Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:00:00 -0400This 2003 Piano Jazz with guest Sir Roland Hanna (1932 – 2002) was recorded before a live audience at the 2002 Tanglewood Jazz Festival. A subtle and insightful pianist, he was a superb two piano partner, as evidenced when he and McPartland get together for "Blues in the Closet." In this session, Hanna uses his solid sense of rhythm as a springboard into exciting explorations of melody and harmony. He shows off his skill as a composer with his "Portrait of John Lewis."
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 12:00:00 -0400Born in Sophia, Bulgaria, Mario Grigorov studied classical music until he fell in love with jazz. As a child his parents performed in the Sophia Symphony Orchestra before moving to Iran, where his father played in the Shah's symphony orchestra. Grigorov continued to study music intensively as his family moved to Austria and Australia before he settled in the United States in 1992. On this 1995 Piano Jazz, Grigorov's stunning originality is evident on his own "Lost City." He and McPartland duet on Jobim's "Wave."
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 12:00:00 -0400Bassist Esperanza Spalding is one of the most talked about artists in jazz today. She scored a surprise win for Best New Artist at the 2011 Grammy Awards and went on to win three additional Grammy Awards. On this Piano Jazz from 2008, bassist and vocalist Spalding brings her neo-soul style to a set of standards with the aid of pianist Leo Genovese. McPartland's piano provides a perfect accompaniment to Spalding's bass and vocals in Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss."
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 12:51:50 -0400Roy Kral (1921 – 2002) was working in Chicago with the George Davis Quartet when he met Jackie Cain (1928 – 2014). They formed a duo, Jackie and Roy, and the rest is history. The vocal and piano duo blended witty lyrics and unusual melodies with a light modern jazz feeling. These dear friends of McPartland's were her guests for Piano Jazz in 1992. A sophisticated and charming pair, the husband and wife team play Alec Wilder's "While We Were Young" and join McPartland for a trio of "Joy Spring."
Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:24:34 -0400At one time, pianist Jesus "Chucho" Valdés was banned from performing in the United States. Today, he enjoys performing and teaching here as well as in his native Cuba. Valdés is a world-class innovator in Latin jazz. In 1973 he founded Irakere, a group that introduced a new fusion of African traditional music with Cuban jazz. On this Piano Jazz from 2000, Valdés and host McPartland share a love of pianist Bill Evans, and in tribute they create their version of "Waltz for Debby." Valdés treats listeners to his composition "Claudia."
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:35:49 -0400Grammy and Emmy Award-winning conductor, pianist, composer, and arranger Lee Musiker has long worked with leading jazz, classical, pop, and Broadway performers. He conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra in the US and Canada. He has also worked as a music director for top artists, and his work can be heard on the soundtracks of Hollywood films. Musiker brings a wealth of knowledge to this 2005 Piano Jazz, performing "Fascinating Rhythm" with McPartland.
Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:57:10 -0400Vibraphonist Cecilia Smith is a leading proponent of the four-mallet technique. She has performed at nightclubs, concert halls, and festivals all over the world and collaborated with greats such as Mulgrew Miller, Cecil Bridgewater, and Randy Weston. On this Piano Jazz from 2000, she and McPartland combine talents in a rendition of "Old Devil Moon." Smith solos on her "Lullaby for Miles and Bill" and a piece dedicated to her mother, "Mourning Before Grace."
Tue, 06 Sep 2016 15:51:25 -0400Leonard Feather (1914 – 1994) was hailed as "the Dean of Jazz Journalists." He critiqued artists for Downbeat, Melody Maker, Wire, and his own weekly syndicated column for the Los Angeles Times. He authored works including The Jazz Years: Ear Witness to an Era and The Encyclopedia of Jazz. Feather also played piano and composed works recorded by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Sarah Vaughan, to name a few. On this 1988 Piano Jazz, he solos on "Lost in the Stars" and an original "Blues Medley."
Tue, 30 Aug 2016 15:53:30 -0400Oliver Jones is one of Canada's premiere pianists and winner of the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award. As a child he took lessons with Daisy Peterson Sweeney, Oscar Peterson's sister. With a long career as a performer, composer, and educator, Jones is an important player in the international jazz piano scene. Piano Jazz celebrates Jones' 82nd birthday with this session from 1990. His music speaks for itself as he plays his own tune "Jordio." Then McPartland and Jones say it all with "Three Little Words."
Tue, 16 Aug 2016 14:02:23 -0400Vocalist Norah Jones has a smoky, sweet voice that makes standards sound not only revived, but completely new. Her style branches out into the realms of folk, country and western, soul, pop, and jazz. In 2003, the year she was McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz, she won her first Grammy Awards for her debut album, Come Away with Me. Jones brings her warm vocals to Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You," and McPartland and Jones kick off a "Beautiful Friendship."