Baikida Carroll biography

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Michael Formanek

Baikida CarrollBaikida Carroll (trumpeter, composer) is a highly pivotal figure in the music world.  He has written scores that have distinguished theater, dance, TV, film and concerts for three decades.  His music has been heard at major forums throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Walker Arts Center, New York Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre, Asolo Theatre, Le Grande Palais (Paris), the Belgium Opera, La Mama, Corcoran Gallery, Crossroads, the Berlin Opera, Chicago Art Museum and the JVC, Heritage and Montreux Jazz festivals.

His theater works include The Mighty Gents by Richard Wesley, Eugene Sheen by Malinke Elliot, Poem for a Revolutionary Night by Larry Neal, Coontown Bicentennial Memorial Service with Julius Hemphill, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, Miss Julie by August Strindberg, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, Legacies by Kermit Frasier and Shakespeare's King Lear.  He also scored Betsey Brown, a musical by Ntozake Shange and Emily Mann.

As a musician, he has performed and recorded with such artists as Dewey Redman, Oliver Nelson, Albert King, David Murray, Jay McShann, Amiri Baraka, Patti LaBelle, Little Milton, Michael Gregory, David Sancious, Charlie Haden, Roscoe Mitchell, Dr John and Anthony Braxton. He was a featured soloist on Julius Hemphill's first two albums, Dogon AD and Coon Bid'ness, on Oliver Lake's first album, NTU, on John Carter's classic Castles of Ghana, on Muhal Richard Abrams' 1983 Down Beat Record of the Year Blues Forever and on Jack DeJohnette's acclaimed Inflation Blues. He has four previous recordings under his own name: Orange Fish Tears (Palm), The Spoken Word (Hat Art),  Shadows and Reflections (Soul Note) and Door of the Cage (Soul Note).

In 1987, Baikida was stricken with Bell's Palsy which left half of his embouchure permanently paralyzed.  It took a year of hard work, patience, determination and dedication to regain a simple single tone and another two years to re-train and regain his technique.

Baikida has been noted for his big warm dark tone and his conversational approach to improvising.  He has the technique, versatility and extreme sensitivity to command the most challenging improvisational demands.

Baikida scored a documentary for WNET (New York) Jewels in the Test Tube.  He is a composer for the highly acclaimed 1995 hit Broadway show Having Our Say by Emily Mann.

His newest CD, Marionettes on a High Wire (OmniTone), is the much-anticipated and long-overdue follow-up to his highly acclaimed Door of the Cage (Soul Note), music that's fresh, intelligent and dynamic, tight yet open.   It swings, sings, probes, and has more of the engaging group interplay Baikida Carroll the musician and composer inspires.

Visit Baikida's website at

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