Piano Jazz Shorts

By NPR

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Description

A preview of upcoming conversations and improvisations with Marian McPartland and the brightest stars from the world of jazz.

Episode Date
Marlene VerPlanck on Piano Jazz
485
This week, Piano Jazz remembers Marlene VerPlanck (1933 – January 14, 2018), who died from cancer this year at age 84. One of the finest interpreters of American Popular Song, VerPlanck's artistic sensitivity made her a favorite of songwriters and listeners alike. As a studio singer, she was sought out by everyone from Frank Sinatra to KISS, and she also had a dynamic career as a solo performer. She was McPartland's guest in 1999. In this session, VerPlanck joins McPartland to sing "Skylark" and "Our Love is Here to Stay."
Aug 14, 2018
Stefon Harris on Piano Jazz, 2002
677
Vibraphonist Stefon Harris is one of the most innovative and impressive artists in jazz, blazing new trails on vibraphone and marimba. While much of his music is on the cutting edge, he has a strong sense of tradition and his technical facility knows no bounds. On this 2002 Piano Jazz, Harris shows off his fresh, clear sound on a number of duets with McPartland, including "Whisper Not," "Blue Monk," and "Bemsha Swing." McPartland solos on her own "Twilight World."
Aug 07, 2018
Jess Stacy, 1982
919
This week's Piano Jazz presents an episode from the early years of the program with guest Jess Stacy (1904 – 1995), who came out of retirement to appear on the show in 1982. One of the leading pianists of the swing era, Stacy was best known for his work with the Benny Goodman Orchestra and had a prolific career before stepping back from the music world in the 1950s. In this classic session from the archives, Stacy needs no introduction as he starts the show with a solo performance of "Dancing Fool." McPartland joins to end the hour with "St. Louis Blues."
Jul 31, 2018
Rachel Z, 1999
977
Pianist and composer Rachel Z grew up in Manhattan in a musical family. Her mother taught her classical voice and opera from a young age, but she found her own sound in the jazz and rock worlds. On the keys, she is lightning-quick and her percussive yet lyrical approach enhances her technique. In 2010, she formed a group called The Trio of Oz with her husband, Omar Hakim. On this 1999 Piano Jazz, Rachel Z performs her original "Gently Sleeps the Pear Tree." She and McPartland switch gears with "All the Things You Are."
Jul 24, 2018
Tony Bennertt, 1990
928
Ever-popular song stylist Tony Bennett was McPartland's guest for the first time in 1990. Bennett vocalizes American popular songs like nobody else can. When he was starting out, a voice teacher, Miriam Spier, famously told him: "Don't imitate singers, imitate musicians." So, Bennett decided to emulate Art Tatum. He also credits his relaxed delivery to the inspiration of Mildred Bailey. On this edition of Piano Jazz, Bennett sings "Stay as Sweet as You Are" and "Imagination." There's no need to guess who's playing the accompaniment.
Jul 18, 2018
Renee Rosnes,1990
932
Upon moving to New York from Vancouver, Canada, pianist and composer Renee Rosnes established a reputation as one of the premier jazz musicians on the scene. Over her 30-year career, Rosnes has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, from established masters such as Jack DeJohnette to younger giants such as Christian McBride and Melissa Aldana. On this 1990 episode of Piano Jazz, she plays Monk's "Four in One" then improvises with McPartland on her own tune "Fleur De Lis."
Jul 10, 2018
Don Byron, 1999
964
Pulitzer Prize finalist and 2007 Guggenheim Fellow Don Byron is a prodigious multi-instrumentalist and composer. One of the most inventive and compelling musicians of his generation, he is credited for reviving interest in the jazz clarinet, his primary instrument. He has presented projects at major music festivals around the world and is known for playing in a wide variety of genres. In this 1999 Piano Jazz session, Byron demonstrates his flexibility and duets with McPartland on "Perdido," "Moon Indigo," and a creative free piece.
Jul 03, 2018
Barbara Carroll, 1979
904
Pianist and vocalist Barbara Carroll (1925 – 2017) was described as a joyous and swinging jazz stylist. A dear friend of McPartland's, Carroll had a monumental career. When she was a guest on the program in 1979, she had just started her engagement at Bemelmans Bar in Manhattan, where she would perform for a remarkable 25 years. On this episode from the first season of Piano Jazz, she plays an original, "Barbara's Carol," and duets with McPartland on a timely rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely."
Jun 26, 2018
Andrew Hill, 2005
867
Pianist Andrew Hill (1931 – 2007) began playing jazz as a teenager in Chicago, where he was encouraged by Earl Hines. As he came of age, Hill played with jazz legends Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. He may be known best for his classic Blue Note recordings in the 1960s, which extended the possibilities of bop and hard bop through complex tunes. On this 2005 Piano Jazz, Hill demonstrates his mastery of melody, rhythm and technique on his own "Nicodemus" before joining host McPartland for "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square."
Jun 19, 2018
Marsha Ball, 1997
924
Pianist, vocalist, and songwriter Marcia Ball brings together Texas blues with Louisiana flavors, melding boogie-woogie, zydeco, and Swamp Rock. Influenced by artists of the region, such as Janis Joplin, Ball first came to the blues as a child by listening to Etta James and learned the piano through a mix of formal and informal lessons. On this 1997 Piano Jazz, Ball demonstrates her unique sound with "Crawfishin'" and her original "That's Enough of That." McPartland joins for a dual-piano rendition of "Woke Up Screaming."
Jun 12, 2018