Piece image

Jazz Piano Legend Dave McKenna

From: Open Source with Christopher Lydon
Length: 58:56

Dave McKenna, the jazz immortal, plays and talks his passion in a private collection of piano-bench recordings.

Dave-mckenna_small Dave McKenna called himself a saloon pianist, but nobody else did. The genius Art Tatum heard in Dave a sort of successor. Miles Davis’s great collaborator Bill Evans found in Dave McKenna the only pianist who could teach him anything. Whitney Balliett in the New Yorker magazine called Dave the hardest swinger among all the jazz piano giants. George Shearing called Dave simply the best.

I’m posting here, in belated tribute, a thank-you gathering-up of lost-and-found McKenna sounds: from one of many house parties he played on my Grotrian grand piano; from a radio conversation we did on the piano bench; and from an extraordinary session in the early Nineties when I asked Dave to record Leonard Bernstein’s “Lucky to be Me” as theme music for a new series of television conversations we were starting. He gave us, as it turned out, several distinctive takes on the tune. Listening to them now feels like watching Matisse or Picasso toss off drawings of the same alluring model. Prodigious and guileless, Dave McKenna shared his life and his gift with abandon. It feels like a great privilege to fall under his spell again.

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Piece Description

Dave McKenna called himself a saloon pianist, but nobody else did. The genius Art Tatum heard in Dave a sort of successor. Miles Davis’s great collaborator Bill Evans found in Dave McKenna the only pianist who could teach him anything. Whitney Balliett in the New Yorker magazine called Dave the hardest swinger among all the jazz piano giants. George Shearing called Dave simply the best.

I’m posting here, in belated tribute, a thank-you gathering-up of lost-and-found McKenna sounds: from one of many house parties he played on my Grotrian grand piano; from a radio conversation we did on the piano bench; and from an extraordinary session in the early Nineties when I asked Dave to record Leonard Bernstein’s “Lucky to be Me” as theme music for a new series of television conversations we were starting. He gave us, as it turned out, several distinctive takes on the tune. Listening to them now feels like watching Matisse or Picasso toss off drawings of the same alluring model. Prodigious and guileless, Dave McKenna shared his life and his gift with abandon. It feels like a great privilege to fall under his spell again.

Broadcast History

Debut! Podcast-only, so far.

Timing and Cues

Billboard: 00:00 - 00:59 In cue: "I'm Christopher Lydon, this is Open Source ..." Out cue: " ...next, on Open Source." [MUSIC HIT]

Music for News Break: 1:00 - 5:59

Segment 1: 6:00 - 18:29 In cue: [MUSIC :03] "I'm Christopher Lydon, this is Open Source ..."

Out cue: (applause after piano playing)

Music Break 1: 18:30 - 19:59

Segment 2: 20:00 - 38:59
?In cue: " I'm Christopher Lydon, and this is Open Source..."
Out cue: "..."More McKenna music and talk coming up after a short break, you're listening to Open Source, the radio show from the Watson Institute at Brown University."

Music Break 2: 39:00- 39:59

Segment 3: 40:00 - 58:59
In cue: " I'm Christopher Lydon, and this is Open Source..." Out cue: "...Thank you Dave, and thank you out there for listening in. I'm Christopher Lydon.." [MUSIC HIT]

Related Website

http://www.radioopensource.org/dave-mckenna-my-private-collection-of-the-master/