Terri Lyne Carrington - BIOGRAPHY

Waiting Game - Release

 

GRAMMY® Award-winning drummer, producer, educator, activist and 2019 Doris Duke Award recipient Terri Lyne Carrington debuts new band Social Science, to boldly confront social justice issues with the eclectic collaborative double album, Waiting Game, released in November 2019.

Galvanized by seismic changes in the ever-evolving social and political landscape, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, confront a wide spectrum of social justice issues. The band’s stunning debut double album, Waiting Game, immediately takes its place in the stirring lineage of politically conscious and activist music, expressing an unflinching, inclusive and compassionate view of humanity’s breaks and bonds through an eclectic program melding jazz, R&B, indie rock, contemporary improvisation, and hip-hop.

Released on November 8 via Motéma Music, Waiting Game is as thought-provoking and artistically evocative as it is musically exhilarating. Produced by Carrington and built around her friendship and collaboration with co-producers, pianist Aaron Parks and guitarist Matthew Stevens, and supplemental band members Morgan Guerin (bass & sax), Debo Ray (vocals) and Kassa Overall (MC/DJ), the album features a diverse ensemble that spans multiple generations, racial, ethnic and gender identities. The band states: “Along with a message of wakefulness, inclusiveness, and noncompliance, we’ve summoned our musical influences to offer an eclectic alternative to the mainstream. Music transcends, breaks barriers, strengthens us, and heals old wounds. Music is Social Science.”

The vocal driven disc 1 features the core collective along with a power house line up of featured guest artists, including MC’s Rapsody, Maimouna Youssef (aka Mumu Fresh), Kokayi and Raydar Ellis; vocalist Mark Kibble (Take 6); trumpeter Nicholas Payton; and spoken word artists Malcolm Jamal-Warner and Meshell Ndegeocello, Words of resistance are pulled from the voices of Marilyn Buck, Angela Davis, Leonard Peltier, Assata Shakur and Laura Whitehorn, as well as a special newly recorded contribution from Mumia Abu Jamal of “In Prison Nation Radio.”

The purely instrumental disc 2 is a breathtaking, 42-minute improvised suite entitled “Dreams and Desperate Measures,” by Carrington, Parks, Stevens and long-time Carrington cohort, bassist Esperanza Spalding. With additional orchestration by Edmar Colón, disc 2 presents an adventurous excursion musing on the idea of freedom, both personal and musical.

 

As Social Science was in its early stages, Carrington also founded the Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where she holds the position of Zildjian Chair in Performance. Both projects point to Carrington’s drive to combine her musical passion with her profound regard for humanity, inflamed by the cultural divisiveness brought into the light by the 2016 presidential election. “I think there’s an awakening happening in society in general,” she says. “I feel a calling in my life to merge my artistry with any form of activism that I’m able to engage in.”

Waiting Game is not the first time that Carrington has addressed her concerns for society, though it is the most direct and impactful. On her 2013 release Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (GRAMMY winner for Best Jazz Instrumental Album), she offered a 21st-century reimagining of the Ellington-Mingus-Roach classic with a jaundiced eye on late-stage capitalism. Her previous and first GRAMMY-winning album, The Mosaic Project (2012) let its all-star, all-female ensemble speak for itself, though its argument for gender equity in jazz rang through loud and clear.

At that time Carrington preferred to focus on the music of The Mosaic Project rather than the gender of its musicians, though her thinking has shifted in the years since. “For a long time women in jazz didn't really embrace the issue because many of us were involved and somewhat invested in this patriarchal system that’s controlled jazz for so long,” she explains. “The system nudged us to want to be considered one of the guys. There came a turning point for me where I realized we had the whole thing backwards. We need to be our authentic selves playing this music, and that needs to be accepted and nurtured. The same opportunities that help to develop young male musicians need to be there to develop young female musicians, and traditionally that hasn’t been the case, especially in early stage development.”

Carrington cites as one of her inspirations for the change in approach the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), the African American youth organization founded by activists Charlene Carruthers and Dr. Cathy Cohen in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the killing of Trayvon Martin. The organization’s work helped Carrington to more fully integrate her personal identity into her musical life.

“I’ve realized that at this point in my life the lines between my politics and personal life have become blurred,” she says. “BYP100 really resonates with me, as a home for anti-capitalists, radical Black feminists, abolitionists, artists, educators and many other types of freedom fighters. It’s helped me to see the value in the idea of collective liberation, which is really the core message of Waiting Game. I aspire to see the world through a Black, Queer, Feminist lens and want to encourage others to do so as well, because no one is liberated until everyone is.”

“In order to empower the current generation of women and girls,” (Matthew) Stevens comments ”we must also engage men and boys. Gender equality should never be sold as a zero-sum game, but rather, (as research has repeatedly shown by studying counties with higher rates of gender equality) as being in everyone’s best interest. For white men” he adds, “the unconscious luxury of not being self aware—unaware of our gender, race and privilege— is, in fact, destructive and can’t continue to be left unexamined if we want a more equal society.”

The subjects addressed on Waiting Game run the gamut of social concerns: mass incarceration (“Trapped in the American Dream,” featuring Kassa Overall’s bold rap); police brutality (“Bells [Ring Loudly],” intoned by actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner); homophobia (“Pray The Gay Away,” featuring Nicholas Payton’s impassioned horn); the genocide of indigenous Americans (“Purple Mountains,” featuring Kokayi); political imprisonment (“No Justice [for political prisoners],” with Meshell Ndegeocello’s recitation in honor of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Marilyn Buck, Angela Davis, Leonard Peltier, Assata Shakur and Laura Whitehorn), and gender equity (as expressed in the powerful messages of “The Anthem,” featuring Rapsody and “If Not Now,” featuring Maimouna Youssef).

“There is a tremendous amount of work to be done if we want to make this country actually live up to its as-yet-unrealized aspirations toward true freedom and equality,” reflects Aaron Parks. “Activists and organizers have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting for a long time, and are absolutely crucial, but there’s an important role for everyone to play in this process. As a member of Social Science, I aim to listen to, learn from, and amplify the voices of those who have been far too often marginalized and unheard. To help to share these stories, these songs of outrage, of hope, of despair, of healing, of love.”

Sonically, Waiting Game is a vivid reflection of the broad horizons of the band’s musical tastes, embellished and amplified by their receptiveness to dynamic collaboration. In regard to Carrington, this outing’s genre-blurring blend is more dazzling and expansive than anything she’s done in the past; what’s most impressive about Waiting Game is the way that it allows Carrington’s social consciousness to catch up to her virtuosic musicianship.

“In previous projects I’ve hinted at my concerns for the society and the community that I live in,” Carrington says. “But everything has been pointing in this direction. At some point you have to figure out your purpose in life. There are a lot of drummers deemed ‘great.’ For me, that’s not as important as the legacy you leave behind.”

Bio (Long, 611 words)

Celebrating 40 years in music, three-time GRAMMY® award-winning drummer, producer, educator and activist, Terri Lyne Carrington started her professional career in Massachusetts at 10 years old when she became the youngest person to receive a union card in Boston. She was featured as a “kid wonder” in many publications and on local and national tv shows. After studying under a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music, Carrington worked as an in-demand musician in New York City, and later moved to Los Angeles, where she gained recognition on late night TV as the house drummer for both the Arsenio Hall Show and Quincy Jones’ VIBE TV show, hosted by Sinbad.

In 1989, Ms. Carrington released a GRAMMY®-nominated debut CD on Verve Forecast, Real Life Story, and toured extensively with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, among others. In 2011 she released the GRAMMY®Award-winning album, The Mosaic Project, featuring a cast of all-star women instrumentalists and vocalists, and in 2013 she released, Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, which also earned a GRAMMY®Award, and established her as the first woman ever to win in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category.

To date Ms. Carrington has performed on over 100 recordings and has been a role model and advocate for young women and men internationally through her teaching and touring careers. She has worked extensively with luminary artists such as Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, James Moody, Yellowjackets and Esperanza Spalding, and many more. Ms. Carrington’s 2015 release, The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL, featured performances of iconic vocalists Chaka Kahn, Natalie Cole, and Nancy Wilson.

In 2003, Ms. Carrington received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music and was appointed professor at the college in 2005, where she currently serves as the Founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, which recruits, teaches, mentors, and advocates for musicians seeking to study jazz with gender equity as a guiding principle, and asks the important question, “what would jazz sound like in a culture without patriarchy?” She also serves as Artistic Director for Berklee’s Summer Jazz Workshop, co-curator for BAMS Fest, and co-Artistic Director of The Carr Center, Detroit, MI.

In 2019 Ms. Carrington was granted The Doris Duke Artist Award, a prestigious acknowledgment in recognition of her past and ongoing contributions to jazz music. Her current band project, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science (a collaboration with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens), released their debut album, Waiting Game, in November, 2019 on Motema Music. Galvanized by seismic changes in the ever-evolving social and political landscape, Waiting Game expresses an unflinching, inclusive, and compassionate view of humanity’s breaks and bonds through an eclectic program melding jazz, R&B, indie rock, contemporary improvisation, and hip-hop.

Both Waiting Game and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice point to Carrington’s drive to combine her musical passion with her profound regard for humanity. Waiting Game is not the first time that Carrington has addressed her concerns for society, though it is the most direct and impactful. The subjects addressed on Waiting Game run the gamut of social concerns: mass incarceration, police brutality, homophobia, the genocide of indigenous Americans, political imprisonment, and gender equity.

“In previous projects I’ve hinted at my concerns for the society and the community that I live in,” Carrington says. “But everything has been pointing in this direction. At some point you have to figure out your purpose in life. There are a lot of drummers deemed ‘great.’ For me, that’s not as important as the legacy you leave behind.”


Bio (Short, 276 words)


Three-time GRAMMY® award-winning drummer, producer, educator and activist, Terri Lyne Carrington started her professional career as a “kid wonder” while studying under a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the mid '80’s she worked as an in-demand drummer in New York before gaining national recognition on late night TV as the house drummer for both the Arsenio Hall Show and Quincy Jones’ VIBE TV show.

In 1989, Ms. Carrington released a GRAMMY®-nominated debut CD on Verve Forecast, Real Life Story, and toured extensively with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, among others. In 2011 she released the GRAMMY®Award-winning album, The Mosaic Project, featuring a cast of all-star women instrumentalists and vocalists, and in 2013 she released Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, which also earned a GRAMMY®Award, and established her as the first woman ever to win in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category.

To date Ms. Carrington has performed on over 100 recordings and has worked extensively with luminary artists such as Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, James Moody, Yellowjackets, Esperanza Spalding, and many more. Additionally, Ms. Carrington is an honorary doctorate recipient from Berklee, and currently serves as Founder and Artistic Director for the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.

In 2019 Ms. Carrington was granted the Doris Duke Artist Award, a prestigious acknowledgment in recognition of her past and ongoing contributions to jazz music. Her current band project, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science (a collaboration with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens), released their debut album, Waiting Game, in November, 2019 on Motema Music.






 

Photographs

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TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON