Discover The Musical Canvas of Dennis Carroll






My bass is 148 years old. This instrument was hand carved in Baden Baden in the Black Forest, Germany.

When I came to Chicago in 1985 it was a great time. A great time because that last generation of masters we’re still with us: Jodie Christian, Von Freeman, Earma Thompson, Marshall Thompson, Robert Barry, John Young, Wilbur Campbell, Robert Shy, Kenny Prince and Lin Halliday were performing on a regular basis, and I got to play with all of them. 

In addition to that was the golden opportunity to play with Chicago geniuses Eddie Harris, Clifford Jordan Johnny Griffin and Ira Sullivan when they came to town. I was so lucky.

Also, I was so lucky to go to Laszlo Pinter’s violin shop in Wrigleyville one day in need of a bass. Laszlo was from the old world, a first rate craftsman to the core and one of the last masters of his generation in the European tradition of Violin and Bass expertise.
He heard me play in his shop, and told me that he would find a bass for me based on what he heard and what I told him I was looking for. He called me one day, and said quickly, ‘it’s here’. I’ve never looked back, and I’ve never owned another instrument since.

My 148 year old bass, click for the story
an album release Feb 11, 2022

Dennis Carroll

Holding the line for combos to orchestras. DC plays with top musicians and emerging talent all over the world, but Chicago is home
People is an amazing album of American Tunes arranged by Dennis Carroll. Performed by the legendary Soul Message group featuring Hinda Hoffman on vocals and Greg Ward on sax. Listen to a sample of Get Out Of Town
Bassist Extraordinaire


DC is a prolific student of the arts, and it flows into his writing and creating style.

Here is one of DC's new tunes playing with George Fludas, Dennis and Joey Skoch.


Dennis has a lifetime legacy for teaching and coaching young and old players alike. At DePaul University, he teaches the Bass and you can see a picture of "his combo" performing. Not only does he teach them the

music, he teaches the art of performance.

No matter where Dennis is, he gravitates to young musicians and feeds the flames of the American songbook, our natural music and history.

Dennis' love and musical chops started at a young age with his father, a musical educator who was legendary in his area of southwestern Wisconsin. Dennis lost both his parents in a car crash when he was 19.


As a professional musician, Dennis took no shortcuts and has learned from some of the most venerable musicians to grace a stage. When you see Dennis, you are looking at a man who is carrying the traditions of American music, keeping them alive and entertaining audiences at the same time.




As a musician, teacher and student, Dennis uses his many talents and experiences to create arrangements that fit artists, or even better, stretches them.

Here he is in studio going over a session with premier jazz guitarist Lee Rothenberg. They are recording the People album, a Soul Message Band album featuring Hinda Hoffman on vocals and Greg Ward on sax. DC arranges and chose the tunes and Joey Skoch did the arrangements.

 Bassist and more

Dennis is the go to player for out of town greats who come into Chicago. Here is a picture with George Fludas as they back up Johnny O'Neal, a great keyboardist from NYC at Winters Jazz in Chicago. Musicians need top pros to walk in and start playing with them like they had been together for years.

When you need great music for any reason, Dennis is a good place to start. Whether its; playing live, teaching and sharing all the wonders and tunes in the American songbook, or creating and arranging music and musical experiences.

Music done well is a powerful force in your events, messaging and brand. If you need to make music, make it exceptional with DC.

The Step Sessions

When COVID hit, Lee Rothenberg (the guitarist) Lee approached Dennis and asked if he would want to play music on the steps of his condo.

Since there was no place else to play, the trio; Lee Rothenberg, Dennis Carroll and Neil Hemphill came out most weekends to play some of the best music ever written, much from years of experience and the American songbook.

In this picture you see the incomparable Greg Ward and master pianist Joey Skoch (from Cleveland) as they made guest appearances. Several of the best musicians in the area (and out of the area) dropped in for an afternoon session.


Rain or shine, with people walking through on the sidewalk, the el, wind and darkness, a community showed up and it created a place to relax from the world's problems. Enjoy this music.

Currently plays with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra as the principal bassist, and keeps all his buddies on the line 

As a teacher at DePaul, Dennis is sharing his passion of musicianship to the next generation of musicians and affecionados.

As a writer and composer of original music, Dennis' work has been played in great clubs by top musicians. To listen to one or more of his compositions, click here.

Around town, "DC" can be found in one of the many great Chicagoland clubs with a few friends that swing.

Dennis Carroll has a lifelong love of music and his instrument

The Bobby Broom Trio