Barbara Carroll

One Morning in May

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Barbara Carroll is one of the pianists that only New York City grows. There has been a long line of these sophisticated, stylish, elegant producers of music including Buddy Weed, Cy Coleman, and Bobby Short holding court in some lounge or room at one of the more upscale hotels. Like Short, Carroll also sings, delivering the lyrics in a smoky, highly personalized torch song as on "Can't You Do a Friend a Favor?" But the piano is the instrument where she makes her major musical statements. Once a disciple of Bud Powell, who was uptown, Carroll apparently decided that downtown was more to her liking. So over the 50 years or so that she has been recording, starting in 1949, there has been a movement away from the complexities of Powell's playing while still retaining the great pianist's elegant way with the melody line. You hear Powell influences on such tunes as "One Morning in May," "In Walked Bud," and "Zingaro." Carroll has earned the respect to be able to draw some of New York's top-notch jazz musicians into the studio with her. There's Ken Peplowski adding his mellow, woody clarinet on "I'm in Love Again," tenor sax on "I Could Make You Care," as well as the trumpet of Randy Sandke on "Bemelman's Blues." Her rhythm section partners, Joe Cocuzzo and Jay Leonhart, are among the Big Apple's first-call drum and bass players, respectively. One Morning in May offers more than 65 minutes of polished jazz performed by some of the best the genre has to offer. It's nice to know there they are still jazz musicians out there like Carroll who can add class to the music without detracting from its improvisational base. Top-drawer stuff and highly recommended.

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