Pianist Jason Moran greets Marian McPartland at her 90th-birthday celebration at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.
Marian McPartland's 90th-birthday celebration continues with more one-of-a-kind performances from a special concert at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in Jazz at Lincoln Center.
McPartland and her trio (bassist Gary Mazzaroppi: bass and drummer Glenn Davis) open the second set with a sweetly swinging version of "I'll Remember April," followed by a solo piano version of a tune from her latest CD (Twilight World), called "Blackberry Winter." The song, which has become one of McPartland's signatures, is special to her because it was written by her friend, the composer and music historian Alec Wilder. Wilder always insisted that jazz artists should stay true to the melody, and McPartland follows his admonition, though she does take the tune into several different keys before all is said and done.
Regina Carter is back in set two, joining the trio for "Lady Be Good" before inviting trumpeter Jeremy Pelt on stage for a soulful rendition of "Georgia on My Mind." Carter coaxes notes out of the Southern ether, while the young Pelt sounds equally sweet and reflective. In a playful mood, Carter closes a solo with the melody to "Happy Birthday."
Two of today's piano masters take the stage next in order to pay homage to the birthday girl. Jason Moran performs the rarely heard McPartland composition "Time and Time Again." Piano Jazz alumnus Kenny Barron follows, and he recalls some of his experiences with McPartland before performing "Memories of You" in her honor.
Norah Jones returns in set two for one more ballad, joining McPartland and the trio on "The Nearness of You." The concert concludes with a surprise appearance by the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis. The trumpeter strolled about the stage, bouncing notes off McPartland's piano strings as the two jammed on "All the Things You Are."
As a Web-only exclusive, this page features the surprise performance of the night — the McPartland Trio's take on "Turnaround," written by avant-garde jazz legend Ornette Coleman. It was the bluesiest cut on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sound Grammar. In her rendition, McPartland hit jagged piano chords and abstract figures with an energy that defied her much-celebrated age.