Joe Carroll (vcl), Dizzy Gillespie (tp, vcl), Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green (tb), Seldon Powell, Jim Oliver (ts), Bill Graham (bs), Ray Bryant, Hank Jones, Wade Legge, Wynton Kelly (p), Milt Jackson (vib, p), James Rowser, Milt Hinton, Oscar Pettiford, Peck Morrison, Lou Hackney, Percy Heath (b), Charles Blackwell, Osie Johnson, Al Jones (d)
Reference: FSRCD 935
Bar code: 8427328609357
Little Joe Carroll (1915-1981) was an exuberant, earthy, modern jazz scat singer with roots going back to Satchmo’s happily distinctive singing, but coming most clearly from Joe’s idol, Leo Watson, the first great pioneer scat singer. He came into his own after replacing Kenny ‘Pancho’ Hagood with the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra in December 1949. Carroll and Gillespie’s relationship, which lasted until June 1953, is remembered for its exciting, funfilled scat singing and, with Dizzy, Joe traveled to Europe, where he found more appreciation from overseas audiences. It also gave him the chance to make
several recordings in Paris.
The Epic and Prestige sessions here captured all the spirit, humor and inventiveness of the Joe Carroll voice. They are entirely illustrative of the extrovert, jumping, freewheeling ways indelibly associated with him over the years. He jives and scats through an excellent collection of bop-styled arrangements of well-known standards and classic bop tunes, graced with some fine blowing by such jazz greats as Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green, Seldon Powell, Ray Bryant, Hank Jones and his friend Bill Graham, coauthor with Joe of the popular ditty Oo-Shoo-Bee-Doo-Bee.
Although his career had its ups and downs, he managed to infuse his life with vitality and happiness. “When you’re happy you project that feeling to your audience… and when I’m on, I am happy. Look at Pops or Dizzy. They make you feel good.”
"There are relatively few singers who could be considered pure bebop vocalists, but Joe Carroll has to be one of the first that would come to mind if you were asked to name them. He is best remembered for his work with Dizzy Gillespie on such classic bebop tracks as “In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee” and “Oh-Shoo-Bee-Doo-Bee,” but he recorded with others, including a superb album for Epic in 1956 that includes his unique interpretations of standards like “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” “Route 66” and “Jeepers Creepers.” This material can be found on The Epic & Prestige Sessions…and More (FSRCD 935). Eleven of the 27 tracks have the equally effervescent Mr. Gillespie on trumpet, and some of the vocals. Carroll brought any session in which he participated to a level of exuberance that is infectious. This collection is guaranteed to lift your spirits no matter where they were when you placed the disc into your player."
Joe Lang (November, 2017)
New Jersey Jazz Society
"Quick…name 5 bebop singers.
See, that’s the problem. There were and are a ton of big band singers from the Swing Era, but after Jon Hendricks and Mark Murphy the well looks pretty dry for the bebop era vocalists.
Joe Carroll (1915-81) is arguably THE bebop vocalist, having replaced Kenny Hagood in Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra in 1949, staying to deliver some hot tracks as well as carving out a nice little niche of a career on his own for awhile. This album includes some super bopping tracks with Gillespie’s 1952 quintet and sextet as well has Carroll’s own albums and 78s from 52, 53 and 56. The music is fresh, wild, extroverted, and above all, FUN!
Carroll possessed a deep yet flexible voice, and was able to stretch standards such as “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue See,” “My Blue Heaven” and “Pennies From Heaven” like salt water taffy, mixing prismatic delivery of lyrics with marble mouthed scat singing. For the ’52 tracks with Gillespie’s team which included Milt Jackson/vib and Wynton Kelly/p, Carroll and Diz sing and mug over fun filled pieces like “Groovin’ the Nursery Rhymes,” Umbrella Man,” “Oo-Shoo-Bee-Doo-Bee” and the classic “In the Land of oo-Bla Dee” while Diz impersonates Louis Armstrong on a hilarious “Pop’s Confessin’.”
The later Vogue recordings form 1953 alternated Gillespie with Bill Graham/bs and a rhythm team of Wade Legge/p, Lou Hackney/b and Al Jones for kaleidoscopic takes of “My Blue Heaven” and “Sweet Sue” before the recordings jump to the 1956 Epic sessions with proto-boppers including Ray Bryant-Hank Jones/p, Oscar Pettiford-Milt Hinton/b and Osie Johnson/dr. Carroll aptly shows a missing ingredient in today’s music, namely humor, as he delivers slap happy pieces like “Qu-est-que-ce” and “School Days” which mix irresistible swing with a lampshade on the hat attitude. The combination is simply delightful, making you wonder what happened to make musicians start taking themselves too seriously. This disc, which includes some interesting liner notes in booklet form, is more than a historical necessity; it’s the heat seeking singing missile of modern jazz."
George W. Harris (August 14, 2017)
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