November 28, 1997 |
A picture is worth a mere thousand words. But A Great Day in Harlem, a moving picture about the making of a 1958 photograph of all the living jazz greats, is worth a million stories. When Esquire photographer Art Kane assembled jazz legends one Sunday morning in front of a Harlem brownstone, he didn't realize he was calling a historic convention. As with the best jazz, Kane made the most of serendipity and improvisation, and the documentary inspired by his photo is affectionate, gossipy - and it swings.
June 16, 1995 |
Many family reunions are tense affairs where there's more unraveling than reveling to be had. Not so with the jazz family reunion in A Great Day in Harlem, an affectionate, gossipy and upbeat documentary celebrating Art Kane's 1958 photograph of 57 jazz greats assembled outside a Harlem brownstone. A movie about the making of a still photograph? You bet. And it swings. Why was Count Basie sitting on the curb with the neighborhood children? Why did Thelonious Monk wear a light-colored jacket and sidle up to Marian McPartland?
June 26, 1998 |
In March, Marian McPartland celebrated her 80th birthday in style - she starred in a concert with a bunch of friends at New York's Town Hall. Billy Taylor, Herbie Mann, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Lewis Nash, Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, Jacky Terrasson and Grady Tate were among the attendees. And like her popular National Public Radio series, "Piano Jazz," much of what McPartland performed was in duet configurations. So this helped set the stage for the release of her new CD, "Just Friends," with McPartland in piano duet settings with Geri Allen, Dave Brubeck, Gene Harris, Renee Rosnes, George Shearing and Flanagan.
April 19, 1993 |
Without words, pianist McCoy Tyner sat at the piano at the Keswick Theatre Saturday night and plunged into a kaleidoscopic take of Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays. " Tyner, who draws an incredibly big sound out of the piano's 88 keys, fluttered the melody like a pile of driven leaves and generated some searing heat with his solo, before taking the volume down for some soft repose and a gentle exit. Before the night was over, Tyner had ripped through "Giant Steps," written by John Coltrane, "my former boss," as Tyner put it. And he fashioned some sweet duets with the charming Marian McPartland, who performed her own solo set before Tyner's and shared the bill with him at the nearly full theater.
December 3, 2001 |
The trouble with becoming an institution, as Marian McPartland surely has, is that people stop listening to who you are as an artist. Fans tend to focus on what the jazz pianist has meant to the field, her staying power (she was born in 1920, though it's not clear that the jazz world ever existed without her in it), and that self-effacing charm. The case of McPartland, who performed Friday night at the Convention Center under the auspices of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, is made even more complicated by the astonishing company the English-born artist has kept.
April 20, 1987 |
Composer/pianist Herbie Hancock gets up close and personal with WHYY's (91/FM) Marian McPartland on her show "Radio Times," as they share both a keyboard and conversation today at 3 p.m. Hancock wrote some of the score for the highly acclaimed movie" 'Round Midnight," the story of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon. If Hancock is as jovial and personable on McPartland's show as he is on others, it should make for some interesting listening. Sportscaster Steve Fredericks at WCAU (1210/AM)
May 9, 1997 |
Marian McPartland is a fixture on the American jazz scene, but she never stopped being a subject of the Queen. She's been living in this country since after World War II, still as a British citizen. "I had the [naturalization] papers, and was ready to sign them, but in there was a line, I think, that said, 'If there was a war, would you take up arms against your [old] country?' I . . . put the papers away. It doesn't matter if I am a citizen or not. I'm paying hefty taxes and have a green card.
April 16, 1993 |
You say there's been a shortage of big-time jazz in the city lately? Well, the roster of talent due in the area starting tonight and continuing into next week may start to make amends. Wynton Marsalis, McCoy Tyner, Marian McPartland, Stanley Clarke, John Pizzarelli, Charnett Moffett, the Willem Brueker Kollektief and, last but hardly least, Nina Simone. All in one week! The Nina Simone concert could well be one of the jazz events of the year. Wednesday's appearance of the "High Priestess of Soul" at the University of Pennsylvania's Irvine Auditorium will mark her first performance in this area in 14 years.
September 18, 1987 |
My kaffee klatsch with Marian McPartland the other morning was good for double the pleasure - first, Marian the book author, and then Marian the jazz artist, and now I knew why the late Alec Wilder found this spirited Englishwoman such an amiable companion in the boites and ateliers of Manhattan for so many years: Marian listens as well as talks, has no airs whatsoever and is immersed in music up to her eyebrows. Composer Wilder for years had urged pianist McPartland to widen her horizons by taking pen to paper and writing about music and musicians in a form less capsulized than the elegant little informal essays she used to do for Down Beat and other publications.
April 14, 1993 |
Philadelphia's fabulous Shirley Scott will be front and center at the eighth Mellon PSFS Jazz Festival, June 11-20, an area-wide celebration of the music featuring such headliners as Stephane Grappelli, Joe Henderson, Gerry Mulligan, Frank Morgan, Kenny Barron, Gary Burton, the Brecker Brothers, Tuck & Patti, Marian McPartland, Charles Lloyd and many more. Details of the festival were to be announced today at a press briefing at the Mellon Bank Center atrium, 1735 Market St. This year's Mellonfest is dedicated to pianist/organist Scott, who will kick off the 35-event jazz extravaganza at "A Celebration of Shirley Scott" with special guests George Coleman and Mickey Roker at Penn's Landing on Friday evening, June 11. Scott also will lecture on jazz history at the Afro- American Historical and Cultural Museum on June 14 and participate in a benefit program on June 18 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.