Milt Hinton on NPR Piano Jazz 1991

Some great NPR Piano Jazz interviews this week. Though Marian McPartland no longer actively hosts the show (which has been running since the late 1970s), it still airs weekly with encore performances and in an updated version hosted by Jon Weber.

Today’s interview is with the “Dean of Jazz Bass Players”, Milt Hinton. Hinton kicks off the program by rapping his considerable resume, as he comps himself with bouncing bass. It’s safe to say he’s one of few octogenarians able to do hip-hop, and probably the only one who can drop names like Cab (Calloway), Duke (Ellington), Louie (Armstrong) and Prez (Lester Young) into his rhyme.

He also turns in a thundering solo version of “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.”

“Boy, that is really a show-stopping piece,” McPartland says.

“It’s a real exercise in calisthenics. Thank you,” Hinton replies.

The session closes on a duet of “How High the Moon” that conjures both Mozart and Charlie Parker. “The dean of bass players” slowly bows his double bass, giving a classical feel to the opening, then sheaths his bow for some pure bebop magic to end this installment of Piano Jazz.

Click here to listen to Milt Hinton on NPR Piano Jazz 1991