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All That Jazz: Marian McPartland, 1918-2013

Legendary pianist and jazz icon Marian McPartland died on 20 August at the age of ninety-five. The British-born McPartland moved to the US after World War II and enjoyed a long career as a performer, famously holding down an eight-year gig with her trio at Manhattan's Hickory House in the 1950s.

McPartland has an SC connection as well - she was the host of Piano Jazz, an NPR program produced by ETV Radio. The show, launched in 1978, featured notable jazz greats such as Bill Evans, Mary Lou Williams, Oscar Peterson, Gerry Mulligan, and many others in performance with McPartland. She proved herself to be just as talented an on-air interviewer as she was a musician.

Check out the following recordings in Richland Library's collection (including the Piano Jazz episode with my favorite jazz pianist, Bill Evans), as well as a memoir by McPartland and a recent biography.


Amazon Says: In a world dominated by men, Marian McPartland distinguished herself as one of the greatest jazz pianists of her ageBorn in the UK as Margaret Marian Turner, Marian McPartlan more...
Amazon Says: In a world dominated by men, Marian McPartland distinguished herself as one of the greatest jazz pianists of her ageBorn in the UK as Margaret Marian Turner, Marian McPartland learned to play classical piano, but was passionately attracted to the rhythms of American jazz. Entertaining troops in WWII Europe, she met her future husband, Jimmy McPartland, a cocky young trumpet player who was the protege of the great Bix Beiderbecke. They were married and, together, they made jazz history. At first, Marian played second fiddle to Jimmy in Chicago, but when they moved to New York, Marian and her trio took up residence at the famous Hickory House where she thrilled the crowds from her perch on a stage in the middle of large oval bar. From there she went on to triumphs at places like the Montreaux Jazz Festival.  Possibly, her greatest accomplishment was the creation of NPR's long-running show Piano Jazz. More than the life story of one of our greatest artists, Shall We Play That One Together? by Paul de Barros chronicles an age when jazz was a vital art form. Just as inviting as Marian's signature question on Piano Jazz, Shall We Play That One Together? is an invitation to readers everywhere to listen to the score of a bygone age. less...
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All in Good Time by Marian McPartland
Amazon Says: "Once a man stood at the bar watching me intently, and when the set was finished he came over and said with a smile, 'You know, you can't be a respectable woman the way you pl more...
Amazon Says: "Once a man stood at the bar watching me intently, and when the set was finished he came over and said with a smile, 'You know, you can't be a respectable woman the way you play piano.'" This autobiographical incident is just one of the marvelous anecdotes recalled by Marian McPartland in her book, All in Good Time. McPartland is one of the most famous contemporary jazz pianists. Brought up in England, she married the jazz trumpeter Jimmy McPartland after World War II and then settled in the U.S., where she built her career. She is also an articulate, knowledgeable, and entertaining writer about jazz and this book collects the best of her articles, published over the years in magazines like Down Beat and Esquire. There are wonderful portraits of two famous pianists: Mary Lou Williams, hailed as one of the finest composers and performers of her era, an artist of great spiritual resources who brought order to the chaotic world of modern jazz ; and Bill Evans, renowned for his introspective and evanescent playing. Also profiled are two young bass players, Eddie Gomez and Ron McClure, then new to the scene but destined to have a lasting influence; and outstanding drummers Joe Morello (who began his career with McPartland and went on play with Dave Brubeck) and Jake Hanna (who played with Woody Herman as well as with several small groups). Together, these descriptions of famous musicians -- almost all of whom McPartland has played with -- give the reader a special insight into how a jazz rhythm section meshes and functions. The raffish atmosphere of 52nd Street ("Swing Street") in its heyday is superbly evoked in McPartland's reminiscence of the Hickory House, where she played in the 1950s to an audience that often included the likes of Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, and Steve Allen. The author provides a shrewd and balanced assessment of another Hickory House habitue, jazz icon Benny Goodman; an affectionate and deeply moving portrait of her close friend, Alec Wilder; and a charming and revealing discussion with actor and occasional jazz pianist, Dudley Moore. But one of the most exciting pieces in the book is her brilliant historical survey of the landmark all-female jazz orchestra of the 1930s and 1940s, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. McPartland's special interest in the position of women in jazz, often evident in this book, is best summed up by her quip, "You've come a long way, baby; but you've always been there." less...
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