Marion McPartland Visits Ann Arbor

Marion McPartland has probably become better known as a National Public Radio regular than she ever was during the forties and fifties in New York. At 80, she is still a very good pianist and a great spokesperson for the music.  Professor Ellen Rowe at the University of Michigan's School of Music brought McPartland to Ann Arbor to kick off a scholarship program in her name. A concert at the Kerrytown Concert House announced the idea to the community and both shows on April 7 were packed with fans. 

Appropriately enough, two freshmen who study with Rowe started out the evening: Alex Chadsey and Kent Eshelman. This was followed by four tunes where Rowe and McPartland played two pianos. "Skylark" featured some very delicate tickling of the ivories and "You Stepped Out of A Dream" swung nicely. 

The last half of the program was taken up by McPartland and Ann Arbor's own Paul Keller on bass and Pete Siers on drums. They sounded great as a trio with Keller's swinging bass and Siers' light and sensitive drums. McPartland showed off her still considerable technique and elegant swing, particularly on Strayhorn's "Raincheck." Let's hope the Scholarship Fund will bring her back to town soon. photograph by Lars Björn