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Sunday > YPR Program Guide > Program Listings > Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland

Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland

Mondays 2:06pm

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For more than twenty years, legendary pianist Marian McPartland has welcomed a stellar line-up of jazz artists for conversation and improvisation. Fans say the show’s intimate style is “like listening in on a conversation in someone’s living room." A Peabody Award-winning program, Piano Jazz presents a forum for jazz legends andinfluential performers as well as up-and-coming talents, who offer dynamic duets and discuss their lives and music. McPartland has been honored with an NEA American Jazz Master and received the ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award and the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award for her contributions to jazz.

July 6
Dwike Mitchell
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.”

July 13
Willie Ruff

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.”

July 20
Rio Clemente

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.”

July 27
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.”

August 3
Skitch Henderson

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.

August 10
Kenny Burrell

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.”

August 17
Bertha Hope

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.”

August 18
Arturo O’Farrill

Pianist, composer, and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill is the son of the late Chico O’Farrill (24e 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.”

August 31

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.”

September 7
Ernestine Anderson

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.”

September 14
Clark Terry

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.”

September 21
Onaje Allan Gumbs

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.”

September 28
Ray Brown

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.”


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