This episode of Piano Jazz features guitarist Julian Lage, recorded in 2005 when the guitar prodigy was just 18. Lage joined host Marian McPartland for this set of standards from Hoagy Carmichael, Sammy Cahn, Rodgers and Hart, and more.

Drummer, music educator and band leader Sherrie Maricle is known for leading her all-female big band, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra. But their full, explosive sound does not require the entire orchestra, as Maricle demonstrates on Piano Jazz with a scaled-down, trio version of DIVA featuring Noriko Ueda on bass, Tomoko Ohno on piano and Maricle on drums.

The annual recording of Piano Jazz at the 2008 Tanglewood Jazz festival fell nearly halfway between two important milestones — Marian McPartland's 90th birthday, celebrated in March of 2008, and the 30th Anniversary of Piano Jazz, which we celebrate in 2009. It was truly an extravagant concert, as three wonderful performers took their turns on stage with McPartland.

Joanne Brackeen has been called the "Picasso of jazz piano," a nickname that encompasses her adventurous style and visionary approach.

It's a rare thing to have three pianists at three pianos in one studio. But given the marriage of keyboard masters Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, host Marian McPartland thought it was a perfect opportunity to expand the Piano Jazz format with two of today's most gifted players as her guests.

Robin Meloy Goldsby may have been destined for show business. She had the requisite musical roots –- her father, Bob Rawsthorne, played drums for the PBS program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. She also had the early childhood experiences: Through her dad's involvement in Pittsburgh show business, she had the opportunity to act and play piano in various local productions.

Like many artists of his generation, singer Ed Reed saw his career interrupted by drug use and incarceration. JazzTimes magazine recently ran a piece on the Narcotic Farm, a prison for addicts in Lexington, Ky., known for the jazz players who performed behind bars. San Quentin, where Reed did his time, also hosted some notorious jazz players, including Art Pepper, Frank Butler and Frank Morgan.

Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli is one of the hottest acts in jazz today. With his hip, swinging and sophisticated style, he makes music that sounds both classic and thoroughly modern.

Alto saxophone phenom Grace Kelly has recorded with icons Lee Konitz and Phil Woods and is a seasoned road warrior with tour dates around the world. And she's till in her early 20s. She recently added vocalist to her resume.

On this episode of Piano Jazz, composer and keyboardist Herbie Hancock stops by in a program recorded in 1987. The ever-inventive Hancock sticks with the acoustic piano for this set of solos and duets with host Marian McPartland. Hancock performs a mix of his originals — "Dolphin Dance" and "Still Time" — and standards including "Limehouse Blues," "It Never Entered My Mind" and "That Old Black Magic."

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Courtesy Merritt Family

I’m not usually one to name-drop but my brother Pat Meehan is Santa Claus. A real, professional Santa.

Sitting in his home office fresh from work, he’s wearing black suspenders and a red T-shirt. There at least six other Santa outfits in his closet including beach Santa. His thick, white beard (yes, a real one) shimmers faintly with glitter.

It goes without saying that Pat is really into being Santa. He’s been doing it for 40 years.

But even Pat understands how the 

Sydney Boles/Ohio Valley ReSource

With just days left before a Congressional deadline, advocates for black lung treatment are still pushing Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell to secure funding for miners’ benefits.

About two dozen people demonstrated Wednesday near McConnell’s regional office in London, Kentucky, carrying placards reading “Black Lung Kills” and singing along with a banjo tune modified for the occasion.

Sydney Boles/Ohio Valley ReSource

On a cool but clear November day about a dozen residents from eastern Kentucky’s coal mining region crowded into the lobby of an office building in the small town of London, Kentucky. That’s where Kentucky’s powerful senior senator, Mitch McConnell, has his local field office.

McConnell’s staff let the local advocates for black lung treatment into the office a few at a time to make their case for funding the federal Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

 

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