May 28, 2024

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Interview with Terri Lyne Carrington: The music scene is very exciting and still evolving beautifully: Video

Interview with jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. An interview by email in writing. Negotiations on cooperation with this famous musician and professor are problematic. She first transferred the conversation to a certain Farayi Sophia Malek, and he, in turn, to a certain Alex Levy. As a result, they wanted a private address, I don’t know why. In response, I asked for their personal address and promised that I would personally visit them and give them my home address so that I could make sure that they are not fake agents. And the famous drummer and I live in the same state, moreover, very close to each other, and here the agents are somewhere in Massachusetts. Finally, when I wrote to Terri Lyne Carrington about this and I asked her to clarify what the problem was, she replied rudely and completely disconnected. We wish Terri Lyne Carrington the best of luck and advise against keeping fake agents for some and a media outlet like ours. Because if they were not fake, then they could have written their address in response to my many letters instead of asking for my address and we would have met and solved all the problems. – Please explain your creative process … What are your main impulses to write music?

Terri Lyne Carrington: – My inspiration for writing music comes from everything around me. Nature, miscellaneous sounds, emotions, world news, social justice, basically whatever is happening that I decide to participate in somehow, it will come out in my music.

JBN: – What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments and pieces in your work and/or career?

TLC: – Not understanding this question.

JBN: – Before we jump into anything historical, can you tell us about what we can expect musically this evening?

TLC: – Not applicable.

JBN: – Are there sub-genres within the jazz field that you tend to stay away from or focus on?

TLC: – I like most genres of music. My music is based in jazz, though influenced by R&B, rock and hip-hop. Other things sneak in as well. I don’t try to stay away from anything specifically, I’m open to everything. But I do think that the music you grow up with has a strong influence on your taste. Then you have to work to expand your musical palette. Right now I really love free improvisation, or compositions that allow a lot of freedom. I was not able to play this style early in my career because I didn’t have the tools, but now that I’m older it feels like exactly where I want to be.

JBN: – When your first desire to become involved in the music was & what do you learn about yourself from music?

TLC: – I’ve been playing since I can remember, so there was not any kind of epiphany about what music could do for me. It’s always been a part of me. The one thing I will say is from an early age it showed me that I was good at something and it gave me a focus. I think that is very helpful to a young person as they find their way in the world.

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JBN: – How would you describe and rate the music scene you are currently living?

TLC: – I teach at Berklee College Of Music so I’m hearing a lot of young musicians all the time. Boston has always been rich in regard to emerging artist and jazz. But I travel a lot and I am in and out of New York quite a bit, and I think it is a very fertile time in jazz nowadays. I feel like independent artist have made the jazz scene much better. We no longer have as many gate keepers deciding what jazz is or is not, and it allows for much more overlap with the genres. So overall I think the music scene is very exciting and still evolving beautifully.

JBN: – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

TLC: – I think quite the opposite. When you improvise you don’t know where you’re going. You trust the universe, you trust the other players, and you trust yourself, in order for it to not sound preconceived. You have to be on input mode and output mode at the same time –  and strike a balance. So the direction or a path is one of being courageous and one of curiosity. I think you have to have the desire to discover the unknown, and the desire to unlock your own potential. That’s the beauty in improvisation.

JBN: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians? 

TLC: – Absolutely. I feel like jazz education has cranked out a lot of players that are academic. Often they are missing the essence of what makes the music special. The heart and soul of the music comes from an experience of people rising out of oppression. If you don’t understand that, then I’m not sure it’s jazz. All improvised music is not jazz. And I think schools exist to teach people how to make a living, and jazz has been commodified like most everything else. It does not exist purely for artistic value, it also exists so people can make money. So I think everybody has to be honest about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and understand their own connection to creativity or commerce. We have to, in most cases, strike a balance, but often that balance is not there and people dwell heavily in one area or another. So it is a personal journey.

JBN: – What about somebody who is really gifted and puts together a band and just gets upset to the point of quitting because of the business aspects-the agents and the clubs?

TLC: – Yes, it’s not for everyone. But that’s where the equity comes in as well. Because women historically have quit based on not getting the same opportunities, the same access, and/or the same support, as their male counterparts. So some people quit because of systemic oppression, and some people quit because they’re about the art and the business spoils that for them. Also playing jazz is hard, and it is definitely the road less traveled. But what I have found is the universe tends to support those mission oriented and purpose driven. When we think less about ourselves and think more about the community at large, I think there’s a reward for that in the end.

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself?

TLC: – No, I’m inspired by my students, so I find it easier not harder. That’s one reason why I teach – to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening with the younger generation. It’s quite a beautiful exchange, with both sides offering inspiration.

JBN: – With such an illustrious career, what has given you the most satisfaction musically?

TLC: – Satisfaction comes in many ways. Sometimes from writing, sometimes from playing, sometimes from teaching, and now I’m doing other things as well consulting, A&R, curating, and all of these things give me satisfaction, so I’m basically very happy right now.

JBN: – From the musical and feeling point of view is there any difference between a old and great jazzmans and young?

TLC: – Of course. Everybody’s playing from their cumulative experiences in the world, so young musician see the world differently than older musicians. But both perspectives are valid. The one thing that’s not valid anymore, is for musicians to be referred to as “jazzmen.” The language is changing and the culture is changing. It is no longer sideman, it is sideperson. Would you not call Mary Lou Williams great? She is not a ”jazzman”so even in old terminology, it is incorrect and inaccurate to say “jazzman.”

JBN: – What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career?

TLC: – Everyone needs different advice. There’s no cookie-cutter advice that works for everybody. But I will say that if you’re playing jazz it’s got to be for the love of the music, or you would probably play another style that is easier and more lucrative. So if you keep that love of the music and love of the art form in the forefront, then it won’t let you down, but you have to be dedicated.

JBN: – Do You like our questions? So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

TLC: – Questions are fine. It’s not my job to ask myself questions. Not publicly… 🙂

JBN: – 🙂

JBN: – Have you ever given a free concert during your entire concert career? At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?

TLC: – As far as free concerts I have played for free many times often it’s to raise money for something. I’ve played free festivals that are sponsored by someone else. And I’ve played for free many times in educational environment. Thank you for the interview!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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