Terri Lyne Carrington life and biography

Terri Lyne Carrington picture, image, poster

Terri Lyne Carrington biography

Date of birth : 1965-08-04
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Medford, Massachusetts,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-11-02
Credited as : jazz singer, jazz drummer, Hancock

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Terri Lyne Carrington is a jazz drummer, composer, record producer and entrepreneur. She has played with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Yellowjackets, and many more. For example, she has toured with each of Hancock's musical configurations (from electric to acoustic) between 1997 and 2007.

By the time drummer Terri Lyne Carrington released her solo debut, Real Life Story, in 1988 at the age of 23, she boasted a resume of which many jazz musicians can only dream. A child prodigy who entered the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston at the age of eleven, Carrington developed her skills in the classroom as well as on stage with some of jazz music's most legendary names.

Carrington was born into a musical family in Medford, Massachusetts, on August 4, 1965. Her mother played piano as a hobby and her father, Sonny Carrington, was a tenor saxophone player and president of the Boston Jazz Society. Her grandfather, Matt Carrington, played drums with Fats Waller and Chu Berry. Carrington began her musical studies on the alto saxophone, but gave it up when she lost her baby teeth and then found it hard to manipulate the instrument. Discovering her grandfather's old drum kit underneath a stairwell in her family's home, she pestered her father to assemble it for her. He did, and Carrington proved a natural.

Carrington began to take drum lessons from Keith Copeland and sit in with jazz veterans such as trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, pianist Oscar Peterson, and vocalist Joe Williams. When she was ten, trumpeter Clark Terry brought her to the Wichita Jazz Festival to perform with his ensemble. There she met drummer Buddy Rich, who secured Carrington a spot on a television show called To Tell the Truth.

A year later when Carrington was eleven, she received a special scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, where she remained for three semesters. While at Berklee she performed with such up-and-coming musicians as guitarist Kevin Eubanks and saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Greg Osby. In 1981 she recorded a privately issued album, TLC and Friends, with her father and with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Buster Williams, and saxophonist George Coleman.

Carrington recalled in the online magazine All Access that, although her father was also a jazz musician, he never pressured her to follow in his footsteps. "He wanted me to do whatever I wanted with my life," she said. "But I chose to play, because it was the most interesting thing to me. Playing so young let me see how it was really done, and it meant a lot to get encouragement from legends like Dizzy Gillespie and Rahsaan Roland Kirk."

Carrington graduated from high school at the age of 16, and moved to New York City where she joined pianist Roland Hanna and flutist/saxophone player Frank Wess in the New York Jazz Quartet. She subsequently reunited with Clark Terry and joined him on a European tour during 1984-85. This was followed by work with saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Lester Bowie, vocalist Cassandra Wilson, and flutist/saxophonist James Moody, among others. In 1987 she beat out 14 other competitors for a slot touring with saxophonist and fusion pioneer Wayne Shorter, founder of the band Weather Report, with whom she continued to tour and record into the 1990s. She led her own ensemble briefly during that time, and toured with saxophonist David Sanborn in 1988.

The year 1988 proved to be a watershed for Carrington. She moved to Los Angeles, where she released her major label debut, Real Life Story, on Verve Forecast, and then became the drummer in the house band for the Arsenio Hall Show. The album, co-produced by Carrington and Robert Irving, featured an array of styles and guest artists, including guitarist/vocalist Carlos Santana, jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, blues guitarist John Scofield, and Wayne Shorter. In an interview with Down Beat, Carrington, who also sings on the album, stressed that she did not want to be restricted to certain instruments or musical styles. "Some people like to use stereotypes. They might want to label me as a jazz drummer because I had been associated with more traditional kinds of jazz for so long," she said. "So they hear my album and they're surprised that there's no traditional, swinging jazz on it. Well, all I got to say is, pigeonholes are for pigeons." The album was nominated for a Grammy.

Following the release of Real Life Story, Carrington moved behind the scenes and began to make her mark as a producer. She produced one track on Reeves's Art and Survival and all of That Day. In addition to playing drums on the albums, she also produced all or part of albums released by Danish pop artists Monique, Stig Rossen, and the Doky Bros. "Drummers bring something unique to the production world, which tends to be dominated by keyboard players," Carrington told the All Access website. "They have a great sense of structure, of how a song should flow."

Carrington has continued to tour and record with various musicians, most notably vocalist Cassandra Wilson and keyboardist Herbie Hancock, whose 2002 Future 2 Future tour she helped conceptualize. She also contributed both musically and conceptually to Hancock's Grammy-winning 1998 album Gershwin's World. In the late 1990s, following the cancellation of the Arsenio Hall Show, she became the in-house drummer for the late-night television show Vibe, hosted by comedian Sinbad.

Carrington released her second solo effort, Jazz Is a Spirit, on the German ACT label in 2002. "Its pacing of ethereal ballads, moody mid-tempo ruminations and bristling up-tempo compositions reveal Carrington as a masterful producer who knows how to maximize an engaging listening experience," noted Down Beat in 2002. Her third solo album, Structure, was released by the High Note label in the spring of 2004.

In an interview with United Press International, Carrington described her belief that her versatility stems from her early jazz training. "Because of my jazz background I'm more equipped to do a variety of things," she said. "There is a longer history and tradition you have to learn. It is technically more difficult. There are a lot of people who started playing jazz and can't move into the simpler arenas--pop, rock or funk--because they don't have enough respect for it, to really learn how it is done." Carrington, on the other hand, would like to have her hands in every pot. "I love reggae, I love straightahead jazz, I love funk," she told Down Beat. "Shoot, I wanna play in a heavy metal band! I wanna do it all."

As an entrepreneur, Carrington is a partner in Hebert-Carrington Media (HCM). Founded in 2007 and based in Atlanta, Boston, New Jersey, Washington, DC, Chicago, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, HCM's origins can be traced to the long-term relationships with company co-founder: Robert A. Hebert, Esq., High Tech entrepreneurs Frank White, Jr. and Dr. Bernard Yaged, and top Media and Communications advisor Don Lucoff of DL Media. HCM is focused on new business models for the communications and media industry, with the mission of exploring the right, flexible combinations of art and commerce to ensure it will thrive in the emerging New Media industry environment.

The Mosaic Project assembles an all-female all-star cast.
“Everything about this recording is about making a larger picture out of many various elements,” says Carrington, who produced the 14-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 artists of the last few decades, including: Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cassandra Wilson, Nona Hendryx, Patrice Rushen, Sheila E, Geri Allen, Tineke Postma, Ingrid Jensen, Helen Sung, Gretchen Parlato, and Esperanza Spalding, who in 2011 won the Award for "Best New Artist" at the 53rd Grammy Awards (making her the first jazz artist to win the award). Carrington says the emergence of so many great female artists is what finally makes an album like The Mosaic Project possible, more so now than in decades past.


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