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Marian McPartland, Longtime Host of NPR's "Piano Jazz" and "First Lady of Jazz," Dead at 95

By Classicalite Newsdesk on Aug 21, 2013 06:42 PM EDT

Marian McPartland, a British musician who hosted a jazz program on National Public Radio for more than four decades, has died at age 95, NPR said on its website.

McPartland, the longtime host of "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz," died of natural causes at her Long Island home on Tuesday.

As host, the jazz pianist paired conversation and duet performances, reaching an audience of millions as she interviewed jazz luminaries, before stepping down in 2011.

Born Margaret Marian Turner in Slough, England, she married American soldier and cornetist Jimmy McPartland in 1946 and discovered music at an early age.

She told NPR in 2005 that her interest in music started after she heard her mother play piano, saying "from that moment on, I don't remember ever not playing piano, day and night, wherever I was."

McPartland recorded and performed throughout the 1950s and into the next decade, then turned to lecturing at colleges. In 1964, she began an interview and music program on New York's WBAI-FM, which paved the way for "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz" on NPR in 1978.

Among her scores of albums, she was paired with jazz legends including Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae and Shirley Horn. Her honors included a 1983 Peabody and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys in 2004.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud, editing by Vicki Allen and Logan K. Young)

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TagsMarian McPartland, Piano Jazz, NPR Music, Laura, WBAI, Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn, Peabody, Grammy, First Lady of Jazz