Terri Lyne Carrington: The Importance of Valuing the Next Generation

By Juri Love

Three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning drummer, producer, and educator, Terri Lyne Carrington knows it is her legacy and desire to be a leader in the music industry and education.  In an extensive touring and recording career that began at the age of ten, Carrington has worked with luminary artists, such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, and countless others.

“It is natural for me to move into a leadership role, since I spent a lot of time playing with legendary musicians,” shares Carrington.

As a legendary drummer and educator, with so many young women looking up to her, Carrington knows the importance of valuing the next generation. She is passionate in her desire to educate, mentor, and present opportunities to as many young women as possible, and encourage them to pursue their dreams in the music industry. 

“You get the ‘bug’ to make your own music, to play an instrument, compose and present music. Some people are able to fulfill that goal,” explains Carrington. “We get rewarded when playing for people. We inspire people. But people inspire us as well, which is [our] reward, and they let us know we are on the right path.”

Connecting with a large audience while performing from the stage is not the only reward for Carrington. It is the teaching in a one to one connection that is most enriching. 

“The audience is there and feels the energy, but you don’t get to meet them,” reflects Carrington. “You inspire your students and help them with encouragement to do what they want to do. It makes their day better, and my day better.”

Though she realizes that gender equality is not an easy goal, in her role as Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, Carrington hopes to shine light on it.  Seeing the history of gender discrimination in the jazz arena has further inspired her to create a nurturing and safe environment for its future generations of musicians.

“We need to try to change the culture in jazz. Composing and producing has been male dominated all these years, but I think it needs some balance, and everyone should have the opportunity to pursue a career in music if they want to,” states Carrington. “Black women have been concerned about gender equality for a long time. Gender equality conversations are now really at the table. This is another important time period for movements such as #metoo. Everyone has to work together to address this problem. We will be having this conversation and [these] movements until racial and gender issues have [seen] justice.” 

Carrington will be performing in Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s popular music series RISE on Thursday, September 27th at 7 p.m.  According to Shea Rose, museum music curator and former student of Carrington, RISE is a Pop, Rock, Hip Hop Music Series, producing four to five concerts a year. Jas Kayser, another former student of Carrington, will both open for and perform songs with Carrington.  

“As the Museum aspires and continues to stretch its wings and reach new communities and audiences,” shares Rose, “it invites deep, rich, and uber talented artists like Terri Lyne Carrington into the space to fertilize the ground.”

For information, visit www.gardnermuseum.org