Marian McPartland. Andrew Lepley/Redferns
Marian McPartland Trio
"The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" (H. Arlen, T. Koehler)
"Twilight World" (M. McPartland, J. Mercer)
Jon Weber, solo
"Truckin' " (R. Blume, T. Koehler)
Nicholas Payton, Ken Poplowski
"Royal Garden Blues" (C. Williams, S. Williams)
Helen Sung, Chris Potter
"All the Things You Are" (O. Hammerstein, J. Kern)
Helen Sung, solo
"Nice Work If You Can Get It" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin)
Marian McPartland Trio
"Willow Weep for Me" (A. Ronell)
"Body and Soul" (E. Heyman, R. Sour, F. Eyton, J. Green)
All songs backed by bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and drummer Glenn Davis, unless otherwise noted.
Piano Jazz returns to Dizzy's Club Coca Cola for an encore session with Marian McPartland and friends, following the highly successful 30th anniversary celebration recorded just six months earlier. A variety of Piano Jazz friends perform a set of traditional New Orleans-flavored tunes and standards, as well as one of McPartland's own compositions.
The set opens with a Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler standard, "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," featuring McPartland at the piano, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi, drummer Glenn Davis and clarinetist Ken Peplowski. The rhythm section swings as Peplowski takes a tasty solo, dropping in a few bars of furious notes on the original jazz solo reed of choice; McPartland follows with her own swinging piano solo, which sounds as fresh as it did the day she first learned the tune.
At Dizzy's, the performers also celebrated Marian McPartland the composer. Along with Mazzaroppi and Davis, she accompanies the sultry-voiced Karrin Allyson in "Twilight World." McPartland's music, set to words provided by none other than Johnny Mercer, celebrates the magical, interstitial period between night and day, and accurately reflects the after-hours nature of the jazz club, which comes alive just as the workaday world is retiring for the evening.
Guest host Jon Weber follows with his masterful solo piano take on a playful Harlem stride tune, "Truckin'." The tempo builds to the furious pace of a freight hauler on a steep downhill grade, but Weber is masterful behind the wheel and keeps the tune under control, stopping on a dime.
"Royal Garden Blues," another traditional piece, was a favorite of Marian McPartland's late husband, trumpeter and singer Jimmy McPartland. And he would be proud of this rhythm section, along with trumpeter Nicholas Payton and clarinetist Ken Poplowski. The two-horn arrangement in this tune allows the band to cook up some authentic New Orleans-style counterpoint; Payton and Poplowski each play separate solo lines simultaneously, then stroll through the melody together before departing again. It's a fitting reminder of jazz's roots: complex and improvised, yet melodic and almost classical.
Pianist Helen Sung takes over piano duties from McPartland for "All the Things You Are," with Chris Potter joining in on sax for a soaring solo, along with the other rhythm players in this, the standard of jazz standards. Though it's a well-known tune, many listeners may not know that it was originally featured in an all-but-forgotten Oscar Hammerstein/Jerome Kern musical, Very Warm for May.
After a wonderful Helen Sung solo performance of "Nice Work If You Can Get It," McPartland returns to the piano bench for "Willow Weep for Me." She does a bit of solo stretching before the melody takes hold and Davis and Mazzaroppi join in. The ensuing tune is a rich, soulful rendition of this ballad.
This magical evening comes to a close with the standard "Body and Soul." Nicholas Payton returns to the bandstand with a melancholy, Chet Baker-tinged trumpet performance, and McPartland gives an elegant piano solo. Payton comes back in and holds the final note high and long to end this wonderful return to one of the world's great jazz rooms on Piano Jazz.
Originally recorded Sept. 15, 2009.