Skip to comments.Marian McPartland, Jazz Pianist and NPR Radio Staple, Dies at 95
Posted on 08/22/2013 2:58:01 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Marian McPartland, the genteel Englishwoman who became a fixture of the American jazz scene as a pianist and, later in life, hosted the internationally syndicated and immensely popular public radio show Marian McPartlands Piano Jazz, died on Tuesday at her home in Port Washington, N.Y. She was 95.
Her death was announced by NPR.
Ms. McPartland was a gifted musician but an unlikely candidate for jazz stardom. She recalled in a 1998 interview for National Public Radio that shortly after she arrived in the United States in 1946, the influential jazz critic Leonard Feather, who himself was born in England and who began his career as a pianist, said, Oh, shell never make it: shes English, white and a woman.
Mr. Feather, she added, always used to tell me it was a joke, but I dont think he meant it as a joke.
The odds against any woman finding success as a jazz musician in the late 1940s and early 50s were formidable, but Ms. McPartland overcame them with grace. Listeners were charmed by her Old World stage presence and captivated by her elegant, harmonically lush improvisations, which reflected both her classical training and her fascination with modern jazz.
By 1958 she was well enough known to be included in Art Kanes famous Esquire magazine group photograph of jazz musicians, the subject of Jean Bachs 1994 documentary, A Great Day in Harlem. One of the few women in the picture, she stood next to her friend and fellow pianist Mary Lou Williams.
Ms. McPartlands contributions to jazz were not limited to her piano playing. An enthusiastic and articulate spokeswoman for the music, she lectured at schools and colleges and wrote for Down Beat, Melody Maker and other publications. (A collection of her essays, All in Good Time, was published
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Too sad. Hale and farewell, oh great lady of jazz.
I saw her at some venue in NYC when I was very young. Great pianist and a gracious human being.
I saw her play live it was about 11-12 years ago. She was tall, slender, sophisticated and surprisingly spry for her age. One long set was almost completely comprised of requests from the audience and she didnt hesitate over a single one. An amazing repertoire.
But for Piano Jazz and Car Talk, all of NPR could just go away for all Id care.
Race and gay, gay and race, day after day after day.
And no, not a single counter opinion to theirs. It was just presented as "what is" rather than "our opinion".
Yes, a truely great one. I have her CDs. Play them all the time. great for parties. Saw her live in 2001 when she was 83. Awesome. Could do anything with the piano.
Very nice link...thank you!
Both her and Dave Brubek came to my PBS station to do a performance. Me being one of the lowly engineering class was not even allowed to be in the same cavernous studio at the same time. I really didn’t care.
However it wasn’t until a year or two later I was making some copies of it on VHS and looked at the credits. Another guy who wasn’t there that evening was credited with my work. Odds are it was a certain technical manager or two playing politics.
The P/D who did it was a very, very detail oriented and kindly type. I half kidded him about it and if it was ever remixed or mastered, it would be corrected. It never happened. He died of natural causes later that year I think.
“Remembering Marian McPartland” is playing now on WAMU American University Radio 88.5 FM — see link below and click play in upper right corner. . .
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