Barbara Carroll is an elegant jazz pianist, composer and vocalist who has long been regarded as one of the most fascinating purveyors of swinging jazz piano and rhythmic, expressive vocals.
Whether Ms. Carroll is rendering a composition by Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, Billly Strayhorn or Thelonious Monk, her inventive piano playing and totally unique vocal sound insure that she will transform that composition into her own art ? presented as no one else has presented it ? with her trademark emotional directness and respect for the tune and all of it's many possibilities.
She began playing piano at age five in her native Worcester, Massachusetts, with classical training starting when she was eight. Although Barbara continued her piano studies through high school and attended the New England Conservatory of Music, she always maintained her fervent interest in jazz improvisation.
Influenced early on by Nat Cole, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and other important musicians of the era, noted jazz critic Leonard Feather called her "the first girl to play bop piano." After her New York debut at the Downbeat Club on legendary 52nd Street, it wasn't long before Barbara's progressive, percussive and lyrical style helped her establish a career that has set her apart.
Her diverse musical career has encompassed appearing on Broadway with her trio in Rodger's and Hammerstein's "Me and Juliet" to appearances in concert halls, jazz clubs, on major TV shows and festival stages throughout the world. She has performed for President and Ms. Clinton at the White House. She has made over thirty recordings on lables such as Atlantic, RCA Victor, Verve, Blue Note and DRG with an array of jazz luminaries that includes Art Farmer, Jay Leonhart, Claudio Roditi, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli and Randy Sandke. Ms. Carroll is also the 1998 recipient of a MAC Award for "Best Major Jazz Performance." Equally at home in a concert hall or intimate music room, she connects with her audience through the passion, joy and emotional power of her performance.
In 2002, Ms. Carroll completed her record-breaking run at the famed Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, where she appeared each spring and fall for extended engagements for 24 years. In 2003, Ms. Carroll received three Lifetime Achievement Awards: the Kennedy Center?s ?Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz? Award and special honors from the MAC (Manhattan Associates of Clubs) Awards and the Back Stage Bistro Awards. Last year, the venerable ?Highlights in Jazz? concert series paid tribute to Ms. Carroll with an all-star evening featuring Bill Charlap, Grady Tate, Jackie Cain, and Kenny Washington.
Live at Birdland, Ms. Carroll?s latest CD, was recorded during her extended run at the fabled jazz club last year. Featuring Jay Leonhart on bass and Joe Cocuzzo on drums, the CD includes standards such as Harold Arlen?s ?Don?t Like Goodbyes,? Cole Porter?s ?You?d Be So Nice To Come Home To,? Bart Howard?s ?Fly Me To The Moon,? and Stephen Sondheim?s ?Old Friends.? She is currently enjoying an extended Sunday engagement at the legendary Oak Room in New York?s Algonquin Hotel.