Barbara Carroll (born Barbara Carole Coppersmith; January 25, 1925 – February 11, 2017) was an American jazz pianist.
Early life and early career
Carroll was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. She began her classical training in piano at age eight, but by high school decided to become a jazz pianist. She attended the New England Conservatory of Music for a year, but left it as it conflicted with working for bands. In 1947 Leonard Feather dubbed her “the first girl ever to play bebop piano.” In the following year her trio, which featured Chuck Wayne on guitar and Clyde Lombardi on bass, worked briefly with Benny Goodman. Later Charlie Byrd replaced Wayne and Joe Shulman replaced Lombardi. After Byrd’s departure, Carroll decided to have it be a drums, bass, and piano trio.
In 1972 she revived her career due to a renewed interest in her work. In 1975 she was asked by Rita Coolidge to work on a session for A&M. In 1978 she toured with Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson. In the following two decades she became known as a cabaret performer.
In the current decade Carroll was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award and the “Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz”.
In September 1954 Carroll married Joe Shulman, a member of the trio. The marriage lasted less than three years due to his death from a heart attack in 1957 at age 33. She subsequently married bandleader Bert Block and had a daughter, Suzanne.
She died on February 12, 2017, aged 92.
- 1951 Piano Panorama (Atlantic 10″ LP; reissued 1958 as Ladies of Jazz, Atlantic with Mary Lou Williams 10″)
- 1954 Barbara Carroll Trio (RCA Victor)
- 1955 Lullabies in Rhythm” (RCA Victor)
- 1956 Have You Met Miss Carroll (RCA Victor)
- 1956 We Couldn’t Just Say Goodbye (RCA Victor)
- 1957 It’s A Wonderful World (RCA Victor)
- 1957 Funny Face (aka, The Best of George and Ira Gershwin, Verve)
- 1958 Barbara (Verve)
- 1958 Flower Drum Somg (Kapp)
- 1959 Why Not? (SeSac)
- 1964 “Hello, Dolly” & What Makes Sammy Run?” (Warner Bros)
- 1981 At The Piano (Trend Records/Discovery Records)
- 1991 Live at the Carlyle (DRG)
- 1993 This Heart of Mine (DRG)
- 1995 Everything I Love (DRG)
- 2003 Live at Birdland (Harbinger)
- 2007 I Wished On the Moon (Venus)
- 2008 Something to Live For (Harbinger)
- 2010 How Long Has This Been Going On? (Harbinger)
- 2016 Barbara Carroll Plays at Birdland (Birdland Records)