Terri Lyne Carrington

Jazz Is a Spirit

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In the male-dominated jazz genre, this veteran drummer has been happily accepted as one of the guys and has forged a strong touring career (Al Jarreau, David Sanborn) as she has, on her solo projects, pushed the improvisational and conceptual boundaries. This free-spirited recording emerges from the fun of bebop and traditional jazz balladry into the more challenging realm of tribal rhythms and global-mindedness -- a wacky journey to be sure, but true to her heart of wanderlust and her contention that, indeed, jazz can only be defined as a spirit. She opens with a weird, mystical ambience behind Cosby Show kid Malcolm Jamal Warner's spoken-word definition, then jams in a live setting with longtime associates like Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, and Paul Bollenback (guitar) on tunes that range from the avant-garde ("Little Jump") to the smoky and romantic ("Samsara," a thoughtful tribute to Wayne Shorter). Throwing off the shackles, she does a long tribal drum roll piece and opens the door for a "Journey East From West" with Kevin Eubanks. "Journey of Now" combines the best of all worlds, with Wallace Roney's traditional trumpet, Jeff Richman's fusion guitar edges, and an irrepressible percussive tribalism. The remaining tracks are a balance between measured craziness and gentle tradition, with a bit of advice offered to Terri Lyne Carrington as she plays before the spoken words of Papa Jo Jones on "Mr Jo Jones." Innovative yet sometimes maddening, this is above all else her truest heart.

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