Bill Carrothers

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Bill Carrothers
Carrothers at the Artists' Quarter, 2013
Carrothers at the Artists' Quarter, 2013
Background information
Born (1964-07-13) July 13, 1964 (age 56)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
GenresJazz, post-bop
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
InstrumentsPiano, Fender Rhodes
Years active1979–present

Bill Carrothers (born July 13, 1964[1]) is a jazz pianist and composer based in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.[2][3] He has cited Clifford Brown, Shirley Horn, and Oscar Peterson as influences on his development as a musician.[4][5] 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.[3][6]


Carrothers began playing piano at age five, studying with his church organist before learning jazz from pianist Bobby Peterson.[4][7] By age 15 he was performing in jazz clubs, and in 1982 he briefly attended North Texas State University.[5][8][9]

After a year at North Texas, Carrothers was a member of Irv Williams' band before moving to New York City in 1988.[10] He performed at the Knitting Factory, The Village Gate, and Birdland as well as Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.[2][4][5] He has worked with 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.[2][8][9][11]

Carrothers has performed 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.[2][3][4] 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.[3][6][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.[3][11][13] In 2017, Carrothers began performing with the Copper Cats on The Red Jacket Jamboree.[14]

Awards and honors[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.[3]


As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1987? The Artful Dodger Bridge Boy
1993 Ye Who Enter Here Bridge Boy A Band in All Hope, with Anton Denner (alto sax, flute), Bill Stewart (percussion)[15]
1998 The Blues and the Greys Bridge Boy Solo piano[15]
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]

  • Brownmark, Just Like That (Motown, 1988)
  • Scott Colley, Subliminal (Criss Cross, 1997)
  • Dave Douglas, Moving Portrait (DIW, 1998)
  • Happy Apple, Part of the Solutionproblem (No Alternative, Liberation Mob 1998)
  • Gordon Johnson, Trios (Igmod, 1996)
  • Dave King, I've Been Ringing You (Sunnyside, 2012)
  • John McKenna, Apparition (Igmod, 1998)
  • Andy Scherrer, Wrong Is Right (TCB, 2007)
  • Andy Scherrer, Ornithology (Kelso, 2013)
  • Bill Stewart, Snide Remarks (Blue Note, 1995)
  • Bill Stewart, Telepathy (Blue Note, 1997)
  • Bill Stewart, Space Squid (Pirouet, 2015)
  • Ira Sullivan, After Hours (Go Jazz, 2000)
  • Bobby Z., Bobby Z (Virgin, 1989)


  1. ^ | "Bill Carrothers | Biography"
  2. ^ a b c d "Bill Carrothers | Biography." AllMusic, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c d Arends, Robin. "Interview with Bill Carrothers." Interjazz, 27 Oct. 2013. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  5. ^ a b c McClenaghan, Dan. "Bill Carrothers: See the Piano, Play the Piano." All About Jazz, 25 May 2010. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Hall, James. "Pianist Bill Carrothers Interview." Archived 2015-04-04 at the Wayback Machine, Apr. 2011. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Auditions." Downbeat 56.2 (1989): 64. Print.
  9. ^ a b "Bill Carrothers." B.H. Hopper Management 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. ^ Kelly, Corey (27 December 2018). "Red Jacket Jamboree". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  15. ^ a b Meyer, Jim. "Local: Jazz" Minneaopolis Star-Tribune, 29 Mar 1998. Web. 03 Jun. 2020.