(Soundbite of music)


Pianist Marian McPartland celebrates her 90th birthday later this month. She's given us the gift of a new recording. You're hearing the title track from "Twilight World," which the Concord Jazz label will release on Tuesday. Mrs. McPartland still continues to record her public radio show, Piano Jazz. Her energy, talent, and sense of humor show no sign of abating after nine decades. We had the pleasure of her company in 1998. She was seated at the piano in Studio 4A and she talked about her lifelong love affair with the instruments.

Mrs. MARIAN McPARTLAND (Jazz Artist): Actually, I had played piano by ear from the age of about 3, 'cause my mother played Chopin mostly and that's a thing I remember learning was the Chopin Waltz, in fact this one.

(Soundbite of Chopin Waltz)

Mrs. McPARTLAND: Et cetera.


Mrs. McPARTLAND: And even while I was studying at the Guildhall School of Music, I was really more into jazz. I don't think there was any hope of my doing anything else but being a jazz person much to the horror of my family.

HANSEN: Yeah, they didn't like it at all that you were for…

Mrs. McPARTLAND: No, but like, you know, I don't blame them, but at the time my mother said, Oh, you'll come to no good, you'll marry a musician and live in an attic, which of course, that did happen.

HANSEN: I didn't know you and Jimmy McPartland lived in an attic.

Mrs. McPARTLAND: Well, it wasn't really an attic, it was sort of a one-room apartment type thing in Chicago.


Mrs. McPARTLAND: You know, we graduated to better things after a while.

HANSEN: I have something that may bring back some memories for you. Do you remember this album?

Mrs. McPARTLAND: Oh my god. You know, I don't even own that. That's an LP from the Hickory House.

HANSEN: Mm-hmm. You tell some great stories in the liar notes about the conditions that you would play in under…

Mrs. McPARTLAND: Oh yeah.

HANSEN: …at the Hickory House. Now, I have to ask you this. This is a place that was famous for its steaks…

Mrs. McPARTLAND: Right.

HANSEN: …that you know, cooked over hickory logs.

Mrs. McPARTLAND: Right.

HANSEN: The spotlight on the meat was brighter than the spotlight on you guys?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mrs. McPARTLAND: Well, I know it. I said to the owner. Why don't you put that light out and put some light on the other meat? And he didn't have much of a sense of humor and he just growled.

HANSEN: Marian McPartland at the piano for an interview on this program in 1998. On Tuesday, her new CD, "Twilight World" will be released on the Concord Jazz label. Later this month, she celebrates her 90th birthday. Happy birthday, Marian.

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