Keyboardist, composer, arranger and bandleader Clare Fischer was known for his versatile and deft touch with everything from classical to jazz to Latin and Brazilian music. He began his career after earning his Master's degree in composition from Michigan State University, where he worked as a pianist and conductor for the vocal group The Hi-Lo's. After working with The Hi-Lo's for five years, he went on to work with Dizzy Gillespie and Donald Byrd.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 9:54 am
By David Lyon
Credit Matteo Trisolini
Singer-songwriter Kate McGarry has traveled many musical paths, from Celtic music to swing and various genres in between. That ecumenical outlook on music began early in her childhood. Growing up among nine brothers and sisters, she heard a variety of pop music (the Beatles, Earth Wind and Fire, etc.) but she also recalls family outings to hear live Celtic music groups performing at a local Irish pub.
On this episode of Piano Jazz recorded in 1994, legendary musical theatre composer Stephen Sondheim is Marian McPartland's guest. They perform and discuss selections from his extensive catalog, including "Anyone Can Whistle," "Old Friends" and "Send in the Clowns." Sondheim sings and plays piano on "I Wish I Could Forget."
Piano Jazzcelebrates Marian McPartland the composer with a set of selected performances by McPartland and her guests, including a few surprise arrangements. She performs solo in "Silent Pool," "Melancholy Mood" and a few of her famous musical portraits.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 10:34 am
Credit Courtesy of the artist
Pianist John Lewis was a founding member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, whose original members also included vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke. Lewis was musical director of the MJQ, and many of his compositions have become well-burnished standards.
This week, Piano Jazz celebrates the season with a set of holiday favorites, as well as some surprises never heard on the program before. Guest host Michael Feinstein performs and presents tunes from the Piano Jazz archive, as well as some treasures from his own extensive collection of recordings by the masters of American popular song.
Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 3:54 pm
Clark Terry plays the trumpet and flugelhorn, sings and composes — that's what he's done for more than 60 years. His earliest band experience was on the bugle with the Tom Powell Drum and Bugle Corps. In high school, he took up the valve trombone. Prior to entering the service, he played riverboat jobs in St. Louis, and then was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station from 1942 to 1945.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 1:30 pm
Pianist Randy Weston recently returned to Piano Jazz for a new session with host Marian McPartland. Weston got his start playing with Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and Kenny Dorham in the late 1940s and '50s, and won New Star Pianist in the 1955 Downbeat poll. By the end of that decade, Weston was inspired by the burgeoning civil rights movement in the U.S. and the independence movement among African nations.
Piano Jazz celebrates the late, great Jimmy McPartland: early jazz cornetist, singer, and the husband and mentor of host Marian McPartland. This week's program features highlights from Jimmy McPartland's 1990 guest appearance on Piano Jazz, and a centennial celebration of his birth from the 2007 JVC Jazz Festival.
Pianist and Nashville mainstay Beegie Adair has worked with the best country bands in Music City USA, including a three-year stint on The Johnny Cash Show. But on this week's episode of Piano Jazz, she swings through her deep knowledge of jazz and standards.
On this Piano Jazz, singer Sheila Jordan sits down with guest host Jon Weber to talk about her early career in Detroit, her bebop vocal group — Skeeter, Mitch and Jean (she was Jean) — and chasing Charlie Parker (whom she calls her "big brother") from gig to gig.
On this week's Piano Jazz, guest host and pianist Bill Charlap is joined by Randy Brecker and his band — Brecker's wife, Ada Rovatti, tenor saxophone; Jill McCarron, piano; Steve Laspina, bass; and Steve Johns, drums.
Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 1:20 pm
Credit Thien V via Flickr
Critics and fans have used a host of words to describe the compositions of this week's guest, composer/pianist Matthew Shipp. The Wilmington, Del., native's music has been called inventive, free, challenging, rich, tapestry-like and playful. But the most common descriptor is "unique" — a great word to describe this session of Piano Jazz.
At the beginning of the session he tells Marian McPartland, "I like to be felt. If I'm successful ... it hits people on many different levels."
In the 1940s, Ohio native Bud Shank was drawn to the music of the big bands — he cut his teeth playing for Charlie Barnett and Stan Kenton. In the late 1950s and early '60s he began a successful career as a studio musician and a long tenure with his group called the LA Four.
Seventy years after Django Reinhardt's Quintette du Hot Club de France fused Gypsy guitar with the jazz of the day, a new "Hot Club" has emerged in the Motor City. The Hot Club of Detroit puts a modern spin on the Gypsy-jazz tradition, with Evan Perri on lead guitar, Julien Labro on accordion, Carl Cafagna on soprano and tenor sax, Paul Brady on rhythm guitar and Andrew Kratzat on bass.
Over the years, jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton has gained a reputation as a talent scout. He spotted a young guitarist named Pat Metheny playing at a Kansas jazz festival back in the '70s. Most recently, Burton has introduced another guitarist to the jazz world, Julian Lage.
Drummer, music educator and band leader Sherrie Maricle is known for leading her all-female big band, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra. But their full, explosive sound does not require the entire orchestra, as Maricle demonstrates on Piano Jazz with a scaled-down, trio version of DIVA featuring Noriko Ueda on bass, Tomoko Ohno on piano and Maricle on drums.
The annual recording of Piano Jazz at the 2008 Tanglewood Jazz festival fell nearly halfway between two important milestones — Marian McPartland's 90th birthday, celebrated in March of 2008, and the 30th Anniversary of Piano Jazz, which we celebrate in 2009. It was truly an extravagant concert, as three wonderful performers took their turns on stage with McPartland.
Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 4:53 pm
By David Lyon
Credit Courtesy of the artist
It's a rare thing to have three pianists at three pianos in one studio. But given the recent marriage of keyboard masters Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, Marian McPartland thought it was a perfect opportunity to expand the Piano Jazz format with two of today's most gifted players as her guests.
Robin Meloy Goldsby may have been destined for show business. She had the requisite musical roots –- her father, Bob Rawsthorne, played drums for the PBS program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. She also had the early childhood experiences: Through her dad's involvement in Pittsburgh show business, she had the opportunity to act and play piano in various local productions.
Like many artists of his generation, singer Ed Reed saw his career interrupted by drug use and incarceration. JazzTimes magazine recently ran a piece on the Narcotic Farm, a prison for addicts in Lexington, Ky., known for the jazz players who performed behind bars. San Quentin, where Reed did his time, also hosted some notorious jazz players, including Art Pepper, Frank Butler and Frank Morgan.
On this episode of Piano Jazz, composer and keyboardist Herbie Hancock stops by in a program recorded in 1987. The ever-inventive Hancock sticks with the acoustic piano for this set of solos and duets with host Marian McPartland. Hancock performs a mix of his originals — "Dolphin Dance" and "Still Time" — and standards including "Limehouse Blues," "It Never Entered My Mind" and "That Old Black Magic."
Bobby Broom was born in Harlem on January 18, 1961 and grew up on Manhattan's Upper West Side. He didn't begin playing guitar until age 12 and his first lessons focused on folk music. A year later, Broom began studying with a jazz guitar teacher named, Jimmy Carter. Though Carter encouraged his student to listen to jazz, Broom was more interested in the pop hits of the day from Earth Wind and Fire and Kool and The Gang.