Every year, each of the eight members of the SFJAZZ Collective is tasked with two writing assignments. The first: Compose a new piece specifically for the band, which gathers some of the most outstanding performers on the modern jazz scene. The second: Rearrange a composition by the elder artist that the Collective has chosen to feature that year. For the 2014-15 season, SFJAZZ is paying tribute to a tenor saxophone titan, a composer of classic tunes and a long-time San Francisco resident: the late Joe Henderson.
Renowned lyricists and songwriters Marilyn and Alan Bergman have been the recipients of Oscars, Grammy, Emmys and many additional awards. Their works include "The Windmills of Your Mind" and lyrics for Yentl.
On this 1995 episode of Piano Jazz, they collaborate with host Marian McPartland as she accompanies Alan singing their trademark songs "The Way We Were" and "Nice 'n' Easy."
Singer, composer and actor Nellie McKay brings a comedic flair to her stage shows, including Nellie with a Z, in which she plays a cabaret veteran three times her age. Her music also has been featured on the television series Weeds, Grey's Anatomy and Boardwalk Empire. Her latest album, My Weekly Reader, is out March 24.
Regular visitors to Jazz at Lincoln Center know Marcus Roberts the pianist — as a former member of Wynton Marsalis' bands and the Jazz at Lincoln Orchestra, he still returns often with his own groups. But since leaving Marsalis, he's also become a mentor to many younger musicians, both on the bandstand and in the classroom. His new 11-piece ensemble the Modern Jazz Generation combines his trio with many of his younger protégés, looping the feedback full circle.
One half of the jazz vocal duo Jackie & Roy, Jackie Cain was an icon in the cabaret world, with a smooth, feathery voice. Her ability to express a full range of emotions as a performer allowed her to traverse the broad landscape of American popular song.
In this 1999 episode of Piano Jazz, host Marian McPartland and bassist Dean Johnson join Cain for performances of "Wait 'Til You See Her" and "You Don't Know What Love Is."
When trumpeter and composer/arranger Steven Bernstein first met the virtuoso pianist Henry Butler, he says he was floored. "This is it," he recalls thinking. "This is like the music that I always imagined. Everything you ever loved about music, all being in one place, but now it's all coming from one person." Decades later, when they two finally began to work together, Bernstein started to study Butler's playing — and realized there were more than a few licks that set Butler apart.
The jazz clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen comes from Israel, studied and lives in the Northeastern U.S., and maintains a deep affinity for Brazilian music. Specifically, she's a specialist in the Afro-Western, improvisatory, instrumental music known as choro — an analogue of early jazz in the U.S. — where her clarinet is a lead instrument. She now helms a group called Choro Aventuroso, a quartet whose other members hail from Brazil, which takes the style as a launching pad for further adventures.
Jazz singer, songwriter and actress René Marie launched her career in 1999 with her self-released debut album, Renaissance, and quickly found success as a performer and recording artist. Her 2013 album, I Wanna Be Evil, is the first ever tribute album to the late Eartha Kitt. You can hear Kitt on an episode of Piano Jazz from 1993.