Marian McPartland is a diversifier, her early work with black students in Washington predated most jazz educational work by five years , and continues today. She has served on a number of boards, writes beautifully about her music in a collection of her writings, All in a good time was published in 1987 and broadcasts regularly, her peabody-award winning Piano Jazz program for NBC, NY is frequently renewed .
As a long time host of national Public radio's "Piano Jazz", McPartland has spent years playing duets with her on-air guests. No matter whom she's accompanying McPartland is perfectly complementary to a panoply of piano styles
Her first release since her 80th birthday, "Just Friends" showcases McPartland's grace and ease with approaches that range from Classicism of George Shearing to the modernism of Geri Allen.
Dave Brubeck's broad, exuberantly showbizzy chordings complement McPartland on an extended version of "Gone with the Wind". It's filled with sweet moments, like their quick switch into music -box pointillism. Which leads into a gorgeous counterpoint sequence before returning to the head. For her Finale, McPartland meets her only time match - herself. Her heartbreakingly down tempo, elegiac version of "When the Saints go marching in".
Marian McPartland might call her all star album Just Friends, but it sounds like she got a lot of serious work from them