All in Good Time

All in Good Time

Book - 1987
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"Once a man stood at the bar watching me intently, and when the set was finished he came over and said with a smile, 'You know, you can't be a respectable woman the way you play piano.'" This autobiographical incident is just one of the marvelous anecdotes recalled by Marian McPartland in her book, All in Good Time. McPartland is one of the most famous contemporary jazz pianists. Brought up in England, she married the jazz trumpeter Jimmy McPartland after World War II and then settled in the U.S., where she built her career. She is also an articulate, knowledgeable, and entertaining writer about jazz and this book collects the best of her articles, published over the years in magazines like Down Beat and Esquire.
There are wonderful portraits of two famous pianists: Mary Lou Williams, hailed as one of the finest composers and performers of her era, an artist of great spiritual resources who brought order to the chaotic world of modern jazz ; and Bill Evans, renowned for his introspective and evanescent playing. Also profiled are two young bass players, Eddie Gomez and Ron McClure, then new to the scene but destined to have a lasting influence; and outstanding drummers Joe Morello (who began his career with McPartland and went on play with Dave Brubeck) and Jake Hanna (who played with Woody Herman as well as with several small groups). Together, these descriptions of famous musicians -- almost all of whom McPartland has played with -- give the reader a special insight into how a jazz rhythm section meshes and functions.
The raffish atmosphere of 52nd Street ("Swing Street") in its heyday is superbly evoked in McPartland's reminiscence of the Hickory House, where she played in the 1950s to an audience that often included the likes of Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, and Steve Allen. The author provides a shrewd and balanced assessment of another Hickory House habitue, jazz icon Benny Goodman; an affectionate and deeply moving portrait of her close friend, Alec Wilder; and a charming and revealing discussion with actor and occasional jazz pianist, Dudley Moore.
But one of the most exciting pieces in the book is her brilliant historical survey of the landmark all-female jazz orchestra of the 1930s and 1940s, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. McPartland's special interest in the position of women in jazz, often evident in this book, is best summed up by her quip, "You've come a long way, baby; but you've always been there."
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1987
ISBN: 9780195048711
Characteristics: xvii, 174 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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