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Marian McPartland at 86


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My hands look terrible but I can do anything I want to do, so, you know, I just think I'm playing all around with more good taste and not dashing up and down the piano.
A Blue Lake Public Radio interview with jazz great Marian McPartland invariably begins with the subject of Tom Pletcher, the former Montague, MI, area jazz cornetist whose father Stew Pletcher played trumpet with Red Norvo's big band of the 1930's. Tom Pletcher, who now lives in Florida, and pianist Dick Hyman just released If Bix Played Gershwin (Arbors Records) which McPartland mentioned she's heard on the radio. She's appearing at Dick Hyman's 92nd Street "Y" series in New York just before performing in Sutton's Bay as detailed at National Public Radio's "Piano Jazz" web site .

Since Tom Pletcher is an interpreter of the Bix Beiderbecke, Bobby Hackett and Bunny Berigan tradition who can go his own way, Marian knew him through her late husband, trumpeter Jimmy McPartland. They're long time friends. In addition to their friendship, Pletcher underwrote the first "Piano Jazz" broadcasts over Blue Lake Public Radio in 1983; four years after the series began. "Piano Jazz" is still being heard at the same time, 10 a.m. Saturday morning, over Blue Lake Public Radio.

Moreover, a collective of early jazz players featuring Pletcher called "Sons of Bix" opened for a McPartland performance during a 1980's edition of the Blue Lake Jazz Festival. Unfortunately it rained and Blue Lake's Stewart Shell in that era had no extended roof for the audience, so the concert was moved into the summer camp's pole barn cafeteria where an upright spinet piano awaited the Grand Dame of Jazz. Of course, she gathered all the kids around her and made the most of it.

The second time Marian McPartland met Blue Lake Public Radio for an interview was in the mid-1980's when the Marian McPartland Trio played Hope College's Great Performances Series in Holland, MI. Sitting across from each other at a wood library table in the basement of Dimnent Chapel, tape recorder between us, I asked her if she'd ever consider Cecil Taylor for "Piano Jazz."

McPartland shook her bracelets up her arm, "What? And he comes in plays one tune then, "Thank you Cecil," and goodbye?" So I mentioned those solo ballad pieces from the 1970's. She thought about it and mused about Mary Lou Williams' encounter with the avant-garde standard bearer Cecil Taylor.

Well, a few years later, she did it. Cecil Taylor appeared on "Piano Jazz." When we spoke sometime later in the decade I reminded her of that interview at Hope. "Oh, so you're the one," said with that salty laugh. "What did you think of that?" In a sense it was a vindication of Mary Lou Williams musical principles of individuality in improvisation as Marian McPartland and Cecil Taylor created fascinating music together.

In any case, whenever you cross Marian McParland's path she's going to hip you to someone you may never heard before, or haven't heard enough since. And that doesn't mean only "jazz stars." Through the years Chicagoans Judy Roberts and Earma Thompson have come on the radar through her word; or more recently University of Michigan pianist Ellen Rowe, who appeared with McPartland at the Interlochen Arts Academy near Traverse City a few years ago. There's classical pianist Ruth Loredo as well, who teamed up with McPartland and Dick Hyman for a three piano concert the last time McPartland came to West Michigan.

In addition to her concert in Sutton's Bay, McPartland returns to Northern Lower Michigan later this summer for a concert in Petoskey, MI. See www.crookedtree.org .

The following conversation was recorded for broadcast over Blue Lake Public Radio, the fine arts broadcast service of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, on Wednesday, June 30, 2004. McPartland spoke from her home in New York to Blue Lake Public Radio jazz director Lazaro Vega.

Marian McPartland: Well, I'm bringing what I like to call my Chicago rhythm section: They both live there and those are the guys I use when I'm in the mid-west. They're going to drive up to Sutton's Bay. I've never been there. Is it nice?

Lazaro Vega: Heaven on earth, Marian, it's beautiful. Like stepping into a post card.

MM: It's a rather hurried date because two days previously I'll be playing with Dick Hyman at the 92nd Street "Y." Then I have to leave the next day for Sutton's Bay. I like to get up there a day ahead of time. So, anyway, I'm looking forward to it. I guess the guys will drive up at their leisure.

Jim Cox is the bassist, and Charles Braugham is the drummer. He always gets called Charlie Brown, but its B-r-a-u-g-h-a-m.

LV: Oh, Charles Braughm. I've heard of him. He's a very steady player.

MM: He is, he's very steady, and a very nice guy. I really love playing with both of them whenever I'm in Chicago or somewhere near enough to hire them. I think they're going to get a van so they don't have to worry about getting a bass on the airplane: it's always such a drag.

(Ed: At this point the conversation diverges into a discussion of the Sutton's Bay Jazz Festival presenters, Harry and Piper Goldson. See clarinetist Harry Goldson's web site ).

LV: I bet you have a rhythm section on the West Coast and New York.

MM: I do. I have a West Coast rhythm section and a New York rhythm section. I've got them spread out all over the place.

LV: I'm sure it's an honor to play with you, too.

MM: Well, I don't know. It's, um, we've been doing it for quite awhile. I've been working with them for a long time. Anyway, then I'm going out to California later to play at Monterey. And that'll be nice. Then I'll use my other rhythm section! The California one.

LV: Someone told me you're currently in the studio right now. Is that true?

MM: That I'm in the studio? No, I'm not. I'm trying to get the record that I made at my birthday party last year, trying to get that out, and the lawyers are diddling around with it and it probably won't be out until next year. I don't know.

We had a tremendous party at Birdland. We had Norah Jones, Tony Bennett, Phil Woods, Nnenna Freelon, Barbara Carroll, and on and on and on. We had a wonderful time. We're hoping to get this thing out this year but God knows whether we will.

I understand Concord just bought Fantasy. So, they're working with that right now. It's a big deal. The only thing that I can think of that I like that's on Fantasy is the record Bill Evans made with Tony Bennett.

LV: Wasn't Brubeck on Fantasy for a minute? And they own that Original Jazz Classics catalogue.

MM: Years ago he was. They got all that stuff. It put Concord into a better category, I think.

Who knows what's going on in the record business? Boy, I'm just quietly doing my thing, and I hope they'll look around and get my record out.

LV: I hope so, too. What about your record label, Halcyon?

MM: Well, Halcyon is still a valid label. Concord took over some of them. Actually, I put one out myself just for fun. I made a record with Teddi King. Do you ever remember her?

LV: No.

MM: Well, it's a shame: nobody does. Last year at the festival they did a tribute to her, so just for laughs I put out my Halcyon recording of her. Just printed up 3,000 copies and sold them at the festival.

LV: What festival was that?

MM: Part of George Wein's. We did a tribute to Teddi at the Danny Kaye Playhouse. Just part of George Wein's festival that he has every year, you know, the JVC Festival in New York.

This year it's their 50th Anniversary so I'll be playing at Newport, Rhode Island, in that part of the festival.

LV: The Newport Jazz All Stars came through Muskegon this year.

MM: Oh did they? Who were they all-starring this time?

LV: Well, it was Cedar Walton and the band had, boy, Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums and then James Moody and James Carter and Randy Brecker, and Howard Alden. (see review ).

MM: Not a bad group!

LV: That's a big deal, Newport's 50th Anniversary.

MM: It is. So, I'm evidently playing some duets with Renee Rosnes and, Oh! Jason Moran. I love him. Then they couldn't think who to put me with for the third go around so I asked, "Why not George Wein?" (Laughs). He's not the world's greatest pianist, but I think it would lend a touch of something or other to the 50th Anniversary if George and I played a duet.

LV: I think he was kind of an Earl Hines guy, right? His main influence was Earl Hines?

MM: Yes, absolutely. In fact I remember when he had the festival in Nice he had Earl Hines on the roster and Earl Hines and I did a duet. Several duets. I kept thinking I know he's going to call off "Rosetta" in a minute. He did. Luckily it is a tune I like to play.

LV: That's incredible that you played with Fatha Hines. He is one of the great virtuosos of all the music.

MM: Well, I went to South America with him — I was so lucky - with a piano quartet: Earl, Teddy (Wilson), Ellis Larkins and little old me. We went all over South America in the 1970's. I recorded it all on Halcyon.

LV: That's the "Concert in Argentina?"

MM: Yes. Right. You probably have that.

LV: I've heard that one. But I also know there's at least one solo record by Earl Hines on your label that hasn't come out on CD yet, right?

MM: Yes, it's on LP. Well, um, I didn't do anything about it. I probably should have because, what? it was his 100th anniversary or birthday recently, wasn't it?

LV: The thing is the playing he did in the 70's when you were with him is some of the strongest playing of his whole career. I mean, everybody loves "Weatherbird" and the music with Jimmie Noone's band and his own big band; but in the 70's when he was playing solo piano he was one of the most marvelous musicians. He was so creative. For you to have interacted with a guy at the level at that time is something else. Chiaroscuro hasn't brought out the solo records on CD, either, so I think a lot of people don't know that stuff very well, which is too bad because it is some of the great piano music recorded in jazz.

MM: So it's really my duty to put that out! I really should do that. You just gave me an idea. As a matter of fact what we did was have him redo a bunch of tunes that he had done on an earlier record date years before. It's terrible; I can't remember what's on there now. It's downstairs. When we hang up I'm going to go and have a look at it and see what's on it. That's really terrible that I have something that's so valuable and I'm doing nothing with it. Just awful.

LV: Well, you did it once. Just time to bring it around again.

MM: That's right, I should. I should. One of the guy's on the faculty at Eastman - actually, I lent him that record and he was going to do a whole Earl Hines program as part of his teaching ideas at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.. I haven't heard it yet. He was going to tape it for me. He's such a fan of Earl Hines I thought he should borrow that, and I'm going to get it back when I go up there in a few weeks.

LV: That would be Bill Dobbins?

MM: You know we did something so funny, or at least it wasn't funny, it turned out great. (At Eastman) We did a three piano concert and we didn't rehearse or anything. We just picked 8 tunes and we played them. (Laughs). It was amazing. I don't think you could do that with anybody. They would have to be team players. It was me and Harold Danko and Bill Dobbins. Somebody recorded it. It's really not bad when you think we didn't say, 'Well, you take this chorus and you take this chorus.' We just listened to one another and we just did it. I aught to make a copy for you.

LV: I'd love to hear that. That's your favorite way of operating, isn't it?

MM: Well it's one of them, if you get the right people. I mean I love doing it if you get somebody who doesn't want to hog the show like Dorothy Donegan did. I mean, she didn't want to play two pianos; she wanted to play Dorothy Donegan and shove Marian into a corner.

But these guys are so wonderful. Its one of the best experiences I've ever had.

Are you coming to the thing in Sutton's Bay?

LV: Yes, and I'm bringing the whole family.

MM: Oh, wonderful. Well, they should hear some music anyway. I guess they do being around you.

(Ed: The conversation then veered off into life with small children at live music events to which McPartland said, "Well, give them a pair of drum sticks or a tambourine and have them join the band!" Then added, "It's natural that you would have creative kids").

LV: Well, let's talk some more about your music. I noticed Savoy re-issued your classic Hickory House Trio a couple of years ago.

MM: Oh God, I just don't think I was playing very well in those days. (Laughs) I think people buying them - I hope they're not listening too hard. They won't stop putting them out; they keep putting different covers on them and putting out the same old shit, my God.

You know, I've changed since then.

LV: Well, that's what the second part of the question was going to be: how do you think your playing has changed?

MM: Well I think it's become more reasonable. I just think I play better harmony, and I think I take more chances, and I'm not so technically - what was that lovely word you used? 'Adroit'? (Laughs). I've got arthritis in my fingers. In fact I always announce during the concert, 'That number came to you courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation.'

My hands look terrible but I can do anything I want to do, so, you know, I just think I'm playing all around with more good taste and not dashing up and down the piano. I guess I used to listen to all these guys like Bud Powell, and Phineas Newborn. They were great but that was their thing, not mine.

LV: I have to agree with you. Your playing has matured into a sense, like you said, of tastefulness, and of being able to rein in your technique to a musical purpose.

MM: It's not so much reined in (laughing); I just don't think I have any chops! Which is probably good. So if I think of something in my head I don't have to do it. If I can't do I don't do it, I do something else.

LV: The thing is, and Lee Konitz does this, too. When I saw that Hickory House record and I'm looking at the tunes and thinking Wow, she's played a lot of this material for a long time. I mean Lee Konitz has been playing "Stella By Starlight" for 50 years or more.

MM: So have I!

LV: How do you keep that fresh? It seems every time you approach it, especially over the last 20 years or so, you keep finding new things in there. How do pieces that have become so familiar still challenge you?

MM: Well, it's such a beautiful piece that you can change key, and you can change tempo, and you can do it as a medium tempo tune and then you can do it as a dead slow ballad, or if you want to do it as a waltz. I'm not too fond of changing things into waltzes, but sometimes that works.

But mostly the harmony. I love to play in the different keys like B or F sharp, or keys that most people don't play in, because they have a better resonance or something. I'm really not fond of F and C. I just stay away from those if I can.

Anyway, I have no idea what I'll play at Sutton's Bay. Maybe...I just started playing a tune I haven't played for years by John Lewis, "Afternoon In Paris"? I remember I used to play that at the Hickory House, then suddenly I forgot all about it, and I've been sort of digging up some of the old tunes like "Bohemia After Dark" and some of those things that Oscar Pettiford taught me when he used to come and sit in.

LV: I love "Bohemia After Dark."

MM: I do too. I like minor tunes. That's something Mary Lou Williams used to tell me: If you're not feeling right about what you're doing and you play a minor tune it all comes back, falls into place. I don't know if that's true, but I do it. There are so many good minor tunes, like "Yesterdays" and "How Deep Is the Ocean," although that winds up as being a major key.

There are a million good tunes. I started playing more Bill Evans again. Years ago I used to play "Very Early." In fact, he wrote it out for me in one of his excursions when we were both in London. I learned to play it and then, I don't know, I totally forgot it. I had to relearn it all over again. It is such a great tune.

Then we had a show with Sue Mingus so I learned a whole lot of Mingus tunes, including "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" which I had never really learned. That's a great tune. Nobody plays it. Hardly anybody.

LV: Wow. You would think they would because it's jazz standard.

MM: It should be, but it's not.

LV: So when you do "Afternoon In Paris" do you do that contrapuntal line in the beginning with those two lines in the melody?

MM: Not really. I more or less do my own thing on it. I should play more John Lewis tunes. Like "Django" is a nice tune. We had John on "Piano Jazz" two or three times. Such an interesting player. He killed me the way he would swing playing right in the middle of the keyboard, just playing two or three notes, not really getting far out or anything. He was a very interesting player.

LV: Yes, and one of the brilliant composers, arrangers and music director. John Lewis, wow! You know, many people have recently heard your "Piano Jazz" with Ray Charles. That was rebroadcast quite a bit.

MM: I know. I loved being with that guy. He was so sweet. He played quite a lot of piano on that show. I did a couple with him, I guess. I didn't hear it until later. They added another tune in there, which I didn't really notice until afterwards. But, I think Concord is going to put that show on a CD. We've got several "Piano Jazz" shows out on CD. We've got Dizzy and Brubeck, Carmen McRae, Chick, Bill Evans of course, Mary Lou Williams and now Lionel Hampton. I just called Elvis. They want to put his show out on a CD. I didn't hear back from him yet, but I hope I will.

LV: Elvis Costello?

MM: Yes. It was a really good show. He's changing into a sort of straight-ahead ballad singer. We had such a ball. We did mostly standard tunes, which I didn't think he knew, and of course we did his tune "Almost Blue." I love that! I love that tune, and then there was one that Burt Bacharach wrote, "Painted From Memory," that's a nice tune.

Elvis is appearing in Avery Fisher Hall in a couple of weeks with an orchestra. Three different dates. I want to go if I can. He's certainly different from the way he used to be. It's great that he can turn around and do something else. I'm dying to hear him and Diana do something together. In fact I'm trying to get them to do the show together.

LV: Good luck with that. I think everybody would love to hear that.

MM: I think so.

LV: I know they appear in this new movie Terminal 1 with Benny Golson. I don't know if they sing at the same time.

MM: You know, somebody mentioned my name in there, in that film. I don't know too much about the film. People are getting autographs of the people in the (Esquire Magazine photograph known as) A Great Day In Harlem. Somebody said, "I've got everybody except Marian McPartland." I thought how nice to be in a movie with Tom Hanks!

By the way, I got a Grammy, which was a big thrill.

LV: When was that?

MM: That was this year, actually. It was for "Piano Jazz" and for the things I've done in schools with kids. I did not appear at that gross affair they have. You know, they always have the jazz people separate as if they're not quite up to the standard of the big concert. So I didn't go to the big concert. If I had, I guess I would have received the award there, but I didn't want to go to that. So, anyway. Norah Jones made a speech about me so I was sort of featured in the big concert. I was thrilled to have her do it. Oh, and they just showed a picture of me that was terrible. But I was so thrilled to have the Grammy. I think it's wonderful.

LV: Yes it is. Congratulations. I did see Norah Jones announce that on stage, now that you mention it. That's fantastic.

MM: She's so great. I love that chick, and her Mother is equally nice. We've become great friends.

Have you heard of a kid named Taylor Eigsti?

LV: Yes I have. We have one of his records.

MM: Well, don't you think he's good?

LV: Oh yeah.

MM: He's going to be at Tanglewood with us on the 4th of September. I really predict that he'll be a - I don't see anybody that you could call 'great' coming up, but he certainly will be somebody that will be very, very good, I think. He's got a good personality. Very funny kid. We had a wonderful time on "Piano Jazz" so Tanglewood should be a blast.

LV: All right. I really did enjoy that show you did with Norah Jones, that live concert came off well. You know Norah Jones was educated up at Interlochen?

MM: I know.

LV: That's near Sutton's Bay, right up in the same neck of the woods.

MM: I spoke to somebody who mentioned that Interlochen is close by and a lot of people will come over. That will be great....I hope they have a descent piano.

LV: They usually bring one in from Detroit. They usually get a Steinway, or in your case a Baldwin, right?

MM: Baldwin is sort of getting to be a bit funny. I don't know what happened, but a few years ago they suddenly went bankrupt and Gibson bought the whole outfit. Since then they haven't seemed to be doing an awfully good job of providing pianos. In fact, I really don't care. I'd just as soon be on a good Steinway or Yamaha just as well. I better check what they've got up there.

LV: Well, the last two festivals have featured Ramsey Lewis and Ahmad Jamal and they've had Steinways for them. Marian I'm sure you're about ready to wrap up and get on with your day, but, has the Internet drastically changed your life?

MM: I honestly don't know. At the risk of being a fuddy-duddy I don't have a computer; I don't have e-mail; and I really don't need something in my house that I would be sitting in front of for hours. I need to get up and walk around and keep my knees from getting bad, which is what's happening.

So I have a friend who works for me once a week. She's got e-mail, so anybody that must send an e-mail, they send it to her and she faxes it to me. Sounds like a long way of doing things, but it works for me.

I would really hate to have e-mail. It's bad enough with all the mail I get. Every mail has a CD in it from somebody who wants to be on "Piano Jazz." The house is in turmoil with records on every space. In the kitchen and in the dining room is covered with records. I don't have a big enough house to accommodate everything.

I get rid of a lot of them. I mean, people that really shouldn't think they should be on "Piano Jazz": you get singers, bad piano players and it's really hard to keep up with people.

LV: They've got to get back to the woodshed, right?

MM: Well...

LV: (laughs)

MM: Not exactly. A lot of them you just look at them and think how could this person want to be on "Piano Jazz"? I pack them all in a box and send them to the library. They love to have them.

LV: How much recorded music do you listen to a day?

MM: Well, it depends. Sometimes none. But having got this record that we made doing three pianos I've been listening to that a lot. And then I just got Diana Krall's new record so I listened to some of that. But I get so much I kind of fast-forward some of the things. I don't know that I listen that much.

I listen to the radio station a lot, WBGO, to try to hear what's new and coming up that I hadn't heard.

I'm just about to call Taj Mahal and have him on the show. I think he'd be a good guest, wouldn't he?

LV: Oh, beautiful. You know the last time we spoke you were just getting ready to do Artie Shaw. You were in negotiations to get Artie Shaw on the show.

MM: Well, we did. But it's so hard because he kept getting sick and being in the hospital. So eventually what we did was we did the show with Dick Sudhalter. Do you know him?

LV: Sure. Bix's biographer. The trumpeter.

MM: I had Artie tape a whole bunch of stuff at his house. What we did, Sudhalter and I would talk, and then we'd interpolate something by Artie, either a record or him talking about something. In fact they're going to replay it this summer.

LV: That's a great line-up on "Piano Jazz" this summer with all those top shows coming out. That's great.

MM: I would love to get him just alone but it's too hard. He's very—it's a shame, the poor guy, he's so deaf and he's got whatever that eye thing is, Macular Degeneration, and can't see very well. That's really a shame because there's a man who loves to read and he can't read anymore. He's not taking it very well. He's just lying around doing nothing. Which is really a shame. He just had his 94th Birthday. I hope I'll see him when I got out there to do Monterey.

LV: Need to cheer him up.

MM: I try, but he's very hard to cheer up. (Chuckles). He's totally, 'the glass is half empty.'

LV: Yeah, "The Trouble With Cinderella."

MM: He can write. There's so much that he could do, but he's really doing very little of anything. Although he was telling that me he's trying to walk again. But he doesn't do any exercise; just lying on a couch all day. So, anyway, the show came out fairly well.

LV: Yes, it did. Just the last time we spoke you were getting it together and jumping through all those hoops.

MM: Yeah, jumping through all those hoops. There's a guy out there in Portland named Ted Halicks - I don't know if I told you about this - and he has done a whole series of interviews with Artie, like his whole life. There are 13 tapes and they are so fantastic. Any station that wants to run the whole series, Ted will let them have it for free...

LV: Please, one question before I let you go?

MM: O-okay.

LV: And it regards jazz today in the market place. Jazz today is claiming a small portion of the market place and I wondered if you had any ideas as to why that might be?

MM: What, that it's so small? Well, because people are getting dumber and dumber and the music they put out for them to listen to is dumb music. A lot of kids will say to me, "Why don't we hear more jazz on the radio?" Well it's because the record companies are pumping away with their commercial stuff. I think it's a shame. Although I do feel that with a show like ours we ourselves are getting a lot more young listeners at concerts. So we're trying to make a dent, but I don't know what's going to happen now with Concord and Fantasy, whether they're going to concentrate on more jazz or more pop or whatever. It just seems like everybody wants to make a pile of money, never mind how. Like anything to do with taste in good music has sort of gone out the window for the most part. Maybe you don't agree with me, but...

LV: I was just wondering do you think there's anything in the music itself that's changed? Do you think jazz has changed in a way that's turned people off at all?

MM: Well some of it has—it's so far out you don't hear any melody. I guess I'm very old-fashioned. I still like to hear standard tunes and I still like to hear melodies. And I get so many records by people I've never heard of playing their own original tunes and not one single standard. Or maybe one, like sort of condescendingly playing "Lush Life" or something, and it really bugs me when I get all of these things. All original tunes. I'll listen to a couple of them and then I'll put the record in the box and send it to the library.

LV: I see. Well, you're a helluva'n improviser, Marian, you can take it out: I've heard you do it.

MM: I am, and I can, and I do, but you don't want to do that ALL the time. I know that people will politely listen. Like we did a free piece in our concert in Rochester with the three pianos. But only ONE because when I listen to it I thought people must think, "What the f*** are they doing?"

LV: (Laughs) Did it work?

MM: Yeah, but I think average people, young and old, like to hear something they've heard before. I know I do. Maybe that's being square, but when I think of having met all these people like Harold Arlen, Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, and met Cy Coleman - all these people who have written wonderful tunes, and then to play something by, I don't know, some kid that's just trying his hand at writing...I don't know. I'll probably get arrested for the thing I'm saying.

LV: I understand what you're saying.

MM: I know you understand.

LV: Sure. I do. There's something to be said for those tune smiths of the past. They were amazing artists.

MM: Well, they just have this film - I guess Diana Krall is in it - "DeLovely" about Cole Porter. Maybe that will refresh some of the tunes. I can't think of one tune of his that is not a great tune.

LV: He was a master at making "list" songs.

MM: That's funny. I never thought of that.

LV: Well, lyrically. Not musically. You know. He was really good at that. He'd just make a list of things and make a song out of it. It was really fun.

MM: I know. That's a very good thought. He must have taken trouble with those songs. Nowadays it seems to me nobody takes trouble about anything, especially writing songs.

(Ed: At this point McPartland asked if there was anything Blue Lake needed of hers, which led to talk of "Piano Jazz" programs on CD from The Jazz Alliance (Concord), and how much I enjoy the Lee Konitz program).

MM: Oh, me too. I don't know. When "Jeff" [Carl E. Jefferson] died a lot of great ideas died with him. I really miss him because we had so many people on the label and Glenn Barros has decided not to utilize all of those. For a while there was no "Piano Jazz" and the all of the sudden he says, 'We're going to re-introduce 'Piano Jazz.'' I said, I don't think it ever went away.

LV: How long have you been doing that now, twenty...?

MM: Twenty-five years. We just had this big party in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center and they presented me with this gorgeous silver bowl, my God it's just beautiful. I've got more wonderful Degrees. I don't know what I'm going to do with them all when I go wherever I'm going.

It's awful to have to, but I've started thinking about that, you know. 86. I'm thinking, well, maybe I might make it to 90. At least I'd like to have my brains.

LV: It certainly sounds like you still have them now.

MM: Yeah, I think so. (Chuckles). I'm really lucky. As long as I can still be on my own and do my own thing and be working full time, it's great.

LV: I'm so looking forward to hearing you again this summer. It's going to be marvelous.

MM: I look forward to seeing you. I really appreciate the call. You're a friend.

Marian McPartland Headlines 12th Annual Sutton's Bay Jazz Festival , July 24, 2004.

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Read Moers Festival Interviews: Kenny Garrett
Read Eric Reed Quartet at Smoke
Read Simona Smirnova: Cultivating Timelessness

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