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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The legendary jazz pianist and singer Barbara Carroll and multi-talented bassist Jay Leonhart will present an evening of music mostly by Stephen Sondheim on Wednesday, March 31, at 8 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall of the Weis Music Building at Bucknell University.
The free concert is part of the ongoing Janet Weis Cabaret Jazz Series, which is made possible by funding from the Weis family.
About the duo's mainly Sondheim show being performed weekly in the Oak Room at New York's Algonquin Hotel, The New York Times said in a recent review, "Ms. Carroll ... turned 85 on Jan. 25 and is still going strong. Hints of bebop fleck an otherwise semi-classical jazz style that seesaws between determined light swing and cascading lyricism. Even at its most introspective her playing is never lugubrious, but buoyed by an impish sense of humor that she shares with her bass player, Jay Leonhart."
Pianist, vocalist and composer
Regarded as one of today's most fascinating purveyors of swinging jazz piano and expressive vocals, Carroll is equally at home in a concert hall or intimate music room. Noted jazz critic Leonard Feather declared that she was "the first girl to play bop piano," and People Magazine recently wrote: "Barbara Carroll's jazz pianism is the subtlest and most intricate that New York has to offer."
After making her New York debut at the celebrated Downbeat Club on legendary 52nd Street, she went on to perform in major music rooms across the country to audiences that regularly included luminaries such as Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett and Dinah Washington.
Her work over the past 50 years has spanned everything from appearances on Broadway with her trio in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Me and Juliet" to performances in concert halls, jazz clubs, on major TV shows and festival stages throughout the world.
She has performed for President and Mrs. Clinton at the White House and has made more than 30 major label recordings with an array of jazz legends including Art Farmer, Claudio Roditi, Bucky Pizzarelli and John Pizzarelli.
A noted basist and songwriter, Leonhart has performed with diverse artists including Judy Garland, Carly Simon, Bucky Pizzarelli, Sting and Frank Sinatra. Leonhart is noted for his clever songwriting often laced with dry humor, and his compositions have been recorded by such notable artists as Blossom Dearie, Lee Konitz and Gary Burton.
After moving to New York, Leonhart began playing for many of the great jazz musicians of the 20th century. Between 1975 and 1995 he was named The Most Valuable Bassist in the recording industry three times by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He has recorded 15 solo albums and is performing a one-man show called "The Bass Lesson" about his life in the music business and song. He has toured worldwide for more than 40 years.
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