From Child Prodigy to Trailblazing Jazz Drummer

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Thursday April 12, 2018

From MusicWorld

Terri Lyne Carrington: From Child Prodigy to Trailblazing Jazz Drummer
By: Abby White

hree-time GRAMMY winning musician, songwriter and producer Terri Lyne Carrington has always had an incredible passion for music. As a child, her budding talent placed her alongside some of the biggest jazz musicians in the world at an age when most girls are playing with dolls. Her father, Mat Carrington, was a noted jazz saxophone player, and he introduced his prodigious daughter to jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Keith Copeland and Clark Terry, all of whom she played with before her 10th birthday.

But Carrington was just getting warmed up. In a career that spans more than four decades, she’s shattered glass ceilings as a female drummer and bandleader ‘” you may recognize her from her stints as the house drummer on The Arsenio Hall Show and on Quincy Jones’ VIBE ‘” and as the first female artist to win a GRAMMY in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category. She’s played, toured and recorded with artists including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Stan Getz, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Cassandra Wilson, Pharoah Sanders and Nancy Wilson.

Terri is also passionate about mentoring young musicians. She holds an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Berklee College of Music, where she currently teaches, leading and inspiring the next generation of artists. We caught up with Terri and talked about her songwriting process, the fight for gender equality in the music industry, and where she displays her GRAMMY awards.

You grew up in a very musical family. Can you share a little about your family’s musical talents and how you first started playing the drums?

My grandfather played drums, and my father played drums and saxophone. I started playing saxophone with my dad when I was 5, and switched to drums. My grandfather passed away before I was born so I didn’t meet him, but his drums were still in the house and I started playing them when I was 7. My dad knew everybody in jazz ‘” I know that’s a big statement, but he almost really did! So when people would come through town, he would take me to see them when I was kid, and he’d tell them I could play. So a lot of it was based on his relationships.

Read the interview here