Barbara Carroll (RCA Years)

In February, just after pianist Barbara Carroll’s death, I posted a tribute in which I focused on the grace of her chord voicings and swing time in the early 1950s. From 1954 to 1956, she was with RCA and recorded five superb albums. Earlier in the early ’50s, Carroll recorded 10-inch albums for the Discovery, Livingston and Atlantic labels. All featured an artist with bass and drums who was determined to show off her energetic elegance and marvelous technique and sophistication. As noted in my earlier post, the 1940s and ’50s featured quite a few gifted female pianists, many of whom started out playing at popular bars during intermission as background filler. Carroll was among the most gifted of these pianists in terms of the swinging story she told on standards and her cozy familiarity with bop and lush pop.

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If you love Carroll as much as I do, then you’ll appreciate this update: I found a four-CD box set that covers her entire early-’50s period. It’s called Barbara Carroll Trio: Complete 1951-1956 Recordings (Fresh Sound). You’ll find it here or here. Fresh Sound also combined Carroll’s Funny Face and Barbara, originally on Verve from 1957, on a single CD or download (go here). Hopefully her other albums, including Flower Drum Song, will follow.

JazzWax clips: Here are clips from the set:

Here’s Let’s Fall In Love

Here’s Give Me the Simple Life

Here’s Come Rain or Come Shine

Here’s Love Is a Simple Thing, with Barbara on celeste and piano

Here’s You Make Me Feel So Young

And here’s Fancy Pants