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Interview With Terri Lyne Carrington


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Terri Lyne Carrington

Terri Lyne Carrington

Multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning drummer, composer and bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington was born in 1965 in Medford, Massachusetts. After an extensive touring career of over 20 years with luminaries like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Joe Sample, Cassandra Wilson, Clark Terry, Dianne Reeves and more, she recently returned to her hometown where she was appointed professor at her alma mater, Berklee College of Music. Terri Lyne also received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 2003. After studying under full scholarship at Berklee, with the encouragement of her mentor, Jack DeJohnette, Carrington moved to New York in 1983. For 5 years she was a much in-demand musician, working with James Moody, Lester Bowie, Pharoah Sanders, and others. In the late ‘80s she relocated to Los Angeles, where she gained recognition on late night TV as the house drummer for the Arsenio Hall Show, then again in the late ‘90s as the drummer on the Quincy Jones late night TV show, VIBE, hosted by Sinbad.

In 1989, Carrington released a GRAMMY®-nominated debut CD entitled Real Life Story, which featured Carlos Santana, Grover Washington Jr., Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Patrice Rushen, Gerald Albright, John Scofield, Robert Irving III, Greg Osby, Don Alias and Hiram Bullock. Other solo CDs include 2002’s Jazz is a Spirit, which features Herbie Hancock, Gary Thomas, Wallace Roney, Terence Blanchard, Kevin Eubanks, and Bob Hurst, and 2004’s Structure, a cooperative group which features Adam Rogers, Jimmy Haslip and Greg Osby. Both CDs were released on the Europe-based ACT Music label and enjoyed considerable media attention and critical acclaim in the European and Japanese markets. Carrington’s production and songwriting collaborations with artists such as Gino Vannelli, Peabo Bryson, Dianne Reeves, Siedah Garrett, Marilyn Scott have produced notable works as well, including Dianne Reeves CD, Beautiful Life, which won 2014 GRAMMY® for Best Jazz Vocal CD.

Carrington has performed on many recordings throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s thru today. Notable examples of her work include Herbie Hancock’s GRAMMY® Award-winning CD Gershwin’s World, where she played alongside Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder. She has toured with each of Hancock’s musical configurations (from electric to acoustic) over the last 15 years and is featured on his Future2Future DVD. After a hiatus from the U.S. recording scene as a solo recording artist, Carrington returned in 2008 with More To Say… (Real Life Story: NextGen). Joining her was an impressive all-star cast of jazz and contemporary jazz instrumentalists, including George Duke, Everette Harp, Kirk Whalum, Greg Phillinganes, Patrice Rushen, Robert Irving III (who also serves as co-producer), Chuck Loeb, Les McCann and a special appearance by esteemed vocalist Nancy Wilson. Carrington released The Mosaic Project in July 2011, her fifth recording overall and first on Concord Jazz. The critically acclaimed CD, which won a GRAMMY® Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, gathered a myriad of voices and crystallized them into a multi-faceted whole that far outweighed the sum of its parts.

She produced the 14-song set which featured some of the most prominent female jazz artists of the last few decades: Esperanza Spalding, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sheila E., Nona Hendryx, Cassandra Wilson, Geri Allen and several others. Carrington said the emergence of so many great female jazz artists is what made an album like The Mosaic Project possible, more so than in decades past. In 2013 Carrington released Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, which won her a second GRAMMY® Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and established her as the first woman to ever win in this category. The recording, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the release of the iconic 1963 Money Jungle album, is a homage to Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach and features Gerald Clayton on piano and Christian McBride on bass, with guests Clark Terry, Lizz Wright, Herbie Hancock and others. Her current release, The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL, featuring Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Valerie Simpson, Oleta Adams, Lalah Hathaway, Ledisi, Paula Cole and more is steadily climbing the jazz and R and B charts.