Considered to be one of the finest saxophonists in the country…

Shelley Carrol (HSPVA ’82) hails from a family of gospel singers and musicians in Houston, Texas. It was there that the music bug bit him at an early age and landed him in the famed Boys Choir of Houston. After picking up the saxophone, he was able to study with the legendary Texas Tenor greats Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson. At the time he didn’t know how revered these gentlemen were around the globe. They simply lived in his neighborhood. Shelley attended the city’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and was a standout in the city’s Summer Jazz Workshop Program. This is where he developed a true flair for the stage.

While attending the University of North Texas, Shelley earned 1st tenor in the Grammy-nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. There he recorded two critically acclaimed CD’s in 1990 – 91. During the same period, Mr. Carrol was invited to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra by trumpeter Barrie Lee Hall. This would prove to be an enormous musical opportunity with worldwide exposure. Since joining the band, he has toured the U. S. and over 30 foreign countries. He has also recorded and/or performed with Sheryl Crow, Maureen McGovern, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Roger Waters and a host of others. Shelley evolved to record as a leader in 1997. He was able to feature members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra on his debut CD for Leaning House Records. His second CD, A Distant Star, was released in the fall of 2001. The disc features pianist Bernard Wright, bassist Curtis Lundy, and drummer Sebastian Whittaker. This sophomore effort easily got the critics and fans buzzing with excitement. Carrol’s third release was recently recorded with his Monday night band. This group has been featured at The New Amsterdam Bar in Dallas for several years. Their CD entitled Gentle Friend is now available. His latest recording is entitled I Heard That and features some iconic guest artists like the late Marchel Ivery, Stefan Karlsson, Roger Boykin, and vocalist Ardina Lockhart. Shelley also feels a need to share his musical gift with today’s youth. He currently teaches privately in the Dallas area and gives clinics whenever he can. He even has plans to develop a Summer Jazz Workshop in Dallas. He says “…music has to be shared to truly be enjoyed.” Anyone who listens to his tenor saxophone would have to agree.

Carrol was a 2006 finalist in the Texas Commission for the Arts “State Musician” recognition and was also named the 2007 “Sammons Center Jazz Artist of the Year,” the highest accolade possible for Dallas/Ft. Worth area jazz musician. He was a 2014 Dallas Observer nominee for “Best Jazz Act.” Shelley has recently toured with multi-platinum artists Sheryl Crow, Gary Clark, Jr. and Kool and the Gang. This has led to many endorsements and various national TV appearances.

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