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Live At Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 9

Marian McPartland

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Album Review

Marian McPartland has become a jazz legend over several decades and this captivating solo concert has something for everyone. Whether it's her jaunty opener "This Time the Dream's On Me," the deliberate somber take of "Willow Weep for Me," or her thunderous performance of her "Theme From Piano Jazz" (usually heard only as an incomplete snippet on her long-running NPR series), her chops are never in question. A highlight is Duke Ellington's "Clothed Woman," a piece rarely performed even by its composer. McPartland slowly unveils its shrouds, gliding through a maze of dramatic chords, joyous stride piano and repetitious vamps with a veteran's confidence (she played it with Ellington in the audience during her long run at the Hickory House in the 1950s). The CD closes with "I'll Be Around," a warm tribute to her good friend and the song's composer, the late Alec Wilder. It's a shame that this superb concert wasn't captured on video as well in order for the rest of us to catch her playfulness at the piano, her head thrown back with laughter, with her witty introductions to each piece (which are unfortunately edited out of the CD). This performance not only ranks with the best of the Maybeck solo series, but it should be considered as one of the best solo concerts ever to be released.

Biography

Born: 21 March 1918 in Slough, Berkshire, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Marian McPartland became famous for hosting her Piano Jazz radio program beginning in 1978, but she was a well-respected pianist decades before. She played in a four-piano vaudeville act in England and performed on the European continent for the troops during World War II. In Belgium in 1944, she met cornetist Jimmy McPartland and they soon married. Marian moved with her husband to the United States in 1946, where she sometimes played with him even though her style was more modern than his Dixieland-oriented...
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Live At Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 9, Marian McPartland
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