Trumpeter Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham (1905 – 1997) was known for his admirable technique and tone. His signature slight burr gave his solos an edge, but his approach was warm and elegant. He continued touring late into his life, with some of his best recordings from this later stage. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Cheatham and McPartland play "Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On" and "I Double Dare You."
Pamela Hines is a pianist and composer whose forte is a complex and engaging take on the structural components of music within the jazz form. She brings nuances and impressive technical abilities to all the tunes she plays, and as a composer, she draws out a theme from every musician working with her. In this session from 2000, Hines performs her original tune "Porridge."
Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton (1908 – 2002) was one of the most influential figures in the annals of jazz. He made the vibes a vital voice in the arsenal of jazz instruments and gained international fame playing in Benny Goodman's small groups and leading his own orchestra. On this 1989 Piano Jazz, Hampton and McPartland duet on a set including "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Mack the Knife."
The music of pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a potent mixture of Cuban and American jazz. His style is both melodic and rhythmic, filled with exciting and intriguing influences. He plays everything from jazz to classical as well as music from his native land, Cuba. When he was a guest on Piano Jazz in 1995, he spoke with host McPartland through an interpreter and dazzled with pieces including "Con Alma" and "Straight No Chaser."
In addition to being a lauded pianist, composer, and arranger, Sharon Freeman is an accomplished French horn player. She has worked with many jazz greats, including Gil Evans, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, and Charlie Haden. In 1988, she was McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz, where she demonstrated her skill as a pianist on standards such as "Body and Soul" and "Heaven," along with her own composition "Waltz for Achim."
Jazz musicians have long admired pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn (1934 – 2005). Her sensitive and relaxed playing style and unique vocals earned her comparisons to fellow jazz greats such as Count Basie and Nat King Cole. In this Piano Jazz session from 1995, Horn brings her unmistakable contralto to a set including "Wouldn't It Be Lovely" and "End of a Beautiful Friendship." McPartland performs her original tune "Days of Our Love."
On this special edition of the Piano Jazz Shorts Podcast, we remember the life of Henry Mancini, who would have been 91 April 16th. Ginny Mancini was a recent guest on NPR's Song Travels with Michael Feinstein, and she told how she and Henry met, fell in love, and were married. It's a great story and we want to share it thereby adding to the Henry Mancini Broadcast from Last Week's Piano Jazz. We hope you'll enjoy this excerpt from the Song Travels interview.
Recorded before a live audience at NPR studios in Washington, DC, Marian McPartland hosted pianist Stanley Cowell for this 1999 Piano Jazz. Known for his brilliant and highly personal approach, Cowell bridges traditional and contemporary styles of jazz. He and McPartland challenge each other in inventive duets, and Cowell performs his famous composition "Euqipoise."
Composer, arranger, and pianist Henry Mancini (1924 – 1994) penned some of the most memorable tunes of the modern era. Throughout his career, he recorded more than 90 albums and won 20 Grammys and four Oscars. To mark what would have been his 91st birthday, we bring you this Piano Jazz from 1985. Mancini shares about his muse (the movie screen) and performs several favorites, including "Days of Wine and Roses."
Vocalist Carmen McRae (April 8, 1920 – 1994) was an expert of rhythm, deft phrasing, and personal, bittersweet ballads. Her enigmatic, dark contralto voice relied upon the ironic interpretation of lyrics that has placed her among the pantheon of female jazz singers. On this 1985 Piano Jazz, McRae accompanies herself for "As Long as I Live" and joins McPartland to perform "Carmen's Blues."