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Remembering NPR host and jazz musician Marian McPartland

Marian McPartland interviewing Ramsey Lewis on her radio show
Marian McPartland interviewing Ramsey Lewis on her radio show "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz."
Melisa Goh/Creative Commons

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Marian McPartland, renowned jazz pianist and the host of the long-running National Public Radio show “Piano Jazz” passed away Tuesday at her home in Port Washington, N.Y. She was 95.

McPartland was born in Slough, England. Her love for the piano was instant and she was a natural at it. McPartland told Larry in a 2004 interview that she basically sat down at the instrument at the age of three—and just started playing.  She developed a passion for jazz , which eventually took her to the United States, where she met, played with, and later married Chicago cornetist Jimmy McPartland. With the encouragement of her husband, McPartland started her own trio and had a 8-year residency at the Hickory House, a New York City jazz club.

McPartland made her foray into public radio in 1964, when she launched a weekly radio show devoted to jazz on a New York City station. That show was a forerunner of sorts to “Radio Jazz” on NPR, which aired between 1978 and 2011, when she stepped down from the job. In addition to countless interviews with fellow musicians, McPartland recorded over 50 jazz albums.

John Clayton, bassist and co-leader/Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

Bill Cunliffe, jazz pianist who has appeared on Piano Jazz