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."
Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli is one of the hottest jazz acts on the scene today. With his swinging and sophisticated style, he makes music that sounds both classic and modern. He's the son of jazz guitarist John "Bucky" Pizzarelli, who helped him get his start. On this Piano Jazz from 2001, McPartland and John team up for "I Got Rhythm" and his brother, bassist Martin Pizzarelli, joins in for "It's Only a Paper Moon."
Jazz vocalist and pianist Dardanelle Hadley (1917 – 1997) was born Marcia Marie Mullen, the daughter of vocalist/pianist Marcius Mosely "Buck" Mullen. In the 1940s, she formed a trio that played regularly at the Copacabana Club in New York, and she went on to work with jazz greats such as Bucky Pizaarelli and Grady Tate. In this Piano Jazz session from 1984, Hadley shows off her chops on "All the Things You Are" and duets with McPartland on "It's Delovely."
Remembering Marian: A Celebration of the Music and Life of Marian McPartland was held on March 20, 2014. On what would have been her ninety-sixth birthday, the Piano Jazz family gathered at 92Y in New York to say goodbye. Hosted by Jon Weber, friends and family celebrated McPartland's remarkable life in music. Guests featured on the broadcast of this memorial concert include Tony Bennett, Barbara Carroll, Bill Charlap, Michael Feinstein, Chris Brubeck, Jon Faddis, and many more.
Copyist, arranger, and musician Mercer Ellington (1919 –1996) worked for his father, Duke Ellington, as a horn player in Duke's band before becoming manager of the group. He took on additional duties, such as composing for the group, resulting in his original tune, "Things Ain't What They Used to Be." On this 1994 Piano Jazz, he reprises some of his father's gems, such as "In My Solitude."
Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is one of Cuba's best-known musical exports. On this Piano Jazz from 2002, Sandoval showcases his talent as a pianist and composer. His inspiration for turning to the piano came from his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie, who prompted him to take it up. He joins McPartland for a duet of his composition "Blues in F," and Sandoval solos on "Surena" and "Romantio."