Barbara Carroll at Birdland

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23-atxl1

Run, don’t walk, to Birdland to see Barbara Carroll, the iconic jazz pianist, who is scheduled to perform every Saturday, accompanied by her bassist, Jay Leonhart. It is hard to believe that she is 91 years old but Although she is assisted to the piano, she plays with the vitality and verve of a teenager.

I don’t know any jazz pianist today who plays music by Berlin, Gershwin, Porter, Sondheim and other composers with such elegance, humor and unerring taste. She has the ability to make each standard seem new. Some of the selections last night were quiet and contemplative, others witty and charming. There were many familiar songs but they were her own clever and original versions among them — “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” “Gee, Officer Krupke,” “Send in the Clowns” and “You Fascinate Me So.”

The verdict of the audience at Birdland last night — two standing ovations.

Fred Rubinstein

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