Marian McPartland

Twilight World

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With her long-running series on public radio, Marian McPartland has seemed to many fans to always be a part of jazz. Just a few months shy of celebrating her 90th birthday at the time of these 2007 sessions, the pianist demonstrates why she has been able to play with so many different guests on her program. But this is a regular trio date with her attentive, longtime rhythm section, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and drummer Glenn Davis. It's hard not to be enchanted immediately with new versions of her upbeat "Twilight World" and the elegant "In the Days of Our Love," the latter played with a hint of looking back on life without getting overly sentimental. McPartland has long been praised as a masterful interpreter of ballads, so her lyrical takes of "Close Enough for Love" and "Alfie" only serve to reinforce her strength in that department. Her good friend, the late Alec Wilder, penned the lush, intricate ballad with her in mind, and it is hard to imagine the notoriously hard-to-please composer (whose frequent comment, according to Marian, was "Play the melody!") not being overjoyed with McPartland's warm rendition. She also delves into the works of other jazz composers with equal enthusiasm, including two spirited explorations of songs by Ornette Coleman, John Lewis' spry "Afternoon in Paris," and a shimmering take of the modal masterpiece "Blue in Green" that is notable for its imaginative introduction. Marian McPartland's Twilight World is among the very best CDs of her long, impressive career.

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