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Barbara Carroll, The Oak Room's Star for Sunday Brunch

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Barbara Carroll’s Sunday Jazz Brunch
The Oak Room
Algonquin Hotel
Barbara Carroll on Piano and Vocals
Frank Tate on Bass

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 30, 2008

There is no cabaret room more beautiful, comfortable, or classy than the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room. On Sundays, the renowned Barbara Carroll, pianist, vocalist, and raconteur, holds court in the Oak Room, with Frank Tate, her accompanist on bass. Today I was helping a friend from Oyster Bay celebrate her birthday, and she had requested to come to town for Barbara Carroll. We were both impressed and enthused with the performance, not to mention the exemplary service, attention to detail, and eclectic menu.

Ms. Carroll chose songs made famous by Art Tatum, Bobby Short, Richard Rodgers, Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, Stephen Sondheim, Sy Coleman, Jule Styne, and Dizzy Gillespie. Some of my favorites were “You Fascinate Me So” (Leigh-Coleman), “Try a Little Tenderness” (King-Woods), “Waltz for Debby” (Evans), “All I Need Is the Girl” (Sondheim-Styne), “Not While I’m Around” (Sondheim), and “A Night in Tunisia” (Gillespie). Ms. Carroll turns her piano into a personality, playing seamlessly at times, then turning a phrase with a comment or two. She sometimes stops to tell her fans a story; a story about a song, a story about the first time she played that song, or a story about the song’s composer and lyricist.

Barbara Carroll is a fountain of musicality, bubbling like champagne, a perfect enhancement for an elegant Sunday Brunch. When she plays “Try a Little Tenderness”, her fingers race up and down the keyboard in melancholy swing. Frank Tate has an occasional solo, but remains attentive to Ms. Carroll’s shifts in tone, mood, and style. Ms. Carroll also played some original compositions with contrasting jazziness and contemporary pop. Her improvisations fuse melody with meandering flourishes, and she loves to repeat the theme with echoing phrases. The audience was mesmerized, as was her husband, who sat close by. .

You can click here for upcoming productions and events at The Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room.

Tiramisu Birthday Cake
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Barbara Carroll Sings
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Barbara Carroll at the Yamaha
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Frank Tate on Bass and Barbara Carroll
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Barbara Carroll and her Husband in the Lobby
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

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