I'm off to New York on a dual mission. On Monday night, the 28th, I'll be hosting the AFTRA Media Excellence and Entertainment (or AMEE) Awards. AFTRA is my union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, representing nearly 80,000 workers in TV, radio and the recording industry. This year's AMEE Award winners are broadcaster San Donaldson, actress Susan Lucci and singer Maureen McGovern.The awards ceremony benefits the AFTRA Foundation.
Wherever I go, I try to bring back some interviews recorded on the road. So, barring some change of plans, I'll be talking with three giants in the arts.
Edward Albee is among the greatest American playwrights ever. Albee is the master of the theater of the absurd and, and he puts it, "testing the tolerance of the audience." One of his recent works involved a goat. I'll say no more. Albee, who will be 80 in March, has won three Pulitzer Prizes, but none for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf," his best known work.
Les Paul is a legendary jazz musician who, at 92, still has a regular gig in New York. But three generations of rock musicians worship him as a guitar god and treasure their instruments that bear his name. Les Paul revolutionized the electric guitar and was responsible for numerous innovations in the recording studio, including overdubbing and multi-track recording.
Marian McPartland was born in England as Margaret Marian Turner. She married American cornetist Jimmy McPartland while both were entertaining Allied troops in Europe during World War II. In addition to her long and distinguished career as a jazz pianist, she is the host of Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, an NPR staple since June 4, 1978. In November, she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. She'll celebrate her 90th birthday in March.
I've interviewed my fellow public radio host before, but this will be my first meeting with Edward Albee and with Les Paul. As you can see, I'm partial to interviews with more seasoned guests because long careers yield many more interesting tales to tell on the radio. I talk with young people, too. Eldar is a fabulous jazz pianist who's not yet 20 years old. Born Eldar Djangirov in Kyrgyzstan, he was still in high school when I interviewed him for The Bob Edwards Show. But I can't top Marian McPartland. Her show gave Eldar his American debut at age 12.