Musicians

Better Ears

Feb 13, 2019
A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

Every musician will tell you that there are some musicians who just seem to have better ears than others do. We’re really talking about the brain, rather than the actual organ of hearing, but in any case from the same sounds others hear, some people are able to extract more information, and they’re able both to process and to store that information faster, more accurately, and more efficiently. 


It’s not every day that the musicians of Fort Jackson’s 282nd Army Band have the opportunity to perform alongside an organist.

“This is very unique. This usually doesn’t happen,” Bandmaster George T. Bauer says of the ensemble’s upcoming Veterans Day Concert. With fifteen brass players, three percussionists, and an organist performing selections by composers ranging from J.S. Bach to Maurice Duruflé, the concert is far from what many might think typical for one given by a military band.

A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

I can’t say for sure, but I would guess that most people have had what might be called recurring anxiety dreams… the kinds of dreams in which you find yourself in public with no clothes on, or about to take a test in a subject you’ve never studied. People’s anxiety dreams tend to be tailored to their particular personalities, circumstances, and experiences, and often to their particular professions. 


Courtesy of the artist

For violinist Benjamin Beilman, the music of Johannes Brahms has timeless appeal. Striking what he considers a “perfect balance” between the personal and the objective, works like the German Romantic composer’s Violin Concerto in D major, op. 77, still have the power to move performer and listener alike.

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.”

hoto from the University of South Carolina's Motion Image Research Collection.
Photo from the University of South Carolina's Motion Image Research Collection.

At the University of South Carolina, the Moving Image Research Collection has established a reputation as one of the top film archives in the country. Curator Greg Wilsbacher says Newsfilm Collections at USC has received some notable donations over the years—including footage from the United States Marine Corps. But it all started with a donation in 1980 from the Fox Corporation, containing countless hours of newsreels and outtakes from the turn of the 20th Century.

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.”

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