Barbara Carroll, “first lady of jazz piano,” performs every Saturday in Manhattan.
Nicknamed the first lady of jazz piano, Barbara Carroll has been performing since the late 1940s. She began her classical training in piano at age 8, but by high school decided to become a jazz pianist. In 1947, a jazz critic and composer called her "the first girl ever to play bebop piano"—a style characterized by a fast tempo, complex chord progressions, instrumental virtuosity and improvisation. Known as a cabaret performer, Carroll plays everything from classical jazz like Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to more popular composers Cy Coleman and Stephen Sondheim. At age 91, she performs every Saturday at Birdland in Manhattan. If you can’t make it to New York City, you can watch this YouTube video.