Review: Terri Lyne Carrington: The Mosaic Project

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Friday July 22, 2011


Review: Terri Lyne Carrington: The Mosaic Project
By: John Fordham

Anyone who caught American drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s performance at the recent Barbican show featuring Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo and Lizz Wright will want to check out this star-packed session. Like the Barbican gig, its focus is women’s jazz-making. Here, however, there is a much bigger cast, including Reeves, pianist Geri Allen, Cassandra Wilson, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, Nona Hendryx, saxist Tineke Postma and more. It has a unifying historical and social agenda ‘” but it’s a discreet one, and the music is certainly the priority. Hendryx’s anthemic Transformation opens the show, with the composer’s soulful declarations warmly shaded by Ingrid Jensen’s flugelhorn. Parlato’s diametrically different and resonantly intimate accounts of I Got Lost in His Arms and the Beatles’ Michelle follow. Reeves’s rich, gospelly sound rises up over an old Angela Davis speech on the legacy of slavery; Wilson’s earthy low tones ease through Allen’s Unconditional Love; Jensen and Postma whirl through the postbop swinger Insomniac; and the bonus track Sisters on the Rise makes a slightly tokenistic nod towards hip-hop. This is, by definition, song-rooted and quite pop-angled jazz, but full of eager spontaneity.