Jimmy McPartland

Jimmy McPartlandJimmy McPartland was born on March 15, 1907, in Chicago. Jimmy played violin as a child, and at 15 switched permanently to the cornet. In the early 1920s, he met a group of fellow jazz enthusiasts who became known as the Austin High Gang. They were inspired by the ODJB, the NORK, and King Oliver, and started their own jazz band.

McPartland was most inspired by Bix Beiderbecke. In 1924, he moved to New York and befriended Bix there. Bix chose the cornet that McPartland would play throughout his career. Jimmy succeeded Bix as the Wolverines’ cornetist and made his recording debut with them. In 1927 he joined Ben Pollack’s orchestra and played alongside Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.

Red Wood Coast

In December 1927, McPartland rejoined his Austin High School friends to record four legendary titles for Okeh as McKenzie and Condon’s Chicagoans.

McPartland stayed with Ben Pollack into the fall of 1929. By the early 1930s he was back in Chicago, and was quite active there—though he made few records until after the war.

Jimmy McPartland joined the Army and landed in Normandy on D-Day. At a USO show in 1944, he met the British pianist Marian Turner and was immediately impressed by her on both a musical and a personal level. They were married on February 3, 1945.

Hot Jazz Jubile

They worked together steadily for a few years. Jimmy always encouraged Marian to find her own voice on the piano and he encouraged her to play as modern as she wanted although he never tried to modernize his own style.

Jimmy McPartland continued to lead his own Chicago jazz bands. In addition to his playing, Jimmy McPartland had an outgoing personality and when he was on stage, he became the genial emcee.

Jimmy and Marian were divorced in 1967 but they always remained on friendly terms and occasionally played together. McPartland’s health gradually declined in the 1980s and his last recordings were made at a 1986 all-star concert.

As Jimmy McPartland’s health worsened (he suffered from lung cancer), he was taken care of by his former wife. Jimmy and Marian McPartland were remarried just two weeks before his death on March 13, 1991. adapted from a profile by Scott Yanow

Scott Yanow

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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