Marian McPartland's 90th-Birthday Concert: Set I

Hear Performances By Norah Jones, Regina Carter And Marian McPartland

Marian McPartland (300)

Marian McPartland celebrated her 90th birthday with some of the jazz elite. hide caption

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Set List

  • Marian McPartland Trio
  • "The Royal Garden Blues" (C. Williams, S. Williams)
  • "Close Your Eyes" (B. Petkere)
  • Karrin Allyson with the McPartland Trio
  • "There'll Be Other Times" (M. McPartland)
  • I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me" (C. Gaskill, J. McHugh)
  • Regina Carter with the McPartland Trio
  • "Come Sunday" (E.K. Ellington)
  • Bill Charlap
  • "Stranger in a Dream" (M. McPartland)
  • Norah Jones with the McPartland Trio
  • "Blame It on My Youth" (Heyman)
  • "Yesterdays" (Harbach/Kern)
  • Jeremy Pelt with the McPartland Trio
  • "Moonlight in Vermont" (Blackburn/Suessdorf )
  • Karrin Allyson, Jeremy Pelt, McPartland Trio
  • "Centerpiece"

On March 19, 2008, Marian McPartland and some of her closest friends took the stage at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, overlooking New York City's Central Park, to celebrate a milestone: McPartland's 90th birthday.

Hear the second set.

Wynton Marsalis, Norah Jones and Regina Carter were just a few of the musicians who joined the Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz host on stage for an unforgettable night of jazz. NPR arts correspondent Lynn Neary hosts two special Piano Jazz programs, featuring exclusive performances from the concert.

In the first set, McPartland opens with a tune dedicated to her late husband, Jimmy McPartland, the Chicago jazz cornetist known for playing such traditional jazz tunes as "Royal Garden Blues." The second tune, Bernice Petkere's "Close Your Eyes," is offered as a tribute to the female musicians and composers who inspired Marian McPartland to forge her own identity in jazz.

That identity includes, of course, swinging pianist, jazz writer, radio host and composer. Set one features several of McPartland's compositions. Singer Karrin Allyson performs a moving version of McPartland's ballad "There'll Be Other Times," while pianist Bill Charlap performs a solo piano rendition of "Stranger in a Dream."

Violinist Regina Carter joins McPartland and her trio — bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and drummer Glenn Davis — for "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me" and a hauntingly beautiful version of "Come Sunday." Carter's amazing technical ability is matched only by her grace and sensitivity.

Norah Jones has been a fan of McPartland's since Jones was a teenager. And McPartland has returned the favor since Jones' first Piano Jazz appearance in 2003. After playing a pair of songs with Jones, the always-spontaneous McPartland asked the young vocalist to sing another: the jazz standard "Yesterdays," popularized by Ella Fitzgerald. Jones responded, "I haven't sung that in eight years." Backed by the rest of McPartland's trio, Jones and McPartland crafted an off-the-cuff moment worthy of the historic evening.

McPartland and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt had never met, much less played together, before this night at Dizzy's, but that didn't stop them from getting together for "Moonlight in Vermont." Pelt stayed on stage as McPartland brought back Karrin Allyson for a group improvisation on the bluesy "Centerpiece" to end the set.

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