Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music, just up the road from Newport, has produced top jazz musicians for decades. It sends top students from its international initiative to Newport for a concert with the sparkling drummer Adam Cruz.
Grady Tate began his jazz career as a much-celebrated drummer, backing such icons as Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, and Quincy Jones. Tate has since traded in his skins for a microphone at center stage, where he delivers smooth and soulful baritone vocals. With pianist John di Martino, Tate sings “Everybody Loves My Baby” and “Where Do You Start.”
Piano Jazz celebrates its 30th anniversary with a return visit from pianist, composer and arranger Dick Hyman, who appeared on the show during its first season in 1979. Always the fleet-fingered pianist and versatile musician, Hyman performs Gershwin, Jobim and a James P. Johnson rag before winding up the hour playing an improvised blues tune with host Marian McPartland.
Sung is a dazzling and passionate player with a flawless technique and an exquisite touch. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance graduate has played with such luminaries as Clark Terry and Wynton Marsalis. She shows off her compositional skills when she plays her own tune (“Hope Springs Eternally”), and she joins host Marian McPartland on “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
In Shearing’s second appearance on the program from 1987, host Marian McPartland reminisces with her fellow countryman about obscure British tunes, and the two have fun re-harmonizing “God Save the Queen.” Shearing also sings and plays Cole Porter’s “After You,” and the two end with a two-piano version of “Indiana.”
Pianist and singer Barbara Carroll was host Marian McPartland’s second guest during the first season of Piano Jazz. Thirty years later, Carroll makes a return appearance to reminisce with her friend about their experiences at the Hickory House and the Oak Room. Carroll gives a charming performance of “Very Early” and McPartland improvises a musical portrait of her guest.