St. Joseph's Villa school for disadvantaged children - 1975
|Birth name||Margaret Marian Turner|
|Born||March 20, 1918|
|Origin||Slough, England, UK|
|Associated acts||Jimmy McPartland|
|Baldwin SF10 Artist Grand |
Marian Turner was a musical prodigy from the time she could sit at the piano, about the age of three who studied classical music, and the violin, in addition to the piano.
She pursued classical studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Much to the dismay of her family, she developed a love for American jazz and musicians such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Mary Lou Williams, and many others. In 1938, despite her family's efforts to keep her at Guildhall, Marian left to join Billy Mayerl's Claviers, a four-piano vaudeville act, performing under the stage name of Marian Page. The group toured throughout Europe during World War II, entertaining Allied troops.
After the war, they moved to Chicago to be near Jimmy's family. Then, in 1949, the McPartland's settled in Manhattan living in an apartment in the same building as the Nordstrom Sisters. With Jimmy's help and encouragement, Marian started her own trio which enjoyed a long residency at the New York City jazz nightclub, the Hickory House, during 1952-1960. The drummer Joe Morello was a member of the group until he departed to join Dave Brubeck's Quartet. She also played at The Embers.
After many years of recording for labels such as Capitol, Savoy, Argo, Sesac, Time, and Dot, in 1969 she founded her own record label, Halcyon Records, before having a long association with the Concord Jazz label.
In 1964, Marian McPartland launched a new venture on WBAI-FM (New York City), conducting a weekly radio program that featured recordings and interviews with guests. Pacifica Radio's West Coast stations also carried this series, which paved the way for Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, a National Public Radio series that began on June 4, 1978. It is the longest-running cultural program on NPR as well as being the longest-running jazz program ever produced on public radio.
Several programs in the new series, which features McPartland at the keyboard with guest performers (usually pianists), have been released on CD by the Concord Records label. McPartland celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the NPR series with a live taping at the Kennedy Center for which Peter Cincotti was the guest.
Marian was awarded a Grammy in 2004, a Trustees' Lifetime Achievement Award, for her work as an educator, writer, and host of NPR Radio's long-running Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. Although a master at adapting to her guest's musical styles and having a well-known affinity for beautiful and harmonically-rich ballads, she also has recorded many tunes of her own. Her compositions include "Ambiance", "There'll Be Other Times", "With You In Mind", "Twilight World", and "In the Days of Our Love".
McPartland's encyclopedic knowledge of jazz standards, highly musical ear, involvement in over 60 years of evolving jazz styles, and rich experience blending with radio guests has led to a musical style that has been described as: "flexible and complex, and almost impossible to pigeonhole". She is known as a harmonically and rhythmically complex and inventive improviser: "She was never content to be in one place, and always kept improving. She has great ears and great harmonics. Because of her ear, she can go into two or three different keys in a tune and shift with no problem."