Celebrating 40 years in music, NEA Jazz Master and four-time GRAMMY® award-winning drummer, producer and educator, Terri Lyne Carrington started her professional career in Massachusetts at 10 years old when she became the youngest person to receive a union card in Boston. She was featured as a “kid wonder” in many publications and on local and national TV shows. After studying under a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music, Carrington worked as an in-demand musician in New York City, and later moved to Los Angeles, where she gained recognition on late night TV as the house drummer for both the Arsenio Hall Show and Quincy Jones’ VIBE TV show, hosted by Sinbad.
While still in her 20s, Ms. Carrington toured extensively with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, among others. In 2011 she released the GRAMMY Award-winning album, The Mosaic Project, featuring a cast of all-star women instrumentalists and vocalists, and in 2013 she released Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, which also earned a GRAMMY Award, establishing her as the first woman ever to win in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category.
To date Ms. Carrington has performed on over 100 recordings and has been a role model and advocate for young women and men internationally through her teaching and touring careers. She has toured or recorded with luminary artists such as Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Diana Krall, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, James Moody, Yellowjackets, Esperanza Spalding, Kris Davis, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, and Nancy Wilson.
In 2019 Ms. Carrington was granted the Doris Duke Artist Award, a prestigious acknowledgment in recognition of her past and ongoing contributions to jazz music. Also in 2019, her collaborative project, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science (formed with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens), released their album, Waiting Game, inspired by the seismic changes in the ever-evolving social and political landscape. The double album expresses an unflinching, inclusive, and compassionate view of humanity’s breaks and bonds through an eclectic program melding jazz, R&B, indie rock, contemporary improvisation, and hip-hop. Waiting Game was nominated for a 2021 GRAMMY award and has been celebrated as one of the year’s best jazz releases by Rolling Stone, DownBeat, Boston Globe and Popmatters. DownBeat describes the album as, “a two-disc masterstroke on par with Kendrick Lamar's 2015 hip-hop classic, To Pimp a Butterfly..." and garnered three of their critics poll awards, Album of the Year, Group of the Year and Artist of the Year. Ms. Carrington was also named Artist of the Year by Jazz Times Critics Polls, the Boston Globe, and the Jazz Journalists Association.
Ms. Carrington has received honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, York University and Berklee College of Music, where she currently serves as the Founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, which recruits, teaches, mentors, and advocates for musicians seeking to study jazz with racial justice and gender justice as guiding principles.
She has curated musical presentations at Harvard University, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the John F. Kennedy Center, and has enjoyed multi-disciplinary collaborations with esteemed visual artists Mickalene Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems and is also the artistic director for Detroit’s multi-disciplinary arts organization, the Carr Center.
In 2022 the curator and activist authored two books; a children’s book entitled Three of a Kind, on the making of the Allen Carrington Spalding trio, and the seminal collection, New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets By Women Composers, another illustration of how she has worked tirelessly to fight for inclusivity and raise the voice of women, trans and non-binary jazz musicians. Accompanying the book is her album, New Standards Vol. 1, featuring 11 selections from the songbook with an all-star band, and a multi-media installation, Shifting the Narrative, at Detroit’s Carr Center. The ambitious new project was created to shine a light on women composers in historic new ways. In 2023. New Standards Vol. 1 won the GRAMMY for Best Instrumental Jazz Album.
The album, which ranges from ballads to experimental compositions, is timely and adventurous, exploring the multiverse of jazz, with Carrington (drums and percussion) joined by Kris Davis (piano), Linda May Han Oh (bass), Matthew Stevens (guitar), and Nicholas Payton (trumpet) and welcomes special guests trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, vocalists Melanie Charles, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, electronic artist Val Jeanty, guitarist Julian Lage, flutist Elena Pinderhughes, percussionist Negah Santos, and vocalists Melanie Charles, Samara Joy, Michael Mayo, Dianne Reeves, and Somi.
Ms. Carrington serves as co-executive producer and musical director for the newly formed Jazz Music Awards and is a 2022 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.