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Tributes: Marian McPartland

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Marian McPartland, the renowned jazz pianist and host of NPR’s “Piano Jazz,” had a career that spanned six decades.  And she had no intention of stopping!  “Retire? Why retire?” she asked an AP reporter in 2007. “I’ve got a job, I’m making money, and I like what I do. Why retire?”  She told of the difficulty of breaking into the jazz scene as a woman in the ‘50s in her collection of essays, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.  After a set, a man approached her: “You know, you can’t be a respectable woman the way you play piano,’” she wrote. “For some reason or another, this struck me as a great compliment.”  Marian McPartland’s career just ended when she died at the age of 95.  She was on the Leonard Lopate Show several times, including a live performance in our studios – and can hear them below. 

Marian McPartland Peforming Live on the Leonard Lopate Show in 1999

Marian McPartland on the Leonard Lopate Show in 2003

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Comments [1]

A great loss. Marian McPartland was a wonderful talent and a gracious host who could be quite charming.

Perhaps my absolute favorite, of the Piano Jazz shows I've heard thus far, is the one featuring the late, legendary jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli:
http://www.npr.org/2012/09/07/91706269/violinist-stephane-grappelli-on-piano-jazz

The chemistry between McPartland and Grappelli in this 1989 recording; the spontaneity; the enthusiasm that both artists exude, are all exceptional. Together, they make for a truly delightful, "hour of conversation and improvisation", as the show's official slogan went.

Betty Carter (d. 1998), Abbey Lincoln (d. 2010), Dave Brubeck (d. 2012 ), and now, Marian McPartland. Are there /any/ true jazz greats left?

I hope to listen to these segments. I wish WNYC would make it easier to download them as mp3 files, as one can do for all of the segments of each day's Lopate as well as Lehrer shows.

Aug. 27 2013 03:16 PM

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