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Jazz with Marian McPartland
Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland
Program Website: http://www.npr.org/programs/pianojazz/
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
Guitarist and pioneering inventor Les Paul was known for his innovations in recording technique and his phenomenal guitar sound. His jazz roots can be traced to the early 1930s when he performed Eddie Lang- and Django Reinhardt-styled jazz on his own radio show in Chicago. On this Piano Jazz from 1999, Paul performs “How High the Moon,” accompanied by bassist Paul Nowinski, guitarist Lou Pallo, and host McPartland.
Vibraphonist extraordinaire Joe Locke has recorded with artists such as Eddie Henderson and Grover Washington, Jr. and he continues to tour worldwide. Known for the emotional range of his solo work, he has established himself as a composer and bandleader and is active as an educator and clinician. In this 1996 session, Locke performs his original composition "Seven Beauties."
Critics hail Carmen Lundy as one of the world’s greatest jazz vocalists. Her beautiful contralto voice perfectly conveys the soul and depth of her compositions. In 1999, she joined McPartland to perform Mary Lou’s Mass by Mary Lou Williams at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. She teams with McPartland again on this Piano Jazz from 2000 along with her brother, bassist Curtis Lundy. Together they give listeners “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” and Lundy’s own piece “Quiet Times.”
Pianist and composer Jessica Williams has gained critical acclaim and multiple Grammy nominations for her writing and remarkable skill at the keyboard. Dave Brubeck called her “one of the greatest jazz pianists I have ever heard.” On this Piano Jazz from 1992, Williams solos on “Why Do I Love You” and joins host McPartland for Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser.”
Grammy Award-winning vocalist Alicia Keys has rocked the pop and R&B worlds with her velvet voice. A New York native, Keys brings the influence of jazz greats like Fats Waller to her piano playing, while her songwriting style is inspired by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and Donny Hathaway. In this 2004 session, Keys plays one of her signature songs “Fallin’” and joins McParland on “Good Morning Heartache.”
Composer, arranger, and conductor Burt Bacharach is a true legend of American popular music. With such landmark tunes as “Alfie” and “The Look of Love,” Bacharach has charmed audiences and earned multiple Grammys and Academy Awards. He sits down with host McPartland on this 2005 program for an hour of conversation and musical selections from his body of work, including his hit “What the World Needs Now is Love.”
Pianist Oscar Peterson was one of the giants of jazz piano. Fast fingers and a hardwired sense of swing defined Peterson and made him a favorite musical partnerfor everyone from Ella to Dizzy to Herbie Hancock. Peterson (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007) would have been 89 this year. On this program from1998, Peterson demonstrates his amazing technique on his “Love Ballad” beforejoining McPartland on Ellington’s “In a Mellow Tone.”
A veteran Piano Jazz sideman, Christian McBride has accompanied guests including J.J. Johnson and Cassandra Wilson. In this session from 2001, McBride takes the spotlight as a dynamic composer and stylist who leads a new generation of jazz players. He features his bass in duet with McPartland on the standard “Alone Together” and plays solo piano on his composition "Lullaby for a Ladybug."
A world-class jazz composer and pianist, Makoto Ozoné began playing organ at age two and picked up piano at age twelve after falling in love with the music of Oscar Peterson. On this Piano Jazz from 2002, Ozoné shows his total mastery of the keyboard as he solos on his “Lullaby for Rabbit.” He and McPartland enjoy musical jokes on “Sonnymoon for Two.”
Helen Merrill’s voice is an instrument that sometimes carries the melody and sometimes complements the improvisational skills of her co-musicians. In this session from 1995, McPartland performs a “Portrait of Helen Merrill.” Merrill joins McPartland to perform songs popularized by Billie Holiday, including Bob Haggart’s “What’s New” and Holiday’s “Don’t Explain.”