The sixth season of Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz," musical interviews with jazz piano greats, kicks off today at 6 a.m. on WAMU-FM. This morning's session has Dizzy Gillespie and the host conversing and trading examples of their keyboard styles.

"He plays very forceful piano," says McPartland of the great trumpet player. "I don't think he would want anybody to think he was a technical whiz, but what he does is very interesting."

Forthcoming programs will include appearances by pianists Cleo Brown, Shirley Horn, Dave Frishberg, Kenny Barron and George Wallington.

"I don't understand," says McPartland of the early morning time slot assigned to the program. "We've won a Peabody Award for the show, I went up to Yale and received a Duke Ellington fellowship medal and also got a medal from the International Radio Festival of New York. Not because of me but because the guests are so fascinating.

"Perhaps because I'm British, I think I appreciate the people I have on the show more than the ordinary person does. I feel that I'm very fortunate to have had the kind of great musicians that I've had and I just feel badly that people in Washington who want to hear it can't."