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.

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Jacki Byard on Piano Jazz

Nov 4, 2015
Jack Byard

  Multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and composer Jaki Byard (1922 – 1999) played jazz piano as well as alto and tenor saxophone. A partner of Maynard Ferguson and member of bands led by Charles Mingus, Byard went on to become an educator, teaching at the New England Conservatory and other institutions. On this Piano Jazz from 1995, Byard solos on his own “European Episode” and joins McPartland for “Rose Room” and “In a Mellow Tone.”

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

Detail from the album cover for "Showcase" on Blue Note.
Blue Note Records

  Bop pianist George Wallington (1924 – 1993) was born in Sicily and moved to the United States with his family in the 1920s. He became a part of the New York music scene in the 1940s and played with greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, and Lionel Hampton. In 1960 he retired from music, but he reemerged in 1984. As a guest on this 1985 Piano Jazz, Wallington performs his composition “Godchild.”

News Stations: Oct 31, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Nov 1, 7 pm

Kyle Eastwood
Jean-Baptiste Millot

  When bassist Kyle Eastwood was Marian McPartland’s guest in 1999, he had released his first solo album, From There to Here, one year earlier. Having led a quartet and worked as a session musician in the 1990s, Eastwood has gone on to a prolific career as a performer, recording artist, and composer for film and television. On this Piano Jazz, Eastwood and McPartland play a set including “In a Sentimental Mood” and “Stella by Starlight.”

News Stations: Oct 24, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Oct 25, 7 pm

Margaret Whiting on Piano Jazz

Oct 12, 2015
Margaret Whiting, New York, between 1946 and 1948
William P. Gottlieb [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  Vocalist Margaret Whiting (1924 – 2011) established herself as a singer of jazz and popular standards in the 1940s touring with the U.S.O. during World War II. In the decades that followed, her career encompassed everything from television appearances to nightclubs, musical theater, and country music. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Whiting performs “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “Moonlight in Vermont” to McPartland’s accompaniment. McPartland solos on “Twilight World.”

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

Sammy Price on Piano Jazz

Oct 5, 2015

  Pianist Sammy Price (1908 – 1992) began his career in the 1920s. He became a session pianist for Decca Records in 1938, and he led his own band, the Texas Bluesicians, which included greats such as Lester Young. He also played with trumpeter Henry “Red” Allen for nearly a decade. On this 1986 Piano Jazz, Price demonstrates his boogie-woogie style and performs jazz standards by Cole Porter and Duke Ellington.

News Stations: Sat, Oct 10, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 11, 7 pm

Joe Lovano
Jimmy Katz

  Saxophonist Joe Lovano and bassist Dave Holland first recorded together in 1992 on the album From the Soul. Lovano toured with the Woody Herman Thundering Herd in the 1970s and went on to join the John Scofield Quartet. Holland was part of the London jazz scene of the late ’60s before playing with Miles Davis’ band. On this Piano Jazz from 2000, Lovano and Holland share their dynamic energy with host McPartland in a trio collaboration.

-- News Stations: Sat, Oct 03, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 04, 7 pm --

Ray Brown on Piano Jazz

Sep 21, 2015

  Double bass player Ray Brown (1926 – 2002) moved to New York in 1945 and immediately became part of the jazz scene. He worked extensively with the Oscar Peterson Trio, Jimmy Rowles, and Ella Fitzgerald, to whom he was married. He was one of the leading bassists in the bop style and was known for the precision of his playing and the beauty of his tone. In this 1996 session, Brown and McPartland play “Embraceable You” and “Like Someone in Love.”

-- News Stations: Sat, Sep 26, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Sep 27, 7 pm --

Onaje Allan Gumbs on Piano Jazz

Sep 14, 2015

  Pianist, arranger, and songwriter Onaje Allan Gumbs began playing piano at age seven and drew his early inspiration from Henry Mancini. He studied classical piano and honed his skill in multiple genres, from jazz and pop to R&B and soul. He has played with greats such as Woody Shaw, Nat Adderly, and Cassandra Wilson. On this 1998 Piano Jazz , Gumbs performs his original compositions “The First Time We Met” and “The Eyes of Wisdom.”

---News Stations: Sun, Sep 19, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Sep 20, 7 pm ---

Clark Terry on Piano Jazz

Sep 7, 2015

  One of the great innovators and educators in jazz, Clark Terry (1920 – February 21, 2015) was celebrated for his technical virtuosity and swinging lyricism. He is featured in the 2014 documentary Keep on Keepin' On , which chronicled his mentorship with emerging jazz pianist Justin Kauflin. In memory of Clark Terry, Piano Jazz brings you this 1994 episode, which captures the master trumpet player's magic and humor as he and McPartland play “The Snapper” and “WHAM.”

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

Ernestine Anderson on Piano Jazz

Aug 31, 2015

  Born in Houston in 1928, Ernestine Anderson hit the jazz scene in the 1940s and has captivated audiences with her vocal warmth and rich intensity ever since. Anderson has performed at prestigious venues worldwide, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and has recorded with Hank Jones, Ray Brown, and Monty Alexander. In this Piano Jazz session from 1996, Anderson joins McPartland to perform “Our Love is Here to Stay” and “In a Mellow Tone.”

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

Hiromi on Piano Jazz

Aug 27, 2015
Sakiko Nomura

Pianist Hiromi Uehara was born in Shizuoka, Japan in 1979 and took her first piano lesson at age six. By age seventeen, she'd performed with both the Czech Philharmonic and with Chick Corea. She is an in-demand performer, capable of playing stride piano with blinding speed and deadly accuracy, and she's also a thoughtful, impressionistic composer. On this episode of Piano Jazz from 2004, McPartland and Hiromi perform “Lullaby of Birdland” and McPartland improvises a “Portrait of Hiromi.”

  ---News Stations: Sat, Aug 29, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug 30, 7 pm---

Arturo O'Farrill on Piano Jazz

Aug 21, 2015
Arturo O'Farrill
John Abbott

  Pianist, composer, and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill is the son of the late Chico O'Farrill (1921 – 2001). A multiple Grammy winner, he has contributed to contemporary Latin jazz as leader of the Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra and as the founder of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. On this 2002 Piano Jazz , O'Farrill performs “Dandon Don Vasquez.” He and McPartland expand on the Latin theme with a duet of Antonio Carlos Jobim's “Wave.”

--- News Stations: Sat, Aug 22, 8 pm/Classical Stations: Sun, Aug 23, 7 pm ---

Bertha Hope on Piano Jazz

Aug 10, 2015

  News Stations: Sat, Aug 15, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug 16, 7pm

Bertha Hope's contributions to mainstream and improvised musical idioms have made her one of the elite among her peers. Wife of the pianist Elmo Hope (1923 – 1967), Bertha has kept their extraordinary teamwork alive through her highly regarded trio and personal performances. In this Piano Jazz session from 1991, Hope performs “In Search of Hope” and McPartland joins for a duet of “I'm Beginning to See the Light.”

Kenny Burrell on Piano Jazz

Aug 7, 2015
Kenny Burrell
Courtesy of the artist

  News Stations: Sat, Aug 8, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug 9, 7pm

Guitarist Kenny Burrell has been called a “cool, controlled romantic” whose textured playing is “subtle yet sensual, meditative, exultant, wry, and intimate.” He may well be one of the most lyrical guitarists on the jazz scene. In fact, he was Duke Ellington's favorite improviser on the guitar. Burrell delights on this 1993 Piano Jazz with a solo of “‘Round Midnight.” He joins McPartland for “Don't Worry ‘bout Me.”

Skitch Henderson on Piano Jazz

Jul 27, 2015

--- News Stations: Sat, Aug 1, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Aug 2, 7pm --- 

Skitch Henderson (1918 – 2005) worked as a piano soloist on Frank Sinatra's and Bing Crosby's radio shows. He began a long-time association with NBC in 1951, appearing as pianist, conductor, leader, and even comedian on The Tonight Show with host Steve Allen. In 1962, he began as conductor of the orchestra for The Tonight Show with host Johnny Carson. On this 1992 episode of Piano Jazz , Henderson plays one of his own compositions, the theme song from the film Act 1 .

  July 25/July 26, 2015: Corky Hale

Multi-instrumentalist Corky Hale has been blazing trails since her career began. She started piano at three, harp at eight, flute at ten, and cello at twelve. In the late 1950s, she became Mel Tormé's pianist and teamed up with Billie Holiday in Las Vegas and LA. On this Piano Jazz from 1993, Hale performs “Yesterdays” on the harp with Herb Michman joining on bass. She duets with McPartland on “Tea for Two.”

Rio Clemente on Piano Jazz

Jul 13, 2015

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

Rio Clemente was born Rosario Clemente in Morristown, New Jersey. Known as the “Bishop of Jazz,” he was educated at the Juilliard School of Music. His training in classical music paved the way for his vibrant career in jazz, playing with the likes of Bucky Pizzarelli, Clark Terry, Milt Jackson, and Bobby Hackett, with whom he toured. On this 2004 Piano Jazz , Clemente performs his own composition “Allegria” and joins McPartland for “All the Things You Are.”

Willie Ruff on Piano Jazz

Jul 6, 2015
Willie Ruff
Vincent Oneppo

  ---News Stations: Sat, Jul 11, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jul, 12, 9 pm---

Willie Ruff is a master of the bass and the French horn, which he reveals as a singularly beautiful jazz instrument. Trained as a classical musician, he studied with Paul Hindemith at the Yale School of Music and signed as first horn with the Tel Aviv Symphony. He went on to team up with pianist Dwike Mitchell, forming the Mitchell-Ruff duo and performing worldwide. In this 1991 Piano Jazz session, Ruff plays horn on “Prelude to a Kiss” and bass on “There is No Greater Love.”

Dwike Mitchell on Piano Jazz

Jun 29, 2015
Dwike Mitchell
Vincent Oneppo

  ---News Stations: Sat, Jul 04, 8 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jul 05, 2015--- Pianist Dwike Mitchell (1930 – 2013) joined bassist and French horn soloist Willie Ruff in 1955 to form the Mitchell-Ruff duo, which created a stir in New York nightclubs and across the globe as they gained recognition for their elegant sound. On this 1990 Piano Jazz , Mitchell demonstrates his formidable technique, touch, and feeling on “Lush Life.” McPartland and Mitchell form their own duo to play “Don't Worry About Me.”

Tierney Sutton on Piano Jazz

Jun 22, 2015
Tierney Sutton
Courtesy of the artist

  -- News Stations: Sat, Jun 27 | Classical Stations: Sun, Jun 28, 2015 --  Tierney Sutton Vocalist Tierney Sutton is one of the hottest jazz artists working today. A six-time Grammy nominee, her album After Blue was nominated for “Best Jazz Vocal Album” in 2015. When Sutton came on Piano Jazz in 2004, she had just released her album Dancing in the Dark, a tribute to Frank Sinatra, which debuted in the Billboard Top Ten. With her accompanist Christian Jacobs, Sutton performs a set of standards, and she and McPartland team up to perform “Last Night When We Were Young.”

Gerry Mulligan on Piano Jazz

Jun 15, 2015
Gerry Mulligan
Carol Friedman/Library of Congress

    --- News Stations: Sat, Jun 20, 8pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Jun 21, 7pm --- Gerry Mulligan (1927 – 1996) was best known as a baritone saxophonist. He was pivotal in developing the West Coast jazz sound and was featured in big bands for years. He also composed and performed symphonic music and played piano. In this Piano Jazz session from 1987, Mulligan performs his original compositions “Ontet” and “Good Neighbor Thelonious.” He and McPartland wrap up the program with a duet of “Blues Angst.”

Hazel Scott on Piano Jazz

Jun 8, 2015
Hazel Scott
James Kriegsmann, New York

  ---Classical Stations: Sat, Jun 13, 8 pm | News Stations: Sun, Jun 14, 7 pm --- Hazel Scott Pianist and vocalist Hazel Scott (June 11, 1920 – 1981) was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. A child prodigy, she had a life-long career as a jazz artist on stage and screen, performing late into her life throughout the US and Europe. On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1980, Scott performs a set of standards including tunes by Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, and Ray Noble, and joins host Marian McPartland for a duet in “Fine and Dandy” and Mary Lou Williams’ “Kool Bongo.”

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

- 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.”