pm | Classical Music: Sun, Nov 29, 7 pm

Patricia Barber on Piano Jazz

Nov 16, 2015
Patricia Barber
Courtesy of the artist

  Patricia Barber is a pianist and singer solidly grounded in the jazz idiom while eclectic in her style. She recorded a series of albums, each establishing a wider audience for her music. In 2002 she released her album Verse to much critical acclaim. That year, she was also McPartland’s guest on Piano Jazz. In this session, Barber performs her original song “If I Were Blue,” and McPartland joins her for “Autumn Leaves.”

News Stations: Sat, Nov 21, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Nov 22, 7 pm

The Hot Club of Detroit on Piano Jazz

Nov 9, 2015
Hot Club of Detroit
Cybelle Codish

  Seventy years after Django Reinhardt’s Quintette du Hot Club de France fused Gypsy guitar with the jazz of the day, a new incarnation emerged in the Motor City. The Hot Club of Detroit is Evan Perri on lead guitar, Julien Labro on accordion, Carl Cafagna on soprano and tenor sax, Paul Brady on rhythm guitar, and Andrew Kratzat on bass. The music the Hot Club of Detroit plays for this 2009 Piano Jazz session ranges from traditional Gypsy jazz on “Coquette” to the bal musette waltz “Passions.”

News Stations: Sat, Nov 14, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Nov 15, 7 pm