Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with Guest Roy Eldridge

Marian McPartland / Roy Eldridge

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with Guest Roy Eldridge Review

by Scott Yanow

This CD, which contains one of Marian McPartland's celebrated Piano Jazz radio shows, features Roy Eldridge in what must be his final recording. Unable to play the trumpet after September 1980 due to heart problems, Eldridge occasionally made rare appearances on piano, drums or as a singer during what was a quiet final decade before his death on February 26, 1989. It must have been a very frustrating time for the competitive trumpeter but he sounds in good humor during his chat with McPartland. The discussion shoots all over the place but does include a funny story about Eldridge recording "Rockin' Chair," touches on racism in hotels of the 1940s and brings back to life a cutting contest with Rex Stewart. Musicwise Eldridge sounds basic but effective on some piano duets with McPartland and Marian takes two solos of her own but best are Roy's feature (on both vocal and solo piano) on "Une Petite Laitue" and a version of "I Want a Little Girl" that has his charming vocal backed by McPartland. It's a pity that Roy did not record a full album in the latter format.

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