Pianist and bandleader Jon Batiste hails from the cradle of jazz, Louisiana. Now the leader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert house band Stay Human, he has collaborated with Harry Connick Jr., Allen Toussaint, Cassandra Wilson, and the Marsalis family. On this Piano Jazz session from 2011, guest hosted by Jon Weber, Batiste sings "What a Wonderful World" and joins Weber for a duet of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
One of the rare jazz discoveries of her generation, Eden Atwood has a voice that has been described as beautiful and refreshing. The daughter of arranger-composer Hub Atwood, she studied piano as a child and went on to have a performing career in New York and beyond. She has released several studio albums and tours regularly. On this Piano Jazz from 1996, Atwood and McPartland duet on "Old Devil Moon."
Sergio Salvatore was only 14-years-old when he was McPartland's guest 20 ago, but he was already making the jazz world sit up and take notice. This young composer, pianist, and improviser is a natural. He has gone on to partner with virtuoso vibraphonist Christos Rafalides, with whom he released the critically acclaimed Dark Sand. On this 1996 edition of Piano Jazz, he solos on his own "Revolving Door." He and McPartland get together for "Autumn Leaves."
A florid, flamboyant pianist, Bobby Enriquez (1943–1996) was called "the Wild Man of jazz," a reference to his karate-like attack with fists, elbows, and palms hitting the keyboard. Although he never received formal lessons, he clearly made his mark among jazz heavyweights. On this 1990 Piano Jazz, Enriquez plays a fiery rendition of "Just One of Those Things," then gangs up with McPartland for his own "Bumble Rumble Blues."
A supreme soprano sax player, Jane Ira Bloom is known for her innovative use of movement and her high-energy compositions. Her debut album, Modern Drama, caught the attention of NASA, who commissioned her to write three pieces in 1989. She went on to release several studio albums, including her highly praised Sixteen Sunsets. On this 1993 Piano Jazz, Bloom and McPartland combine forces to freely improvise and to play "My Romance."
Being a legendary drummer was only part of Max Roach's musical personality; he was also an accomplished composer and storyteller. On this 1998 Piano Jazz, Roach (1924 – 2007) relates a few of his many musical memories from performing with greats like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie. He treats listeners to a selection of his own compositions. Roach, McPartand, and bassist Ray Drummond collaborate on "I'll Remember Clifford" and "Joy of Spring."
Pianist Eric Mintel is on a mission to bring jazz to the masses. His playing is straight-ahead but energetic, lyrical, and always swinging. With his quartet, he has engaged audiences at the White House, The Kennedy Center, and venues around the country. On this Piano Jazz from 2005, Mintel talks about improvisation and the art of getting gigs before sitting down with host McPartland for "These Foolish Things."
Jazz pianist Art Hodes (1904 – 1993) was born in Ukraine and moved to the United States with his family as a baby. While he got his start as a musician in Chicago, his big break came when he moved to New York in 1938 and played with Joe Marsala and Mezz Mezzrow. In the 1950s, he returned to Chicago, where he remained active on the jazz scene as a performer, educator, and writer. On this 1984 Piano Jazz, Hodes plays "St. Louis Blues" and "Someone to Watch Over Me."
Trumpeter and cornetist Ruby Braff (1927– 2003) drew his style from the influences of Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Throughout the 1950s, he was in demand in New York as a Dixieland and swing player, and he went on to form a quartet with guitarist George Barnes and other small-group settings later in his career. On this 1992 Piano Jazz, Braff joins McPartland for duets of "Thou Swell" and "Blue and Sentimental" as well as an added tune "White Christmas" recorded during the session but not used in the original program.
On this 2006 Piano Jazz Holiday Special, host Marian McPartland takes a look back at some favorite Christmas and holiday songs performed on the show throughout the years. Melissa Walker sings "The Moon on Christmas Eve," written by Kathryn Williams and Vana Gerig, who stop by to talk about the song's genesis. Pianist Cleo Brown evokes the style of Duke Ellington as she plays the traditional Christmas hymn "Silent Night."