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Terri Lyne Carrington's spiritual journey: on tour with Mosaic Project

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Wednesday February 11, 2015

From The Georgia Straight
By Alexander Varty

It’s easy to see why Terri Lyne Carrington cites Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Jack DeJohnette as her primary mentors. Like DeJohnette, she’s honed her technique on the drums to the point where her playing is more about manipulating energy than keeping a beat. And like all three of those older musicians, she takes an inclusive attitude toward the thorny question of just what, exactly, constitutes jazz.

But Hancock and Shorter, two of the most prominent Buddhists in that African-American art form, also seem to have passed down some spiritual wisdom. Carrington doesn’t say, explicitly, that she shares their Zen beliefs, but being on-stage is certainly, for her, a meditative state.

“You have to look at why you do what you do,” she explains, during a break from a mixing session at New York City’s Sear Sound recording studio. “And if you look at that honestly, in most cases somehow you work back to some kind of spiritual journey that you’re having within the art of being creative. That’s kind of how I look at it: it’s about purpose, your sense of purpose in life. And music is really healing; it affects people on levels that they don’t even realize. So it’s about healing and inspiring people, and that’s spiritual as well. It’s all connected.

“It’s also about the spiritual process of just being in the present,” she adds, with a quiet chuckle. “I’ve realized that when I’m playing it’s the only time when I’m not really thinking anything. I’m just totally in the present, and that in itself is a spiritual act.”

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