English-born jazz pianist and National Public Radio (NPR)'s show "Piano Jazz" host Marian McPartland passed away on Tuesday evening, August 20, from natural causes at the ripe old age of 95. The jazz legend died in her Port Washington home in Long Island in New York, where she took a resident job at the Embers Club back in the 1950s and enjoyed long residencies well into the 70s and 80s.
Seeing no reason to retire, she was still hosting "Piano Jazz" until the year 2011. She took on the show, where she would play the keyboard with guest performers, more than three decades past back in 1978. It became one of the longest-running jazz programs on radio and the longest-running cultural program on NPR during its run.
Her more than six-decades long career as a renowned jazz pianist and well-loved radio personality began when she left her studies at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London to join Billy Mayerl's Claviers touring vaudeville act under the name Marian Page. She entertained Allied troops during World War II, trekking across Europe where, in a stopover in Belgium in 1944, she met the man who was to become her husband, Chicago cornetist Jimmy McPartland.
Among McPartland's outstanding accomplishments were a Grammy win in 2004 and a Trustees' Lifetime Achievement Award for her work on "Piano Jazz". In 2010, she was appointed as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).