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Marian McPartland
Marian McPartland  Biography
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Biography
The eminent pianist/composer/educator Marian McPartland was born Margaret Marian Turner on March 21, 1918 near Slough, Buckinghamshire in England.

By the age of three she was teaching herself Chopin waltzes by ear, and later received classical training in piano and composition at The Guildhall School of Music in London. Introduced to Jazz by a boyfriend while in her teens, she became enthralled with the exciting new American music. The records of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Benny Goodman and many others drew her into a performing career in Jazz.

In 1944, while traveling around Europe entertaining the Allied troops, she met Chicago cornetist Jimmy McPartland. A year later they married and then moved to the States in 1946. After playing with Jimmy’s quintet for a while, an increasing interest in the Bebop style caused Marian to form her own trio, with her husband’s encouragement and assistance.

With an equal knack for vigorous swing and ballad poignancy, she turned a two week 1952 engagement at New York’s famed Hickory House into a residency of almost ten years. Jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Oscar Peterson were among the many musicians who frequented the club when she was appearing.

After recording for a variety of labels, Marian formed her own Halcyon label to release her own recordings as well as recording a number of other extraordinary pianists, including Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines and Dave McKenna.

In 1978 Marian began hosting her own radio program for National Public Radio and South Carolina Educational Radio: 'Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz.' 'Piano Jazz' is one of the longest running weekly programs on NPR featuring a wide range of guests, from legendary Jazz artists to fledgling Jazz talents. The long list of honors bestowed upon the series includes the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting, a Gabriel Award, and a number of Gold Medals from International Radio Festivals of New York.

A very gifted pianist with a nearly perfect sense of rhythm and a virtually unlimited capacity for intelligent improvisation, Marian has been the recipient of numerous honors. The International Association of Jazz Educators inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1991 the JVC Jazz Festival recognized her with a special on-stage edition of 'Piano Jazz' at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, and she was named the special Guest of Honor for the 1997 'JazzTimes' national convention. She’s also been honored by Yale University, Bates College and Union College.

These days, when not doing her radio show, composing, recording or authoring educational books and articles, Marian tours as both performer and educator. She’s recorded extensively for Concord Jazz, including entire CDs dedicated to the works of important Jazz composers, including Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams and Benny Carter. Her most recent CD, "Just Friends," features duets with other piano greats Tommy Flanagan, Geri Allen, George Shearing, Dave Brubeck, Renee Rosnes and the late Gene Harris. In addition to her many other activities, she has also made a successful crossover into classical music, performing such works as the 'Grieg Piano Concerto,' George Gershwin’s 'Rhapsody in Blue,' and a series of popular songs arranged for piano and orchestra by Robert Farnon. Although relatively little known in the country of her birth, McPartland continues to prove herself to be one of the outstanding pianists in Jazz. A collection of her articles on Jazz, "All In Good Time," was published in 1987.


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