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Terri Lyne Carrington: The Mosaic Project (2011)

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Terri Lyne Carrington: The Mosaic Project How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Historically, female artists have not gotten the props they've deserved in jazz's male-dominated environment. Though imperfect, things have improved, thanks in part to the efforts of Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
1915 - 1959
vocalist
, Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams
1910 - 1981
piano
, Marian McPartland
Marian McPartland
Marian McPartland
1918 - 2013
piano
, and other matriarchs who helped pave the way for a current generation of stellar voices as assembled in drummer/composer Terri Lyne Carrington's exceptional The Mosaic Project.

Carrington's world-class drumming equals anyone in the music business, enriching recordings and performances from the great Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
and Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
to the eclectic sounds of guitarist Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
b.1959
guitar
, while finding time to lead her own bands and music. Without a doubt, this project is her most ambitious work to date, an arduous yet rewarding labor of love that's elevated by her leadership of an all-star cast of female musicians and singers.

The opening "Transformation" sets the vibe, with its groove intellect and smoky vocals from legendary soul singer Nona Hendryx. It's followed with more funky goodness, a very unique take on Irving Berlin's "I Get Lost in His Arms," sung by one of jazz's new stars, Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen Parlato

vocalist
. There's even more to enjoy with the up-tempo remake of The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles

band/orchestra
' ballad "Michelle," as hard-swinging jazz melds with urban funkiness, pumped by riveting solos from pianist Geri Allen
Geri Allen
Geri Allen
b.1957
piano
, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen
Ingrid Jensen
Ingrid Jensen
b.1966
trumpet
, and saxophonist Tineke Postma
Tineke Postma
Tineke Postma
b.1978
saxophone
.

Like a mosaic the fourteen tracks are smaller pictures of Carrington's broader image, one that knows jazz's ancestry but speaks fluently of haunting social issues in "Echo," via spoken words from activist Angela Davis, along with Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
b.1956
vocalist
adding her always classy singing. Add the heartfelt longing of "Show Me a Sign" (written by singer Carmen Lundy
Carmen Lundy
Carmen Lundy
b.1954
vocalist
) and the hip hop swagger of "On The Rise (A Transformation)," featuring up-and-coming singer Shea Rose, and the set represents a continuum of sound and voice from the past, present and future.

With a roster that includes the star power of percussionist Sheila E and pianist Patrice Rushen
Patrice Rushen
Patrice Rushen
b.1954
keyboard
, the talent is exhaustive and varied with memorable tracks such as Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson
b.1955
vocalist
's sensual ruminations of Al Green
Al Green
Al Green
b.1946
vocalist
's 1972 hit, "Simply Beautiful," the whimsical antics of "Crayola," written and performed by Grammy Award-winning bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding
b.1984
bass, acoustic
and featuring Helen Sung
Helen Sung
Helen Sung

piano
's lissome keyboards, and Carrington's own complex rock/jazz piece, "Mosaic Triad."

The Mosaic Project has no ulterior motive to show that women can do the jazz gig as well as men. That's already been proven time and again. Instead, it is a joyous celebration of outstanding female artists; a clear view of what currently exists and a hint of what's on the horizon.

Track Listing: Transformation; I Got Lost In His Arms; Michelle; Magic And Music; Echo; Simply Beautiful; Unconditional Love; Wistful; Crayola; Soul Talk; Mosaic Triad; Insomniac; Show Me A Sign; Sisters On The Rise (A Transformation).

Personnel: Terri Lyne Carrington: drums, additional percussion, voice (2, 4, 5, 11, 13, 14); Geri Allen: piano keyboards (1, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13); Dee Dee Bridgewater: voice (10); Anat Cohen: clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano sax; Angela Davis: commentary (5); Sheila E.: percussion (1, 5, 6, 10); Nona Hendryx: voice (1, 14); Ingrid Jensen: trumpet, flugelhorn, efx; Mimi Jones: bass (4); Carmen Lundy: voice (13); Chia-Yin Carol Ma: violin; Hailey Niswanger: flute; Gretchen Parlato: voice (2, 3); Tineke Postma: alto sax, soprano sax; Dianne Reeves: voice (5); Shea Rose: voice (14); Patrice Rushen: piano, keyboards (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12); Esperanza Spalding: bass, voice (7, 9); Helen Sung: piano, keyboards (2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12); Linda Taylor: guitars; Cassandra Wilson: voice (8).

Record Label: Concord Music Group

Style: Beyond Jazz


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