[JPL] Terri Lynne Carrington
Jazz Promo Services
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Mon Jun 4 09:58:46 EDT 2007
Women in Jazz
Michael A Edwards
Monday, June 04, 2007
Drummer-bandleader Terri Lynne Carrington speaks to the media during the
30th Atlanta Jazz festival.
Our Atlanta sojourn brought us in contact with two jazz women, one well
known, the other just beginning her arc in the jazz spotlight, whose stories
are worth telling.
Though only in her early 40s, Terri Lynne Carrington has already lived
several lifetimes as a first-call jazz drummer, bandleader, educator and
all-around ambassador for the artform.
Having first played the drums at age six, she has since performed throughout
the US and around the world (including a visit to Jamaica in 2004).
Apart from being one of a small but growing cadre of first-line female jazz
drummers, Carrington's distinguishing trait, by her own admission, is "a
funky way of playing jazz". This gift has meant that she's just as
comfortable supporting straight-ahead artistes as fusion artistes,
dyed-in-the-wool traditional vocalists (like longtime family friend Nancy
Wilson) or the more eclectic Cassandra Wilson (whose oeuvre includes covers
of songs by Sting, The Isley Brothers and the Monkees).
But Carrington reserves some of her biggest praise for two players in
particular. Pianist Herbie Hancock, who is himself a study in musical
diversity (having done everything from Gershwin to hip hop), and saxophonist
Wayne Shorter, whom Carrington calls her 'spiritual mentor'. She credits
Hancock for his incredible creativity as her most rewarding musical
experience, and fittingly, her performance on the Saturday night of the
festival preceded that of the maestro (they did not play together on that
Carrington again called on Wilson for her latest project, called More To
Say, the follow-up to an earlier project, called Real-Life Stories.
"I had written this song, and it just came to me that she [Wilson] was the
only one who could voice it the way I was hearing it in my head. Even though
she's a family friend and someone I just have tremendous love and admiration
for, I was a little hesitant about calling her up and asking her to do it,
partly because of her schedule. So I just so happy when she said, 'anything
for Terri. I'll do it."
The CD will be released shortly, but Carrington continues on her
multi-faceted path in the meantime. When asked though, about possible hip
hop collaborations, she's cautious. "It is the music that my generation grew
up on, but it would have to be the right project, something I can be really
She may be new to the jazz spotlight, but 25-year-old Nefertari Bey has the
right antecedents in more than one jazz style.
She's a not-too-distant relative of acclaimed vocalist Andy Bey, and closer
to home, her dad, Lester Lashley was a charter member of landmark free jazz
outfit The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM),
which also gave the jazz world Muhal Richard Abrams, Malachi Favors and
At age eight, Nefertari made her first serious moves, taking up the clarinet
and was subsequently part of several local ensembles.
Today, having studied under luminaries Barry Harris and Sheila Jordan,
having gained a BA and MM (Master's in Music) in classical performance, jazz
studies and music education, and having performed widely (includinga
just-completed tour of Russia), Nefertari arrives in Atlanta and closes a
circle of sorts. Only a few years earlier she served as a Jazzteer, part of
the behind-the-scenes volunteer corp that keeps events of this magnitude
"It was a fantastic experience," she recalls. "I got to learn so much, about
music and about people that just broadened my whole perspective and prepared
me for a moment like this."
The moment was her Monday night (Memorial Day) slot alongside the likes of
Monty Alexander, sax great Lou Donaldson and rising fusion star Mike
Phillips. Bey is also readying her debut CD for release later in the summer.
Through it all, her passionate spirituality keeps her grounded (delightfully
so). "I'm really grateful to God for giving me this gift and allowing me to
share it with people around the world. People take it for granted, but the
music has been good to me and I want, through my work to touch others with
the same love."
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