Still Swinging, Still Classic: A Musical Biography of Pioneering Pianist Hazel Scott

Airs February 14 at 8PM AM 820 and 93.9 FM and February 20 at 4PM on 93.9 FM

Monday, February 14, 2011

A musical portrait of the wife of late Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Julliard-trained pianist who performed in the most prestigious concert halls in the world. Known as the “darling of Café Society,” Hazel Scott became a trailblazer in Hollywood; an outspoken civil rights activist which made her a political target; and ultimately, an outcast, ostracized by the Church community because of her music.


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Comments [25]

Mr. Rupert Davis from Manhattan, NY

This is absolutely fabulous! What a treat to behold during this Black History Month! And hats off the the uniquely incomparable, Mr. Terrance McKnight for such a delicious musical sojourn!

Feb. 19 2014 11:11 PM
Marion Berghahn from New York

What a wonderful, fascinating program! Thank you so much! Her name was vaguely familiar but I had no idea what a great musician she was. A real eye opener.

Feb. 19 2014 11:04 PM
Rick Neilan from Kenneth City, FL USA

I can only lament that I did not see the broadcast. I knew Hazel Scoot in the 1950's in Paris. She accompanied me for a TV show called Ecole des Vedettes and also in private audience for Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd at
the home of Harry Winston. I have always held her in highest esteem.

Feb. 02 2013 01:42 PM

Thank you so much for the gift of Hazel Scott. I never heard of her before, and now I only regret that so little of her music is available for download!

Feb. 16 2012 10:40 PM
Charles Merrick from Closter, NJ

I just heard the show on WNYC-FM this evening (Feb. 16, 2012) and find her music and her story fascinating. I was a teen in the '60s, and knew of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., but had not known of Hazel Scott until the show tonight. What an amazing musician and person.

Thank you WNYC (and WQXR).

Feb. 16 2012 09:32 PM
Nzinga Zindua from Southfield, MI

awsome, classy, beautiful, talented and sexy. Badd ass sister. RIP Beautiful Queen. The Miss Hazel Scott!!!

Jul. 12 2011 04:50 PM
Katrina from North Plainfield NJ

Wonderful - I had never heard of this amazing woman. But I asked my grandmother-in-law and she knew all about her and will listen to the story; then I shared the story with my daughter. Thank you for bringing the generations together over this wonderful woman and her music and legacy!

Mar. 03 2011 09:14 PM
Nina from Valley Stream, NY

What an inspiring story! Terrance, you've done a fabulous job in delivering Hazel Scott's story with such professionalism. It is a story that inspires and encourages all ethnicities and races. Thank you public radio for bringing life to Hazel Scott in such a marvelous way.

Feb. 25 2011 11:00 PM
Betty Jones from Chicago, IL

Congratulations Carl Scott!

Feb. 24 2011 11:44 PM
Jeremy Helton from Durham, NC

What a gorgeous glimpse into the life of Hazel Scott. As someone who knew the name but not the story, this was a great chapter in the history of jazz.

Feb. 24 2011 02:31 PM
Sumi Tonooka from Beacon NY

Dear Terrence,

Thankyou, thankyou.Your story on Hazel Scott touched me very deeply. I am a jazz pianist and composer and had the very fortunate privilege of studying with MaryLou Williams when I was in my late teens. Its wonderful to learn that they were such close friends. What an amazing artist and person Hazel Scott was and what a rich life, with such highs and lows. You brought her back to life and I learned so much. It's great that radio can transport and transform in this way-KUDO's and thankyou WNYC!! ( Now, I've got to read the book that inspired the show)
Sumi Tonooka

Feb. 22 2011 11:56 PM

Telling this story was incredibly rewarding. I'm inspired by all of these comments.

thank you

Feb. 22 2011 03:29 AM
Nicholas P Schiavone from Rye, New York

Dear Terrance & WNYC,

Where else but on WNYC would one find a program as wonderful and important as this one.

Pure excellence & delight.

In six decades of life, I have rarely enjoyed radio as much as I did yesterday afternoon and now again - as I listen to the replay that you make available.

Thank you very much. Look no further for the proof that we need public media, especially as practiced by everyone at WNYC.

Nick - a loyal & grateful member for a long time.

Feb. 21 2011 06:03 PM

Fabulous! Hazel Scott's music, achievements and story are seldom told.

Feb. 21 2011 02:15 PM
Jim Zangrilli Jr

Wow. I'm blown away. I'd never heard of Hazel Scott! Black female piano prodigy, born in Trindad, grew up in Harlem in the 20's, attended Juliard as a child and influenced by the Jazz greats. And became great in her own right. I love this story: just bought an album.

Feb. 20 2011 09:54 PM
Roy Eaton from Roosevelt Island

Bravo!Bravo! This program accurately captured the spirit of New York in the '30s and '40s when I was growing up. I, like Hazel, experienced similiar frustrations trying to establish a career as a Black classical concert pianist even after winning an international Chopin competition two years BEFORE Van Cliburn!!! Unfortunately, for Blacks aspiring to make it in the classical world, things haven't changed that much.

Feb. 20 2011 08:17 PM
monica gill from Brooklyn, NY

Fantastic show--great documentary. I am Hazel Scott's cousin and she was also my God mother. I am proud to say your story was accurate and professionally done. I am so proud of her and listening to this program made me prouder.

Feb. 20 2011 06:07 PM
Audrey Rosen from Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY

What an extraordinary program on Hazel Scott!!!! Bravo and many thanks for airing it.
I've already listened to it twice!

Feb. 20 2011 06:03 PM
WNYC Programming

Thank-you all for your very thoughtful comments about this program. We want you to know that it will air again on Sunday, February 20 at 4pm on 93.9FM. Please spread the word.

Feb. 15 2011 12:52 PM
Gregory Cortelyou from Long Island

This show was wonderful. I had not heard of Hazel Scott before the recent promos for the show and was looking forward to listening. What a life she lived and how wonderfully presented it was by Terrance McKnight. I have missed him so much, it was like visiting with an old friend. I know he is on the other station but the signal doesn't reach where I am driving to each night as well as the WNYC one does. I would love to hear him once again on WNYC in that evening slot, hint hint. Great show, thanks again!

Feb. 14 2011 09:50 PM
Scott Thrift from Brooklyn


Just heard your Hazel Scott story.

I was deeply moved. That was a phenomenal piece of storytelling.

Thank you so much for putting in the extra time and heart, you can hear it in every moment of the piece.

Not only did your work paint a vivid picture of Hazel Scotts' life, it placed it perfectly into the context of the psychological constraints of the 20th century.

Now that we are a decade out of it, it is amazing to see how far we have come.

Bravo, seriously - you were born to do this.

You have made me a rich man this evening, thank you.

With sincerity,

Scott Thrift

Feb. 14 2011 09:03 PM
Chuck Abernethy from 80205

Wonderful program! Worth it, if only for the out-take piece. I especially loved listening to the stylized classical music.

Feb. 14 2011 09:02 PM
Dennis Maher from Lake Luzerne

Thank you so much for this show on Hazel Scott. I had never heard of her, but now I know.

Feb. 14 2011 08:58 PM
Karen Taylor from Harlem, NY


I had the very brief pleasure of meeting you at the open mic in the Greene Space a while back; I sang Angel Eyes.

I would like to let you know how much I appreciate you and the wonderful program you are presenting on Hazel Scott. The more she emerges out of the historical shadows, the better the chronicle of African American dignity and excellence becomes.

Again, thanks! You are wonderful.

Struggle for peace,


Feb. 14 2011 08:48 PM
Paul I. Adujie from New York, United States

Thanks for celebrating our history... thanks for remind all of us about all the burdens which have been borne by our forebears .... burdens borne in our name... for our freedom, our dignity and our equality.

Thank you for celebrating the life and work of Hazel Scott and the monumental efforts and sacrifices she made in our name and in our defense

Thank you and Thank you Terrance McKnight

Thank you and Happy Black History Month to everyone

Feb. 14 2011 08:34 PM

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