Jazz legend Marian McPartland dies
FILE - In this March 19, 2008 file photo, Marian McPartland smiles while playing the piano during a celebration of her 90th birthday in New York. McPartland, 95, the legendary jazz pianist and host of the National Public Radio show "Piano Jazz," died of natural causes Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 at her Port Washington home on Long Island. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Marian McPartland, a renowned jazz pianist and host of the National Public Radio show "Piano Jazz," has died at the age of 95, NPR said Wednesday.
McPartland died of natural causes Tuesday night at her Port Washington home on Long Island, said Anna Christopher Bross, a spokeswoman for NPR.
Over a career that spanned more than six decades, McPartland became a fixture in the jazz world as a talented musician and well-loved radio personality.
In an interview with The Associated Press in 2007, the 89-year-old said she saw no reason to retire.
"Retire? Why retire? I've got a job, I'm making money, and I like what I do. Why retire?" she asked. "I think I'll jump out of a cake, or something."
Born Margaret Marian Turner in England, she began playing classical piano at the age of 3. At 17, she was accepted to the prestigious Guildhall School of Music. She left in her third year to play piano with a touring vaudeville act — to the chagrin of her parents, who she said were "horrified," and a professor who called popular music "rubbish."
During World War II, while playing for Allied troops with the USO and its British equivalent, she met her husband, Chicago cornetist Jimmy McPartland. He died in 1991.
The couple came to live in New York in 1953, and McPartland landed a gig in a trio at the Hickory House, a bustling jazz hub on 52nd Street where she played intermittently for 10 years, brushing elbows with such greats as Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman.
McPartland recorded more than 50 albums for the Concord Jazz label and played in venues across the country. She also turned her keen ears toward her contemporaries, writing articles and essays that immortalized the people and places of the jazz world in the 1950s and '60s.
FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2007, file photo, Marian McPartland talks with students at the University of South Carolina during a master class at the School of Music in Columbia, S.C. McPartland, 95, the legendary jazz pianist and host of the National Public Radio show "Piano Jazz," died of natural causes Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 at her Port Washington home on Long Island, NY (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick, File)
In one essay, included in McPartland's collected works, "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" (1975), she wrote about her experiences as a woman trying to break into the jazz scene in the '50s, striving to be taken seriously by male musicians unaccustomed to playing with women.