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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz With Brad Mehldau

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Album Review

Red Richards was one of the least-known guests on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio show but he definitely deserved to be there. A veteran of the swing era who was three days short of his 79th birthday at the time of the show, Richards in the mid-'90s is still a strong prebop pianist. The show gave him a rare chance for wider exposure and he sounds in top form on four solos (including Willie "The Lion" Smith's "Echoes of Spring" and "Someday You'll Be Sorry"). McPartland takes two ballads ("A Hundred Years from Today" and "The Talk of the Town") as her features and best of all are their three piano duets: "Tangerine," "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now" and "Runnin' Wild." Since Red Richards has been underrated through the decades, his conversations with McPartland are full of rarely-heard anectodes and fresh material. Recommended.


Born: March 20, 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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