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Trusty McPartland Receives Award

Does an 85-year-old British flower-lover = legendary jazzer?


But Marian McPartland is not your ordinary GRAMMY. She’s the 2004 recipient of the Recording Academy’s Trustees Award for “music people who have made the greatest impact on our culture.”

On February 7, as part of Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Week 2004 in Los Angeles, Marian will become one of a select group of “legendary performers, cultural ambassadors, archetypal musicians and profoundly inspiring figures” who “have created a timeless legacy that has positively affected multiple generations, and will continue to influence generations to come.”

McPartland has dedicated her life to jazz performance, education, writing and, for the past 25 years, weekly radio interviews and piano duets with legendary jazz figures as the host of National Public Radio’s Piano Jazz.

Born in Windsor, England, McPartland studied classical piano at the Guildhall School of Music in London. During WWII she performed in a four-piano vaudeville act to support Allied troops. During the war, McPartland met and fell in love with American trumpeter Jimmy McPartland. After the war, the newlyweds moved to New York and the pianist’s career blossomed. She has recorded over 50 albums for labels such as Concord and her own Halcyon, won the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting, the Gracie Allen award given by American Women in Radio and Television, the National Music Council’s American Eagle Award and was inducted into the Jazz Education Hall of Fame in 1986.

In 2003, McPartland celebrated her 85th birthday at Birdland in New York City, playing with a host of her friends including Norah Jones, Clark Terry, Dr. Billy Taylor, Tony Bennett, Jason Moran, Ravi Coltrane, Dave Douglass, Jim Hall, Bill Charlap, Jackie King and Phil Woods.

For more info on McPartland and Piano Jazz check out her Web site at NPR.

Originally Published