Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington's All-Female 'Mosaic' : A Blog Supreme She had been resisting all-woman bands for decades. But now, she's proudly made The Mosaic Project.
NPR logo Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington's All-Female 'Mosaic'

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington's All-Female 'Mosaic'

Terri Lyne Carrington. Tracy Love/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Tracy Love/Courtesy of the artist

Terri Lyne Carrington.

Tracy Love/Courtesy of the artist

Last year, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington did something she'd been resisting for decades: She recorded with an all-female band.

Forever — since I was 10 years old — people have tried to put me in all-female situations. I've always shied away from all-female situations because I felt that the pool wasn't large enough to choose from, and that I wasn't going to do it 'just because.' Now the pool is larger and there are so many women I really enjoy playing with. It doesn't matter that they're women and I thought, now's the time to do what people have been asking for.

In a report Lara Pellegrinelli prepared for NPR's Weekend Edition, Carrington explained that the moment had finally arrived where she could do such a project and feel good about it artistically. (Pellegrinelli talked to eight other women involved in the project too.) Twenty-one musicians in total, all women, wound up contributing to the recording, including Esperanza Spalding, Geri Allen, Anat Cohen and Cassandra Wilson.

Here's an update, for those who were curious: The Mosaic Project was released this Tuesday.

It's one of those records where funk and rock and jazz are one, where the point is to stop thinking about style and start by focusing on groove. "The Mosaic Project," the liner notes say, "is cross generational, cross cultural and though jazz in nature, somewhat cross genre, which is pertinent because jazz has increasingly pollinated, allowing it's language to metamorphose into something one group of musicians alone cannot claim." For an example, check out the backbeat-ified version of "I Got Lost In His Arms" (originally from the musical Annie Get Your Gun), featuring Gretchen Parlato. Or after the jump, you can download another tune via a widget that asks for your e-mail address.

One might point out that Carrington also played in an all-female band for the 2010 Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival. (Most of her cohorts on that gig also wound up on The Mosaic Project too.) That was recorded for an episode of JazzSet which aired this year. Also on the topic is the John McDonough radio story that aired earlier this year on the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the all-female big band of the 1940s.

But it seems as if the idea of celebrating women in jazz is such that we can eventually stop making a big deal of gender in jazz. And for that, you can simply listen to (and even download) Carrington's work with Greg Osby's quintet, which NPR Music and WBGO recorded live in concert last August. If you need an alternate frame of reference, it was the day before she turned 45. And those decades spent as a professional musician shine throughout anything she's recorded lately.