Marian McPartland, jazz pianist and longtime host of an ETV radio program, died Tuesday at her home in Long Island. She was 95.
In 1979, she began hosting “Piano Jazz,” from New York. The show was produced by South Carolina ETV radio; it continues in reruns each Saturday evening. NPR said it was the longest continual performance show on public radio.
During the '70s, a program called "American Popular Song" was being produced by S.C. Educational Radio's William D. Hay and hosted by the composer Alec Wilder. McPartland was one of Wilder's guests, and when his show ended in 1979 and "Piano Jazz" was conceived, he suggested that McPartland might make a good host.
"I had been on a local radio station in New York, just to get more jazz played on the air," she told The State in 1999. "It wasn't anything I got paid for, but it was very good experience because I had some great guests, people like Benny Goodman.
"So when I got to the show in South Carolina, I was pretty much prepared. And of course knowing as many piano players as I did, it was easy to get guests."
The first show was taped in the Baldwin Pianos showroom in New York, with guest artist Mary Lou Williams. ETV’s relationship remained with the show even after she stepped down in 2011 from hosting duties. Last year, ETV radio launched "Piano Jazz Rising Stars" with host Jon Weber.
Here’s the link to NPR’s obit (the “Morning Edition” segment will be available at 9 a.m.)