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Marian McPartland

( b. Mar 20, 1918 Windsor, ENGLAND - d. Aug 20, 2013 Port Washington, New York, USA ) Female

McPartland was the genteel Englishwoman who became a fixture of the American jazz scene as a pianist and, later in life, as the host of the internationally syndicated radio show “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz".

Ms. McPartland was a gifted musician but an unlikely candidate for jazz stardom. She recalled in a 1998 interview for National Public Radio that shortly after she arrived in the United States in 1946, the influential jazz critic Leonard Feather, who himself was born in England and who began his career as a pianist, said, “Oh, she’ll never make it: she’s English, white and a woman.”

By 1958, she was well enough known to be included in Art Kane’s famous Esquire magazine group photograph of jazz musicians, the subject of Jean Bach’s acclaimed 1994 documentary, “A Great Day in Harlem.” One of the few women in the picture, she stood next to one of the few others, her friend and fellow pianist Mary Lou Williams.

But Ms. McPartland’s contributions to jazz were not limited to her piano playing. An enthusiastic and articulate spokeswoman for the music, she lectured at schools and colleges and wrote for Down Beat, Melody Maker and other publications. Most notably, for more than 30 years her “Piano Jazz” was one of the most popular jazz shows ever heard on the radio.The show made its debut on NPR in 1979, with Mary Lou Williams as the first guest.

As its title suggests, “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz” was originally a show about piano players. But the guest list eventually came to include vocalists, among them Mel Tormé, Tony Bennett and even Willie Nelson, and ultimately trumpeters, saxophonists and other instrumentalists.

Ms. McPartland recorded her last show in September 2010, although she did not officially step down as host until November 2011; “Piano Jazz” has continued with reruns and guest hosts.

Source: New York Times obituary.

ProductionsDate of Productions
The Stitch in Time
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Music arranged by Marian McPartland
Never Officially Opened - Jan 06, 1981
Find out where Marian McPartland and are credited together