Written by David Lyon from National Public Radio
In 2005, a young Sicilian pianist named Daniela Schaechter won the prestigious Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz competition. Marian McPartland always takes great interest in the competition, as she greatly admired Mary Lou and is devoted to the next generation of female jazz musicians. McPartland wasted no time in having Schaechter on Piano Jazz.
Schaechter’s musical journey began in a small town outside of Sicily. She recalls that “there was always music in the apartment” thanks to her father, a professional pianist, and her mother, an amateur singer. She found her own way to the piano at age eight and her classical studies began soon after that. By her mid-teens, Schaechter was exploring a variety of other genres and she formed her own jazz trio in high school. A scholarship to the Berklee School of Music then brought her to the U.S. where she’s begun a promising career in jazz.
Schaechter’s opening tune, an original called “Thinking of You,” hints at her classical training while confirming her fondness for modern jazz masters like Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. The enticing vamp of her second original composition, “Dark Blue,” provides the perfect foundation for Schaechter’s improvisational prowess.
After a couple of swinging duets with McPartland, on the standards “You and the Night and the Music” and “It Could Happen to You,” Schaechter shows off her recently discovered vocal talents on the classic tune, “Detour Ahead.” A freely improvised duet leaves both host and guest in giggles, and the two wrap up an entertaining hour of conversation and improvisation with Cole Porter’s “I Love You.”
Originally recorded Aug. 18, 2005.