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Q&A with Terri Lyne Carrington

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Monday September 17, 2018

From The Improper Bostonian

All That Jazz: A Q&A with three-time Grammy winner and Berklee College of Music professor Terri Lyne Carrington
By: Matt Martinelli

Three-time Grammy winner and Berklee College of Music professor Terri Lyne Carrington is going to have a busy final week of September. The 53-year-old Medford native will perform as part of a tribute show at Berklee Performance Center on Sept. 26, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s RISE series on Sept. 27, for four shows with Kenny Werner, Esperanza Spalding and David Liebman at Scullers on Sept. 28-29—and she’s the creative director for the Beantown Jazz Festival on Sept. 29. Oh, and she’s getting ready to launch the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice this fall. The drummer chatted about that and more before her schedule gets even crazier.

How long in the making has the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice been?
It’s been a couple of years talking about it and planning an outline just to see if it could happen. With the current #MeToo movement, people are looking at how they can be a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. It’s good timing for me to have decided to shift my focus. I wasn’t as focused on gender equity until the past five years or so. I basically started talking to a lot of students that started really telling me things that I didn’t experience. And then, you know, one day it was like, “Wow, I can’t just stand by just because my experience was different. I can’t be invited to a club, you know, and be an exception. I have to make sure there’s fairness as much as I can.” So that’s kind of how it all evolved. And once you get into something, there’s no going back. You think, “Wow, this has been really messed up for a long time.” Whether or not it’s affected me so much—even though it has affected me, but not overtly. More micro-aggressions and stuff.

What will the focus of the institute be?
We’re actually more focused on instrumental players as opposed to vocalists. It’s interesting that the larger population of women at the college are vocalists. And that’s just in jazz in general, and music in general. So I’d like to look at where that split starts to happen. I think it’s in middle school, where socialization happens where women tend to go with each other and boys tend to go with each other. So the girls go to chorus, and the boys go to the band. And there are a lot of women who want to play instruments, but it’s not encouraged. So we need to look at band directors and make sure that they’re aware of gender equity as well.

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