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The Arts

Program Listings for Piano Jazz

Eric Reed
Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr
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 News Stations: Saturdays, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sundays, 7 pm

  July 30/31:  Eric Reed

Pianist and composer Eric Reed began playing piano as a small child. He was only 18 when he played his first string of gigs with Wynton Marsalis, work that catapulted him to the forefront of jazz musicians. He has played with Joe Henderson, Betty Carter, and Joshua Redman, among others, and has established himself as a notable leader, producer, and educator. On this 1995 Piano Jazz, the then 24-year-old Reed’s distinctive style is evident on a solo of “Cedar’s Blues.”

Marilyn Crispell
Credit marilyncrispell.com
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  August 06/07: Marilyn Crispell
Critics hail pianist Marilyn Crispell as a “luminous presence at the forefront of creative music.” Known for challenging compositions and improvisations, she plays free jazz with an evocative and disciplined style. She has performed on stages the world over and in 2005 received a Guggenheim Fellowship. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Crispell solos her own composition “Fragments.” She and McPartland conclude the hour with Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser.”

David Sanchez
Credit Siebe van Ineveld Rotterdam, via Wikimedia Commons
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  August 13/14: David Sanchez
Multiple Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanchez weaves threads of Latin American and North American jazz into a colorful tapestry. His vast experience includes performances with Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Palmieri, Paquito D’Rivera, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Kenny Barron. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, bassist John Benitez, drummer Adam Cruz, and host McPartland join Sanchez in a quartet to perform “My Shining Hour” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

  August 20/21: Marty Napoleon
Pianist Marty Napoleon (1921 – 2015) came from a musical family. He was the nephew of trumpeter and bandleader Phil Napoleon and brother of pianist Teddy Napoleon. In 1950 he joined his uncle’s group, The Memphis Five, and later became a member of the Big Four, led by Charlie Ventura. He also played with Louis Armstrong’s All Stars, led his own trio, and performed as a soloist. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Napoleon solos on his original “Over and Over,” and McPartland joins for “All of Me.”

Marian McPartland and Norah Jones, 2002.
Credit SC Public Radio
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Marian McPartland and Norah Jones, 2002.

  August 27/28: Norah Jones
Vocalist Norah Jones has a smoky, sweet voice that makes standards sound not only revived, but completely new. Her style branches out into the realms of folk, country and western, soul, pop, and jazz. In 2003, the year she was McPartland’s guest on Piano Jazz, she won her first Grammy Awards for her debut album, Come Away with Me. Jones brings her warm vocals to Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You,” and McPartland and Jones kick off a “Beautiful Friendship.”

Walter Davis, Jr.
Credit Carlo Rondinelli, via Wikimedia Commons
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Walter Davis, Jr.

  September 03/04: Walter Davis, Jr.
Pianist Walter Davis, Jr. (1932 – 1990) spent more than four decades contributing to the development of jazz history. He worked with a wide variety of talent including Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd, and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Shortly after sitting down with McPartland for Piano Jazz in 1990, this great giant in the jazz world passed away. One of the great bebop stylists of his time, Davis plays his own tune, “Backgammon” and joins McPartland for a tribute to one of his main influences with “Blue Monk.”

Oliver Jones
Credit Courtesy of the artist
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Oliver Jones

  September 10/11: Oliver Jones
Oliver Jones is one of Canada’s premiere pianists and winner of the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award. As a child he took lessons with Daisy Peterson Sweeney, Oscar Peterson’s sister. With a long career as a performer, composer, and educator, Jones is an important player in the international jazz piano scene. Piano Jazz celebrates Jones’ 82nd birthday with this session from 1990. His music speaks for itself as he plays his own tune “Jordio.” Then McPartland and Jones say it all with “Three Little Words.”

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

  September 17/18: Leonard Feather
Leonard Feather (1914 – 1994) was hailed as “the Dean of Jazz Journalists.” He critiqued artists for Downbeat, Melody Maker, Wire, and his own weekly syndicated column for the Los Angeles Times. He authored works including The Jazz Years: Ear Witness to an Era and The Encyclopedia of Jazz. Feather also played piano and composed works recorded by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Sarah Vaughan, to name a few. On this 1988 Piano Jazz, he solos on “Lost in the Stars” and an original “Blues Medley.”

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

  September 24/25: Cecilia Smith
Vibraphonist Cecilia Smith is a leading proponent of the four-mallet technique. She has performed at nightclubs, concert halls, and festivals all over the world and collaborated with greats such as Mulgrew Miller, Cecil Bridgewater, and Randy Weston. On this Piano Jazz from 2000, she and McPartland combine talents in a rendition of “Old Devil Moon.” Smith solos on her “Lullaby for Miles and Bill” and a piece dedicated to her mother, “Mourning Before Grace.”