"Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz," a 13-week series featuring some of the most important living jazz pianists in sparkling conversations and lively performances, begins today on two local public radio outlests.
Today's guest (at 7 a.m. on WAMU-FM and 7 p.m. on WETA-FM) is Billy Taylor, a charming talker and knowledgable musician who's written a doctoral dissertation on jazz piano.
As hostess, McPartland talks with Taylor about Art Tatum's influence on pianists, conservatory training and the New York jazz scene in the 1940s the 1950s.
Taylor performs alone and the two of them deliver a rousing contrapuntal version of "All the Things You Are."
Other pianists who will appear in the series are Barbara Carroll, Dick Hyman, John Lewis, Bobby Short, Teddy Wilson, Mary Lou Williams, Ellis Larkins, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Tommy Flanagan, Joanne Brackeen and Cy Coleman.
McPartland is a capable hostess, but conversation in several programs tends to be chatty and "inside." The series also suffers from not having a representative of the experimental wing of contemporary jazz-from the ranks of Cecil Taylor, Mccoy Tyner, Don Pullen or Andrew Hill. The program continues on successive Saturdays at the same hour.