Joe Carroll – The Epic & Prestige Sessions
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.”
1. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - 2:27 2. Qu’est-que-ce - 2:41 3. It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing - 2:59 4. Route 66 - 4:03 5. St. Louis Blues - 2:05 6. School Days - 2:38 7. Jump Ditty - 2:51 8. Jeepers Creepers - 2:16 9. Oo-Shoo-Bee-Doo-Bee - 2:32 10. Oh, Lady Be Good - 2:36 11. One Is Never Too Old to Swing - 2:24 12. Honeysuckle Rose - 2:17 13. I Was in the Mood - 2:35 14. Pennies from Heaven - 2:47 15. Have You Got a Penny, Benny? - 2:51 16. Two Wrongs Won’t Make It Right - 2:24 17. My Blue Heaven - 2:07 18. Sweet Sue, Just You - 2:39 19. Clappin’ Rhythm (I Got Rhythm) - 2:13 20. In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee - 3:02 21. Always - 2:56 22. Groovin’ the Nursery Rhymes - 2:54 * 23. This Is Happiness - 2:32 * 24. Blue Skies - 2:16 * 25. Umbrella Man - 2:24 * 26. Pop’s Confessin’ - 3:30 * 27. Oo-Shoo-Bee-Doo-Bee - 3:16 *
(*) Bonus Tracks
Tracks #1-12, from the album “Joe Carroll” (Epic LN 3272)
Tracks #13 & 15, from the 78 rpm Prestige 829
Tracks #14 & 16, from the 78 rpm Prestige 861
Tracks #17 & 18, from the 78 rpm Vogue V3307
Tracks #19-21, from the 10” LP “D. Gillespie – Jazz Time Paris, Vol. 1” (Vogue LD132)
Track #22, from the Dizzy Gillespie Sextet 78 rpm Atlantic 1011
Track #23, from the Dizzy Gillespie Sextet 78 rpm Atlantic 966
Tracks #24 & 26, from the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet 78 rpm Dee Gee 3605
Track #25, from the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet 78 rpm Dee Gee 3607
Track #27, from the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet 78 rpm Dee Gee 3603
Joe Carroll (vocals)
Personnel on the EPIC sessions:
Tracks #2,4,9,11: Jim Oliver, tenor sax; Ray Bryant, piano; James Rowser, bass; Charles Blackwell, drums. Recorded in New York City, April 6, 1956
Tracks #3,6,10,12: Jimmy Cleveland, trombone; Seldon Powell, tenor sax; Ray Bryant, piano; Milt Hinton, bass; Osie Johnson, drums. Recorded in New York City, May 1, 1956
Tracks #1,5,7,8: Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green, trombones; Hank Jones, piano; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Osie Johnson, drums. Recorded in New York City, May 18, 1956
Personnel on the PRESTIGE sessions:
Bill Graham, baritone sax; Ed Swanton, piano; Peck Morrison, bass; Al Jones, drums.
Recorded in New York City, December 30, 1952
Personnel on the VOGUE sessions:
Tracks #17 & 18: Bill Graham, baritone sax; Wade Legge, piano; Lou Hackney, bass; Al Jones, drums. Recorded in Paris, February 28, 1953
Tracks #19-21: Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet, vocals; Nat Peck, trombone; Wade Legge, piano; Lou Hackney, bass; Al Jones, drums. Recorded in Paris, February 22, 1953
Personnel on the Bonus Tracks:
Tracks #22 & 23: Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet, vocals; Bill Graham, baritone sax; Milt Jackson, vibes & piano; Percy Heath, bass; Al Jones, drums.
Recorded in New York, February 29, 1952
Tracks #24-27: Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet, vocals; Bill Graham, baritone sax; Wynton Kelly, piano; Bernie Griggs, bass; Al Jones, drums.
Recorded in New York, July 18, 1952
1. New Jersey Jazz Society - Joe Lang - November, 2017
"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."
2. www.jazzweekly.com - George W. Harris - August 14, 2017
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."