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Marian McPartland: Just Friends

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McPartland has probably done more for proselytization of her art than any other musician save Billy Taylor. Among her many accomplishments over the five decades she has spent on these shores has been her Piano Jazz show on NPR, a series initiated in 1978 and which brougth her into intimate, mutually revealing and inspiriing duo unions with a host of other jazzmen, most of them fellow pianists. Thirty-two of these broadcasts have already been released on the Jazz Alliance label, but the contents of this CD were all recorded in studio between September 1997 and January 1998, far removed from the pressures of on-air broadcasting.

As compensation for the absence of the often illuminating interviews and the seeming spontoneity of first-time encounters, we have perfected confrontations by Marian with such varied benchmates as Tommy Flanagan (“Jeepers Creepers” and “I’ve Got a Crush on You”), Renee Rosnes (“Some Time Ago” and “It’s You or No One”), George shearing (“Just Friends” and “Twilight World”), Geri Allen (“Lullaby of the Leaves” and “Chrysalis”), Dave Brubek (“Gone with the Wind” and “Marian McPartland”), and Gene Harris (“There Will Never be Another You” and “Lady Be Good”). Marian closes with a funerally styled “When the Saints Go Marching In” as a tribute to her late husband, famed jazzz cornetist, Jimmy McPartland.