|McPartland, Marian. Born in Windsor, England, in 1920, this fine pianist came from a family of musicians, including a great-uncle, Sir Frederick Dyson (Mayor of the City of Windsor), who played cello. McPartland debuted as part of a traveling four-piano group, then, just before World War II, she formed a duo with the prominent British pianist Billy Mayerl. She married trumpeter Jimmy McPartland during World War II, and the couple came to the U.S. after the war in 1946 to start a group led by Jimmy. This band broke up in 1951. Marian then formed her first trio and worked at many popular spots, starting with The Hickory House. Gradually that club became a well-known musicians’ hangout and was Duke Ellington’s regular dining spot whenever he was in New York. McPartland became widely known, continuing to lead her trio as the house band there for a number of years. She also worked at The Composer in New York and at the London House in Chicago. She has appeared widely at jazz festivals and concerts all over the world and has made many recordings on her own label. She is currently known for her weekly radio program, “Piano Jazz,” on which she interviews and plays with pianists and other musicians. The program has been heard regularly for many years on hundreds of public radio stations throughout the U.S.|
Cedar Anthony Walton, Junior
grew up in Dallas, Texas
. His mother was an aspiring concert pianist, and was Walton's initial teacher. She also took him to jazz performances around Dallas. Walton cited Nat King Cole
, Bud Powell
, Thelonious Monk
and Art Tatum
as his major influences on piano. He began emulating recordings of these artists from an early age. He attended the University of Denver
as a composition major originally, but was encouraged to switch to a music education program targeted to set up a career in the local public school system. This switch later proved extremely useful since Walton learned to play and arrange for various instruments, a talent he would hone with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers
Walton was drafted into the U.S. Army, and stationed in Germany, cutting short his rising status in the after-hours scene. While in the Army, he played with musicians Leo Wright, Don Ellis, and Eddie Harris. Upon his discharge after two years, Walton picked up where he left off, playing as a sideman with Kenny Dorham and J. J. Johnson, and with Gigi Gryce. Joining the Jazztet, led by Benny Golson and Art Farmer, Walton played with this group from 1958 to 1961. In April 1959, he recorded an alternate take of "Giant Steps" with John Coltrane, though he did not solo.
In the early 1960s, Walton joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers as a pianist-arranger
for three years (on the same day as Freddie Hubbard
), where he played with Wayne Shorter
and Hubbard. In this group, he demonstrated a keen sense of arranging in originals such as "Ugetsu" and "Mosaic". He left the Messengers in 1964 and by the late 1960s was part of the house rhythm section
, where in addition to releasing his own recordings, he recorded with Sonny Criss
, Pat Martino
, Eric Kloss
, andCharles McPherson
. For a year, he served as Abbey Lincoln
's accompanist, and recorded with Lee Morgan
from 1966 to 1968. During the mid-1970s, he led the funk
Many of his compositions have been adopted as jazz standards, including "Firm Roots", "Bolivia" and "Cedar's Blues". "Bolivia" is perhaps Walton's best known composition, while one of his oldest is "Fantasy in D", recorded under the title "Ugetsu" by Art Blakey in 1963.
After a brief illness, Walton died on August 19, 2013, at his home in Brooklyn, New York
at the age of 79.