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Marian McPartland’s Hickory House Trio: Reprise

Back in the heyday of 1930s-’40s jazz activities on 52nd Street, swing clarinetist Joe Marsala ruled the roost at the Hickory House, a spacious pub located one block west of such smaller but more widely remembered joints as the Onyx, Three Deuces, Famous Door, Spotlight, Downbeat and Jimmy Ryan’s. Following Marsala’s long tenure, which ended in 1948, the Hickory House began featuring modern jazz, and in 1954, this meant the Marian McPartland Trio, which then included bassist Bill Crow and drummer Joe Morello, who were later to become familiar figures with Gerry Mulligan and Dave Brubeck, among others.

This recording, a purposeful retrospective of that original trio, was taped in September 1998 at Birdland, and presents the still cohesive unit in a program of 12 standard tunes and one McPartland original, “Cymbalism.” At the time of this session, Marian was 78, but stereotypes about age do not pertain to this remarkable woman, whose musical sensibilities and pianistic abilities remain as vital today as they were in the ’50s.

Originally Published