Marian McPartland: When The Saints Go Marching In


When The Saints Go Marching In



Just Friends (Concord Jazz 4805)

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Marian McPartland (piano).

Recorded: New York, September 4, 1997-January 26, 1998


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

As host of the long-running radio series Piano Jazz, Marian McPartland has played innumerable piano duets with some of the finest jazz artists on the scene. The piano duet concept was transferred to McPartland's 1998 CD Just Friends where she performed with Tommy Flanagan, Renee Rosnes, George Shearing, Geri Allen, Dave Brubeck & Gene Harris. The last track on the CD was Marian's alone, and it doubtlessly represented the duet she wished she could play, but could no longer. Subtitled "for Jimmy", her solo version of "When The Saints Go Marching In" is a heartfelt tribute to her late husband, Jimmy McPartland. She starts the performance with a simple single-line reading of "The Blue Bells Of Scotland" (one of Jimmy's favorite songs) then makes a smooth segue into "Saints". The tempo is slow and thoughtful, making us remember the words, forgotten after so many raucous Dixie renditions. Marian was always more advanced in harmony than her husband, but I suspect that Jimmy would have approved of the "pretty chords" that Marian plays here. I suspect that someday in the hereafter they will play together again, but for now, Marian's solo version is a profound tribute to her dear departed husband.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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