Carl Sally born in Columbus, Ohio in 1936 was raised on the Westside by his grandmother, Virginia Ingram in a part of Columbus known as the Bottoms. Today it is known as the historical birthplace of the city of Columbus and is called Franklinton. Even though his father was not in the home he was a caring and devoted man. Carl attended Franklinton Elementary School where he started playing music in the fourth grade at the tender age of 10 years old.
At the age of 12, Carl, won six awards in music and was on his way to a bright future as a musician. Carl, at this time, was introduced to the famous, Lionel Hampton, by former Columbus mayor and governor, James A. Rhodes. All this occurred while he attended Starling Junior High School. Carl won a first place trophy in the All Boys Club Talent Contest. It was presented to him by the comedian and actor, Bob Hope. This had a profound effect on him and caused him to create his first band in high school were they performed for his graduating class.
After graduating from Central High School a year early in 1954, he entered The Ohio State University in the School of Business. While attending OSU Carl became an outstanding basketball player from 1954 to 1955 under coach, Fred Taylor. He worked in the Radiology Department at Grant Hospital, while attending OSU.
Carl started his first professional band know as The Carl Sally Combo in 1956 with a close friend who was also from Columbus, Don Patterson. The band went on to play many venues and engagements around Columbus. Carl seemed to have patterned himself after another talented Columbus saxophonist, Rusty Bryant. He always had band members around him who worked hard to create a great sound. It has been said that it was hard not to get up and dance when Carl Sally’s band played.
The summer of 1956 saw Carl Sally going on the road with the great rock ‘n’ roll guitarist, Chuck Berry. This was his first venture out of the state of Ohio and around the country. They traveled and played top night clubs in New York City, Boston, Montreal, Toronto and many stage shows throughout the rest of the United States.
During this time Carl recorded and performed with a number of top named groups, the Dells, The Five Keys, The Everly Brothers, Jack Lemmon, Tab Hunter and Al Hibler and made a television appearance on the weekly Arthur Godfrey Show. In 1959, Carl recorded two very well received songs, “Madison Shuffle” and “Midnight Sun.” The records were a big hit in the Midwest and in the New England area. In the early 1960s, he played in New York City at a very upscale venue known as the Montclair Supper Club in Long Island, New York. There he played with many of the Latin jazz greats, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, the great Machito and a local Columbus singer, Sonny Graver. He also did an appearance at the 1962 World’s Fair.
When Carl returned to Columbus during this time, he loved to play at Kitty’s Show Bar. He also, performed many concerts on college campuses throughout the United States, Kenyon College, Dennison University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Yale University, but Ohio State was his first love. He performed for President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.
In 1974, Carl was booked into the Sheraton Hotel chain where he played in many of their supper clubs and entertainment venues. He performed promotional music for commercials for the Sheraton chain, also. In 1978, he was promoted to Entertainment Director and opened the new Sheraton Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. Carl worked for the Sheraton chain until his retirement in 1988.
Carl being a great sports fan loved performing the National Anthem at many major league venues such as baseball, football, basketball and the Kentucky Derby. All had sponsorships from the Sheraton Hotel Corporation.
From his retirement in 1988 to the present, Carl has worked special engagements to keep him in touch with the world of entertainment. However, in 2009 the entertainment bug struck him once more and has brought him back stronger than ever because he still has great passion for the music he loves. Carl Sally has been inducted and is a member of the Ohio Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Hall of Fame (2002).
Carl Sally is available now for club and private party engagements.