Born in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1965, Terri developed a reputation as a child prodigy, jamming with jazz veterans Dizzy Gillespie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Oscar Peterson, Joe Williams, and many more. At seven, she was given her first set of drums, which had belonged to her grandfather, Matt Carrington, who had played with Fats Waller and Chu Berry.
After studying privately for three years, she played her first major performance at the Wichita Jazz Festival with Clark Terry. Shortly afterward she received a full scholarship at age eleven to Berklee College of Music where she started playing with such people as Kevin Eubanks, Mike Stern, Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby and others. She also studied under master drum instructor Alan Dawson and made a private recording entitled, TLC and Friends, with Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, George Coleman and her dad, Sonny Carrington, before turning 17. Throughout high school Terri traveled across the country doing clinics at schools and colleges and in 1983, encouraged by her mentor, Jack DeJohnette, moved to New York and started working with Stan Getz, James Moody, Lester Bowie, Pharoah Sanders, Cassandra Wilson and David Sanborn.
In 1989, Terri moved to Los Angeles where she became the drummer for the “The Arsenio Hall Show”. She has also toured the globe with Mike Stern, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock and spiritual mentor, Wayne Shorter. Her debut release on Polygram, Real Life Story, was nominated for a Grammy Award and featured Carlos Santana, Patrice Rushen, John Scofield, Grover Washington, Jr., and Gerald Albright.
Recently, she has concentrated her efforts on writing and producing with various artists including Gino Vannelli, Dianne Reeves, Siedah Garrett, Marilyn Scott and Danish pop singers Stig Rossen and Monique. Her production of Dianne Reeves’ Grammy-nominated CD, That Day, hovered at the top of the charts for many months. Terri was also the drummer on the late night TV show, “VIBE”, hosted by Sinbad.
In 1998, she recorded along with Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock’s CD, Gershwin’s World and is currently touring with both his electric and acoustic bands. Her CD, Jazz is A Spirit, (released in March 2002 on the ACT Music label) has enjoyed considerable media attention and critical acclaim in the European and Japanese markets.
For more than two decades, drummer, producer and vocalist Terri Lyne Carrington has crafted an eclectic brand of jazz that incorporates elements of bebop, soul, funk and much more. Since her debut in 1989, the Grammy-nominated artist has established a reputation for assembling artists of varying styles and perspectives to create music that adheres to the traditions of jazz yet speaks to a much broader and more diverse audience. Carrington brings this same diverse sensibility to her new recording The Mosaic Project (2011), an album that once again gathers a myriad of voices and crystallizes them into a multi-faceted whole that far outweighs the sum of its parts.
“Everything about this recording is about making a larger picture out of many various elements,” says Carrington, who produced the fourteen-song set. “I assembled several friends - most of whom I’ve performed with in the past, and all of whom bring their own individual story - to help me create the big picture. For as talented as each of them are as individuals, when I put them all together, I have a much greater musical story - one that can be told in an interesting and compelling way.”
Included on that list of friends are 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 says the emergence of so many great female jazz artists is what finally makes an album like The Mosaic Project possible, more so now than in decades past.
“If I had tried to do something like this in the past - like when I started playing 25 years ago - I might have felt limited by the pool of available musicians,” she says. “But now there are so many talented women whom I’ve been playing with anyway - not just because they’re women but because I love the way they play. So it has become easier to do a special project that celebrates the artistry and the musicality of these women.”
Clearly, Carrington’s picture is never quite what it seems. With so many individual voices and perspectives in the mix, the results are often eye-opening and ear-opening. “There’s one part of me that’s kind of a jazz head who likes complex, thought provoking melodies and harmonies,” she says. “And then there’s another part of me that really likes funk and pop and things that are accessible. This record is another chance for me to assemble all of these great musicians to help me combine those different aspects of myself - those different pieces - and create something special in the process.
The release of Grammy-winning drummer, composer and bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington’s homage to Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach is scheduled to coincide with the 50th anniversary of their iconic 1963 Money Jungle album. Carrington enlists the aid of two high-profile collaborators keyboardist Gerald Clayton and bassist Christian McBride to pay tribute to Duke, his trio and his creative vision with a cover of this historic recording. Guests include trumpeter Clark Terry, trombonist Robin Eubanks, reed players Tia Fuller and Antonio Hart, guitarist Nir Felder, percussionist Arturo Stabile and vocalists Shea Rose and Lizz Wright. Herbie Hancock closes the album quoting Ellington, with observations about the role of music in society and the popularity of money versus the popularity of art.