Bill Carrothers

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Not to be confused with Bill Carruthers.
Bill Carrothers
Carrothers at the Artists' Quarter, 2013
Background information
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
GenresJazz, post-bop
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
InstrumentsPiano, Fender Rhodes
Years active1979–present

Bill Carrothers (born 1964 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is a jazz pianist and composer based in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.[1][2] He has cited Clifford Brown, Shirley Horn, and Oscar Peterson as influences on his development as a musician.[3][4] Carrothers performs without shoes to better feel the piano pedals, and sits in a chair rather than on a traditional piano bench in order to achieve his preferred seating height.[2][5]


Carrothers began playing piano at age five, studying with his church organist before learning jazz from Twin Cities pianist Bobby Peterson.[3][6] By age 15 he was performing in Twin Cities jazz clubs, and in 1982 he briefly attended North Texas State University.[4][7][8][9] Following his year at university, Carrothers re-settled in the Twin Cities and was a member of Irv Williams' band before moving to New York City in 1988.[10] During his five-year stint in New York he performed at the Knitting Factory, The Village Gate, and Birdland as well as Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.[1][3][4] Throughout his career, Carrothers has played live with a variety of musicians including Buddy DeFranco, Curtis Fuller, Billy Higgins, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Konitz, James Moody, Gary Peacock, Dewey Redman, Charlie Rouse, James Spaulding, Terell Stafford, Toots Thielemans, and Prince.[1][8][9][11] Carrothers has performed throughout Europe, in France at the New Morning, Nevers Jazz Festival, and Marciac Festival, in Belgium at the Audi Jazz Festival and Jazz Middelheim, and he headlined the Rising Star Tour in October, 2000 through Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.[1][2][3] In July, 2009, Carrothers played a week-long stand at the Village Vanguard with his European trio (Nicolas Thys and Dre Pallemaerts), a recording of which was released in 2011.[12] In his home state of Michigan, Carrothers performed a solo piano concert at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in April, 2010, and he made his Monterey Jazz Festival debut in September, 2011.[2][5][11] He is also a regular on the Chicago scene, having performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Green Mill, and The Jazz Showcase.[13] In 2011, Carrothers became an adjunct professor at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.[2][11][13] Carrothers frequently appears as part of the Copper Cats on The Red Jacket Jamboree. [14]

Awards and critical reception[edit]

Carrothers was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque for Jazz in 2004 and was nominated for the Les Victoires du Jazz (French Grammy Award equivalent) in 2005 and 2011.[2][7] He has also been featured in top ten lists published by Jazz Magazine, Le Monde, and JAZZIZ Magazine.[7] Down Beat called him "a probing, intelligent player" with "a beautiful touch and a wide stylistic range" who "never sounds less than a musician who thinks on his feet and channels emotions freely."[15][16]


As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1987? The Artful Dodger Bridge Boy
1997? The Blues and the Greys Bridge Boy Solo piano
1997? A Band In All Hope Ye Who Enter Here Bridge Boy Trio, with Anton Denner (alto sax, flute), Bill Stewart (percussion)
1999? After Hours, Vol. 4 Go Jazz Trio, with Billy Peterson (bass), Kenny Horst (drums)
1999? The Language of Crows Bridge Boy Duo, co-led with Wendy Lewis (vocals)
1999 Duets with Bill Stewart Dreyfus Duo, with Bill Stewart (drums)
2000 Swing Sing Songs Warner Bros. Trio, with Nicolas Thys (bass), Dre Pallemaerts (drums)
2001 The Electric Bill Dreyfus With Michael Lewis (tenor sax, soprano sax), Reid Anderson (acoustic bass, electric bass), Dave King (drums)
2002 Ghost Ships Sketch Trio, with Anton Denner (soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax), Bill Stewart (drums)
2003 Armistice 1918 Sketch With Mark Henderson (contrabass bass clarinet), Matt Turner (cello), Drew Gress (bass), Bill Stewart (drums), Jay Epstein (percussion), Peg Carrothers and Knob St Choir (vocals)
2003–04 Shine Ball Fresh Sound New Talent Trio, with Gordon Johnson (bass), Dave King (drums)
2004 I Love Paris Pirouet Trio, with Nicolas Thys (bass), Dre Pallemaerts (drums)
2004 Civil War Diaries Bridge Boy Solo piano; in concert
2006? No Choice Minium
2006 Keep Your Sunny Side Up Pirouet Trio, with Ben Street (bass), Ari Hoenig (drums)
2008? Home Row Pirouet With Gary Peacock (bass), Bill Stewart (drums)
2008 Play Day Bridge Boy With Jean-Marc Foltz (clarinet), Matt Turner (cello), Jean-Philippe Viret (bass), Dre Pallemaerts (drums), Jay Epstein (percussion), Peg Carrothers (vocals)
2009? Apnea Abeat
2009 Joy Spring Pirouet Trio, with Drew Gress (bass), Bill Stewart (drums)
2011? A Night at the Village Vanguard Pirouet Trio, with Nicolas Thys (bass), Dre Pallemaerts (drums)
2010 Excelsior Outnote
2012? Castaways Pirouet Trio, with Drew Gress (bass), Dre Pallemaerts (drums)
2012? Family Life Pirouet Solo piano
2012 Sunday Morning Vision Fugitive
2012 Love and Longing La Buissonne

As sideman[edit]

With Kevin Brady

  • Common Ground (LRP, 2007)
  • Zeitgeist (LRP, 2009)

With Scott Colley

With Dave Douglas

With Jay Epstein

  • Long Ago (GoneJazz, 1997)
  • Easy Company (GoneJazz, 2009)

With Jean-Marc Foltz

  • To the Moon (Ayler, 2011)

With Ray Gehring & Commonwealth

  • Radio Trails (Evan, 2009)

With Phil Grenadier

  • Playful Intentions (Fresh Sound, 2003)

With Happy Apple

With Gordon Johnson

  • Trios (Tonalities, 1996)

With Dave King

With Pat Mallinger

  • Home on Richmond (PJM, 2011)
  • Elevate (PJM, 2014)

With David Redmond

  • Roots (Fresh Sound, 2013)

With Andy Scherrer

  • Wrong is Right (TCB, 2008)

With Bill Stewart

  • Snide Remarks (Blue Note, 1995)
  • Telepathy (Blue Note, 1997)
  • Space Squid (Pirouet, 2016)

With Ira Sullivan

  • After Hours, Vol. 5 (Go Jazz, 2001)

With Kevin Tkacz

  • It's Not What You Think (Piece of Work of Art, 2008)

With Matt Turner

  • The Voices That Are Gone (Illusions, 2008)

With Robin Verheyen

  • Starbound (Pirouet, 2010)

With Bobby Z.


  1. ^ a b c d "Bill Carrothers | Biography." AllMusic, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Espeland, Pamela. "Between Sets: A Conversation with Pianist Bill Carrothers." A Blog Supreme. NPR, 19 Sept. 2011. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Arends, Robin. "Interview with Bill Carrothers." Interjazz, 27 Oct. 2013. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  4. ^ a b c McClenaghan, Dan. "Bill Carrothers: See the Piano, Play the Piano." All About Jazz, 25 May 2010. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  5. ^ a b Ephland, John. "Bill Carrothers Wanders down Jazzy, Dreamy Paths during Noon-time Gilmore Keyboard Festival Show." MLive. Kalamazoo Gazette, 28 Apr. 2010. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.
  6. ^ Hall, James. "Pianist Bill Carrothers Interview.", Apr. 2011. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Brady, Kevin. "Award Winning Jazz Pianist Bill Carrothers Returns to Ireland to Perform a National Tour.", 29 Jan. 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Auditions." Downbeat 56.2 (1989): 64. Print.
  9. ^ a b "Bill Carrothers." B.H. Hopper Management Ltd. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.
  10. ^ Protzman, Bob. "Reducing Gaps." Downbeat 64.4 (1997): 47. Print.
  11. ^ a b c McCoy, Brian. "Bill Carrothers Trio: Monterey Jazz Festival's Overlooked Gem.", 13 Sept. 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.
  12. ^ Bailey, C. Michael. "Bill Carrothers Trio: A Night At the Village Vanguard." All About Jazz, 03 June 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Lawrence University Faculty Jazz." Archived 2015-09-05 at the Wayback Machine Chicago Jazz Entertainment, 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Jackson, Michael. "Elevate." Downbeat 81.8 (2014): 83. Print.
  16. ^ Hale, James. "Freewheeling And Sensitive Keys." Downbeat 78.9 (2011): 50. Print.