This year for Valentine’s Day, February 14th was actually a big success for me because I was able to go to Terri Lyne Carrington’s show at the Berklee Performance Center. Presenting her new blues album, Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (which was released later in the week). Carrington performed songs written by Duke Ellington, with the exception of a few original pieces. The show was a part of the 2013 Signature Series at Berklee, produced by Tom Riley and Rob Rose. Carrington, who returned to Boston to become a Berklee professor in 2007, collaborated with select Berklee students and alumni, including vocalist Shea Rose ‘11, and award-winning pianist Gerald Clayton, for a sneak preview of her new album.
Their first song, “Money Jungle”, featured spoken quotes about the role of money in the world from important historical figures like Michael Rupport, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Bill Clinton. Otherwise, there was very little talking in the show; Carrington generally went from song to song without stopping. During the second song, “Fleurette Africaine” by Duke Ellington, vocalist Shea Rose entered the stage to announce the program while Carrington and her band kept playing. It was almost as if they were just jamming - it made me feel cool just sitting in the BPC, listening to their groove.
Even though much of the show seemed improvised, especially since there was a lot of spoken word and improvisational soloing, it was very clear to me that everyone knew exactly what the role of each instrument was. The band was really tight and synchronized, and I kept noticing all the members grinning at each other while playing. Throughout the performance, the atmosphere changed from funky to bluesy to sophisticated to groovy, and the audience was really into each shift of moods.
Berklee alumna Terri Lyne Carrington is a Grammy Award-winning drummer, composer, and bandleader who has been touring for over 20 years with renowned artists such as Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, and Dianne Reeves. Her album The Mosaic Project recently won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and her newest album, Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, is now available online and in stores.