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, 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 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 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.