NEA Jazz Master, Marian McPartland, has been one of the most important broadcasters in the history of jazz. As a distinctive piano stylist and composer, she has been a respected figure on the American jazz scene for 60 years. Born in Slough, McPartland’s first professional experience with a novelty group took her into Europe during the Scond World War entertaining Allied troops. It was here that she met Chicago cornettist Jimmy McPartland and they soon married, moving to USA after the war. A residency at the Hickory House from 1952 to 1960 with her own trio featuring drummer Joe Morello established her as a force to be reckoned with. In 1978, McPartland was to make her first recording of Piano Jazz for NPR with her hero, Mary Lou Williams. The series would become the longest-running jazz performance programme in US broadcasting history and has featured virtually every significant jazz US jazz musician including Eubie Blake, Teddy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Keith Jarrett and more recently musicians from other genres Norah Jones and Elvis Costello. Still performing and broadcasting into her 90s, McPartland has only recently slowed down due to illness.
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