Singer/songwriter Kate McGarry has travelled many musical paths - from Celtic to swing and various genres in between. Her dynamic voice can be sweet, soulful orswinging, giving her the freedom to chart her own musical course. With pianist and accordion player Gary Versace, McGarry performs “Heather on the Hill,” and McPartland joins in on Cole Porter’s “I Love You.”
Brazilian pianist/singer Eliane Elias is one of the most original and popular artists on the jazz scene. Widely recognized as one of the preeminent interpreters of Brazilian icon Antonio Carlos Jobim, Elias has also explored the works of Bill Evans and Chet Baker. On this session she performs an Evans tune, “Here Is Something for You,” for which she has written a lyric, and McPartland gives her own Evans tribute on “B Minor Waltz.”
Remembering Carline Ray
Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Carline Ray was one of the true female pioneers in
jazz. In the 1940s she performed with the all-female band, The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, and also performed with Cy Oliver, Mercer Ellington, and Mary Lou Williams. On this 1997 session, Ray joins host McPartland for a stellar set including “In a Sentimental Mood,”“All of Me,” and “But Beautiful.”
On an unseasonably cool day at the 2006 Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Marian McPartland was joined by the unquestionably cool singer/ songwriter Elvis Costello. He sang standards he had never performed before, and debuted new lyrics to Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count” and McPartland’s “Threnody.” A surprise guest appearance from Costello’s most significant collaborator, wife Diana Krall, rounded out this amazing concert.
Tony Award-winning actress Betty Buckley is a veteran of such Broadway hits as Cats, Gypsy and Sunset Boulevard. She’s lauded as one of the best voices in modern musical theater and has played many film and television roles. Buckley talks about her life on the stage to her home on the range and performs a collection of favorites with her musical director Kenny Werner, including “Stardust” and “Angel Eyes.”
Remembering Dr. Billy Taylor
Dr. Billy Taylor was a celebrated pianist, radio host, educator and longtime Artistic Director for Jazz at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where this special Piano Jazz was recorded in 2007. Taylor performs a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., titled “His Name Was Martin” and McPartland improvises a musical portrait of Taylor.
Pianist Carli Muñoz’s musical journey has taken him from Puerto Rico to the studios and clubs of Los Angeles and back to the island of his birth. His musical career has followed a similar trajectory. He left jazz to gig with big names in pop, such as the Beach Boys and Rickie Lee Jones, then returned to his first love in the role of a jazz club owner. Muñoz plays his tune, “Mia,” and joins McPartland for Cole Porter’s “So in Love.”
Israeli export Anat Cohen is equally fluent in modern and traditional jazz, classical, and Afro-Cuban styles. She has quickly established herself as one of the most exciting voices of her generation on both the tenor saxophone and the clarinet. With a swinging rhythm section, she and host McPartland offer a beautiful version of "Don’t Explain” before rounding out the hour with “What a Little Moonlight Will Do.”
Pianist and composer Robert Glasper is a powerful voice on the jazz scene. His Grammy- winning group, Robert Glasper Experiment, blends hip-hop, R&B, rock, and jazz into an appealing and highly intelligent sound. He kicks off the show withan original tune, “Rise and Shine,” and jams with McPartland on Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance.”
Pianist Kenny Werner is a musician for whom creativity is a credo and improvisation a way of life. Transforming brilliant technique into unbridled creativity is not only Werner’s musical mission; it’s the subject of his popular book, Effortless Mastery. He and McPartland get together on a pair of Bill Evans tunes –“Very Early” and “Waltz for Debbie.”
Bassist Eddie Gomez has held down rhythm sections and set the groove for some of the heavyweights of jazz—from Bill Evans to Miles Davis to Chick Corea and Marian McPartland herself! His masterful touch and sense of swing shine through, whether he’s grooving in the background or bringing the bass up front. He joins McPartland for a set including favorites “Turn Out the Stars” and “Stella By Starlight.”
The Montclair Women’s Big Band keeps the jazz ensemble tradition alive and swinging in the San Francisco Bay area. Trumpeter and veteran bandleader Ellen Seeling brings along tenor sax Jean Fineberg and drummer, Allison Miller to thisPiano Jazz recorded in 2007. They join McPartland and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi for quintet versions of “Georgia” and “St. Thomas.”
Italian pianist Stefano Bollani stretches the limits of the imagination with improvisations that range from quirky to transcendent. Virtuoso technique and a keen harmonic sense bolster Bollani’s improvisations, which owe as much to Charlie Parker and Oscar Peterson as to Sergei Prokofiev and Frank Zappa. Bollani performs an original, “Buzzilare,” and Scott Joplin’s classic, “Maple Leaf Rag.”
Christmas with Marian McPartland
Piano Jazz swings into the holiday season with a special program of Christmas music. McPartland and her guests from seasons past share their favorite memories and perform yuletide classics and original holiday tunes. Guest artists include George Shearing, Tony DeSare and Dena DeRose.
Composer/arranger Gerald Wilson has charted the course for some of the legends of jazz, including Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. Wilson got his start as a trumpet player with Jimmie Lunceford’s big band, but was soon recognized as a composer, arranger, and big band leader with a wealth of sophisticated musical ideas and total dedication to the infinite possibilities of jazz. Host McPartland improvises a musical portrait in honor of Wilson.