Marian McPartland Dies: Renowned Jazz Pianist, NPR Host Was 95 (Video)

Image: Marian McPartland Dies: Renowned Jazz Pianist, NPR Host Was 95 (Video)

Wednesday, 21 Aug 2013 01:15 PM

By Ken Mandel

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Marian McPartland, a world-renowned jazz pianist and host of an internationally syndicated National Public Radio show for more than 40 years, has died at age 95.

The host of "Marion McPartland's Piano Jazz" died of natural causes Tuesday night at her Port Washington home on Long Island, N.Y., NPR said on its website.

Urgent: Should Obamacare be Repealed? Vote Here Now

On her longtime program, McPartland combined conversation and duet performances that reached millions of listeners, and she interviewed most of the major jazz musicians of the post-WWII era. In addition to her soothing interview style, she was also an accomplished jazz pianist, and often performed on the show, backing musicians that included Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, Benny Goodman, Norah Jones, and Elvis Costello.

She began hosting the show in 1979, and it went on to become the longest-running cultural program of its kind. She ended her run as host in 2010, three years after her induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007.

Born Margaret Marian Turner on March 20, 1918, she grew up in Bromley, England, and was playing classical piano by ear at age 3, after she heard her mother play. She studied at London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She left in her third year to perform with a touring vaudeville act. Her parents didn't approve.

While touring with in jazz troupe during World War II, she met her husband, cornetist Jimmy McPartland, who was in a U.S.O. group after landing in Normandy. They were married in 1945, though they eventually divorced. He died in 1991.

She recorded more than 50 albums and performed across the country. She also wrote articles and essays about her craft. In one, she wrote about her experiences trying to break into the industry as a woman in the '50s.

"Once a man stood at the bar watching me intently, and when the set was finished he came over and said with a smile, 'You know, you can't be a respectable woman the way you play piano,'" McPartland wrote. "For some reason or another, this struck me as a great compliment."

McPartland played well into her 80s, and influenced many young pianists. One of them, Geri Allen, told NPR that she hears something soothing to musicians when she listens to "Piano Jazz."

"It's a very personal exchange that only happens to musicians on the bandstand," Allen said. "But to have it opened up to the fans, I think it helps to create even more of an understanding [of] what that whole experience of improvising is about."

When asked once how she accomplished this, McPartland said: "You have to love what you do."

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now

Related stories:

George Duke, Jazz Keyboardist Who Played With Greats, Dies at 67

An American Jazz Icon, Pianist Dave Brubeck, Dead at 91

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

Kentucky Infant Found Safe After Carjacking, Amber Alert

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 16:09 PM

A 20-day-old infant who was stolen during a Kentucky carjacking was found safe a little more than two hours after the ca . . .

Justin Bieber Instagram Followers Drop by 3.5M in Fake Account Purge

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 15:46 PM

Justin Bieber lost 3.5 million Instagram followers in what's being called the "Instagram Rapture," a move by the social  . . .

'American Sniper': Reviews Mixed for Eastwood's Chris Kyle Biopic

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 15:30 PM

"American Sniper" opens in theaters Dec. 25, and the Bradley Cooper movie about a military sniper is receiving mixed rev . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved