Jazz is often characterized as democracy in action, an art form whose constitution guarantees everyone a say in how music is shaped on the bandstand. But far too often bandstands and other spaces of influence within jazz continue to be dominated by men. Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington is working to create an entirely new paradigm to change that. As the Artistic Director and Founder of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice of Boston’s Berklee College of Music and The Carr Center od Detroit’s Artistic Director, Terri Lyne’s ongoing vision imagines “Jazz Without Patriarchy.” She leads a groundbreaking program exploring the heart of the music’s systemic issues with race and gender. This extraordinary work has led to her selection as the 2022 Jazz Hero by the Boston Jazz Journalists Association..
Terri Lyne’s career is a study of intersectional brilliance. As an instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, producer, educator, program director and activist, she’s cultivated an extraordinary array of professional and lived experiences – a keen foundation geared towards unpacking the “gendered” nature of Jazz. Multiple honors (2021 NEA Jazz Master, 2020 Edison Award, 2019 Doris Duke Artist, three ground breaking Grammy Awards, winner of JJA Jazz Awards for Musician of the Year and Drummer of the Year in both 2020 and ‘21) reflect her life-long pursuit of excellence and innovation, embodied in her albums such as the Mosaic Project, Money Jungle: Provocation In Blue and Waiting Game. All of these incisive works speak to social issues while fusing r’n’b, rock, rap and hip-hop into an irresistible mix that invites jazz to re-embrace its past as American popular music.
Invisibility transformed into agency. Indifference and ignorance forged into an inspiring vision of how jazz can look, act, sound and inspire if more of its contributors are women. This is exactly the kind of “corrective work” Carrington is pioneering while creating inclusive and equitable spaces for all musicians to be seen, heard and educated on their own terms.
– Michael Ambrosino