Barbara Carroll (1925-2017)

Barbara Carroll, a gifted jazz and pop pianist and singer who initially made a name for herself in New York in the late 1940s as a standout bop keyboardist with a proclivity for block chords and impeccable time, died on Feb. 12. She was 92.

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Carroll came up at a time when most skilled female jazz pianists wound up as intermission keyboardists at clubs and hotel bars where managers sought to hold onto audiences until the headliner’s next set. The list of female pianists who began this way included Marian McPartland, Dardanelle, Marjorie Hyams (before she turned to the vibes), Hazel Scott and about a dozen others. Little known is that Carroll was the last living member of the Stan Hasselgard Quintet and recorded with the Swedish clarinetist just days before his tragic death in 1948.

Let’s listen to why Barbara Carroll was special:

Here’s the Barbara Carroll Trio in 1953, featuring Joe Shulman (b) and Herb Wasserman (d)…

Here’s the Barbara Carroll Trio in the early 1950s, featuring Joe Schulman (b) and Billy Exiner (d)…

Here’s Carroll playing It’s a Wonderful World in 1956, with Joe Shulman (b) and Al Munroe (d)…

Here’s Carroll in 1967 with Chuck Domanico (b) and Colin Bailey (d)…

 

And here’s Carroll on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz