NOTEWORTHY: Drummer, composer and producer Terri Lyne Carrington’s Jazz is a Spirit

In the 1980s, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington was the darling of the so-called young lion’s generation of jazz musicians. She gigged with everybody from Woody Shaw and Wayne Shorter to Greg Osby. But after the release of her 1989 Grammy-nominated debut, Real Life Story, and her short stint on the Arsenio Hall Show, it’s been more than a decade since she released her long-awaited follow-up.

This CD is well worth the wait. Carrington is joined by a number of jazz greats–pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Gary Thomas, guitarists Kevin Eubanks and Paul Bollenback, and trumpeters Wallace Roney and Terence Blanchard. Stylistically, Carrington’s drumming is a brilliant blend of Tony Williams‘s power, Billy Higgins‘s finesse, and Elvin Jones‘s African syncopations. She knows that she does not need to blow everybody away with loud solos, so she leads by driving her bandmates. She wrote most of the music, which has the ’60s, Miles Davis feel. “Jazz Is” is a spectral opus featuring actor Malcolm Jamal Warner on spoken word and bass. “Lost Star” swings with a Live at the Plugged Nickel vibe, while her take on Wayne Shorter’s classic “Witch Hunt” is a melodically recombinant version for this century. The most evocative pieces are the Afro-Eurasian tinged “Journey of Now” and “Mr. Jo Jones,” a deathbed interview with the legendary drummer Philly Joe Jones passing his advice and his torch to Carrington while she “talks” to him with her poetic and polyrhythmic drumming. Eugene Holley Jr. | Amazon

At your leisure, check out “JAZZ IS A SPIRIT” by Terri Lyne Carrington

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