TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON, MONEY JUNGLE: PROVOCATIVE IN BLUE


Emboldened by her 2011 Grammy® winning “The Mosaic Project” (Concord) a slick, contemporary jazz and funk recording that featured a who’s who of all-female singers and musicians, bandleader and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington strikes hot and cool with the equally confident “Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue,” a reimagining of the classic Duke Ellington trio album from 1963 that featured Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Released 50 years ago this year, Ellington’s album remains a masterwork, a brilliant album of blues and durable tunes as only Ellington could write. Fast forward to Carrington’s concept, which updates the original with renewed motivation – a provocative and artful protestation of the pervasive financial corruption that lingers in American society, expressed through well chosen and organically placed sound clips from the likes of Martin Luther King, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama who famously calls out “the irresponsibility and recklessness that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Carrington’s “Money Jungle” trio dazzles with two formidable musicians, bassist Christian McBride and pianist Gerald Clayton, and slots in guest turns by singer Lizz Wright, Tia Fuller and Robin Eubanks on horns, along with a remarkable spot by Clark Terry who contributes trumpet and his signature mumble speak growl on “Fleurette Africain.” This finely honed group tags pop grooves and straight-ahead swing, underscored by an innate funkiness that refreshes Ellington’s tunes. Carrington admits to the daunting nature of revisiting this album in her the liner notes, but she does so with respect and a spirit of discovery that would make Ellington proud.

The trio clicks on a groove laden swinger “Wig Wise” a tune that snaps with an off kilter melody that’s voiced beautifully through Clayton’s playing. Carrington drives “Backward Country Boy Blues” and “Very Special” with effusive beats while encouraging ripe solos from McBride who devours the Ellington/Carrington narrative, projecting a visceral feel from his bass that’s also rooted in a deep appreciation of Mingus. “Switch Blade” is a multifaceted blues that Carrington embellishes with an exotic coda that guitarist Nir Felder infuses with tabla-like sounds. Equally appealing are three modernistic originals – two by Carrington and one by Clayton. The experience concludes with “Rem Blues,” incorporating an Ellington poem passionately intoned by Shea Rose and spoken word by Herbie Hancock who channels Ellington’s own declarations – “Freedom of expression! The same people who like jazz are those who like creative things, whether they understand them or not.” Maybe it’s because its scope and band is tightly focused because “Money Jungle” is Carrington’s best record, and its banner cry is shaped by the drummer’s self-assurance as much as her astounding rhythm team that’s in sync with the material and grooves. (11 tracks; 61 minutes) www.terrilynecarrington.com

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JAZZ IN SPACE: TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON, MONEY JUNGLE: PROVOCATIVE IN BLUE

Friday, January 25, 2013

TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON, MONEY JUNGLE: PROVOCATIVE IN BLUE


Emboldened by her 2011 Grammy® winning “The Mosaic Project” (Concord) a slick, contemporary jazz and funk recording that featured a who’s who of all-female singers and musicians, bandleader and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington strikes hot and cool with the equally confident “Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue,” a reimagining of the classic Duke Ellington trio album from 1963 that featured Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Released 50 years ago this year, Ellington’s album remains a masterwork, a brilliant album of blues and durable tunes as only Ellington could write. Fast forward to Carrington’s concept, which updates the original with renewed motivation – a provocative and artful protestation of the pervasive financial corruption that lingers in American society, expressed through well chosen and organically placed sound clips from the likes of Martin Luther King, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama who famously calls out “the irresponsibility and recklessness that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Carrington’s “Money Jungle” trio dazzles with two formidable musicians, bassist Christian McBride and pianist Gerald Clayton, and slots in guest turns by singer Lizz Wright, Tia Fuller and Robin Eubanks on horns, along with a remarkable spot by Clark Terry who contributes trumpet and his signature mumble speak growl on “Fleurette Africain.” This finely honed group tags pop grooves and straight-ahead swing, underscored by an innate funkiness that refreshes Ellington’s tunes. Carrington admits to the daunting nature of revisiting this album in her the liner notes, but she does so with respect and a spirit of discovery that would make Ellington proud.

The trio clicks on a groove laden swinger “Wig Wise” a tune that snaps with an off kilter melody that’s voiced beautifully through Clayton’s playing. Carrington drives “Backward Country Boy Blues” and “Very Special” with effusive beats while encouraging ripe solos from McBride who devours the Ellington/Carrington narrative, projecting a visceral feel from his bass that’s also rooted in a deep appreciation of Mingus. “Switch Blade” is a multifaceted blues that Carrington embellishes with an exotic coda that guitarist Nir Felder infuses with tabla-like sounds. Equally appealing are three modernistic originals – two by Carrington and one by Clayton. The experience concludes with “Rem Blues,” incorporating an Ellington poem passionately intoned by Shea Rose and spoken word by Herbie Hancock who channels Ellington’s own declarations – “Freedom of expression! The same people who like jazz are those who like creative things, whether they understand them or not.” Maybe it’s because its scope and band is tightly focused because “Money Jungle” is Carrington’s best record, and its banner cry is shaped by the drummer’s self-assurance as much as her astounding rhythm team that’s in sync with the material and grooves. (11 tracks; 61 minutes) www.terrilynecarrington.com

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