NPR announced the passing of McPartland, who hosted the wildly popular "Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz" on public radio. Produced by South Carolina Public Radio, NPR debuted the program in 1978.
"Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz" ran for more than 30 years as one of the most popular jazz shows in the world, syndicated through more than 200 radio stations internationally.
McPartland hosted all the great names of jazz over the years, not just other pianists, and played improvised duets with her guests between interview segments on the Peabody Award-winning program.
Born Margaret Marian Turner in Windsor, England, on March 20, 1918, she entered the Guildhall School of Music in London at age 17.
In 1938, she went on tour with a four-piano vaudeville act, in 1955 ended up on a U.S.O. tour. There, she met American jazz cornetist Jimmy McPartland, and they later married and moved to Chicago.
In 1949 McPartland moved to New York to play American jazz, and formed a successful trio. She recorded for numerous record labels before starting her own, Halcyon.
Though she and her husband divorced after 20 years, they remained friends, and she later helped care for him as he battled lung cancer. They remarried shortly before his death in 1991.
McPartland continued playing piano into her nineties, and critics say she only got better and more adventurous with age, masterfully combining her classical training and love for jazz music.
Throughout the last decade, McPartland has been bestowed with honors including a lifetime achievement Grammy Award, induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, and being named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master.
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