Mosaic Project Reviewed

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Sunday May 21, 2017

From London Jazz News

REVIEW: Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project at Birmingham Town Hall
By: A J Dehany

‘It’s important to claim new standards,’ says Terri Lyne Carrington, the Grammy award-winning drummer who has won a longstanding crossover audience and for over 30 years introduced soul tunes to jazz arrangements and jazz tunes to the deep grooves of soul. How does a song become a standard? Blind luck, good fortune, sheer chance‘¦ but a start would be somebody playing the song.

Terri Lyne Carrington’s only UK tour date to a diverse audience at Birmingham Town Hall, part of a two-day residence involving a day of drumming workshops as part of the Jazzlines Women In Jazz programme, was a projective lesson in the attempt to ‘claim new standards’ from an eclectic selection of tunes from contemporary jazz and the classic pop songbook.

The thing about crossing over to a wider audience is you can go to them, but few will cross back over with you. The first hour of the concert was some quite hard jazzer’s jazz. A number of couples leaving I didn’t notice returning. The quartet’s playing is serious, with each player unafraid to take risks: rhythmically tripling up under the main rhythm is a strong suit in both Carrington’s drumming and under the fingers of pianist Helen Sung; and harmonically straying ‘outside’ as in the dextrous soloing of multiple sax player Tineke Postma. Generally the players keep to a strong group discipline.

Carrington’s Sweden sounds like a Wayne Shorter tune, but its restrained tempo is offset by quite busy playing; Carrington has a particular expressiveness on the ride cymbal that carries across her restless imagination. Her Mosaic Triad Part 1 similarly showcases her controlled creativity on the drums. It’s after Geri Allen’s deep cut Unconditional Love that Carrington makes her case for new standards, but continuing with Kenny Barron’s A Voyage we are still deep in jazzer’s jazz territory rather than the souljazz cross-over many have come to hear.

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