Carrington, Terri Lyne – TLC & Friends [IMPORT] – New LP
Review by Matt Collar: Recorded in 1981, just a few months after her 16th birthday, TLC & Friends captures Grammy-winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington at the inception of her career. Here, she is joined by an all-star cadre of veterans, including saxophonist George Coleman, pianist Kenny Barron, and bassist Buster Williams. Also lending his warm support is her father, saxophonist Sonny Carrington, who jumps in at the end for a jovial take on Sonny Rollins' "Sonny Moon for Two." Although essentially her debut album, TLC & Friends was never widely available, recorded primarily as a showcase for the Medford, Massachusetts-born jazz prodigy, who was by then already a student at the Berklee College of Music. Most people would be introduced to Carrington either by her more commercial-leaning 1989 studio album, Real Life Story, or her much lauded work for artists like Wayne Shorter, Cassandra Wilson, and Mulgrew Miller, among others. Of course, by then she had developed into a highly adept crossover star, just as likely to lay down a clipped funk groove as a swinging cymbal rhythm. TLC & Friends takes you back to her nascent early days of blowing sessions when Carrington was clearly trying to prove her mettle against the hard bop jazz tradition. Of that she leaves no doubt, tearing into standards like "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "Seven Steps to Heaven" with the muscular ferocity of Art Blakey, her crackling cymbal pushing Coleman to ever throaty heights. Particularly exciting is her one original composition, the Latin-tinged "La Bonita," whose dusky, minor-key melody nicely evokes the noir-ish '70s post-bop of artists like Woody Shaw and Art Pepper. She also takes a joyously kinetic solo on another Sonny Rollins classic, "St. Thomas," revealing just how much of a percussion virtuoso she already was as a teenager."
"At the age of 5, she sat in with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the very first musician to let her stand on stage. By age 10, she was playing at the prestigious Wichita Jazz Festival in Kansas with Clark Terry and his All-Stars consisting of Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Al Cohen, Garnet Brown, George Ouvivier, Jimmy Rowles, and Louis Bellson. It was also there that she first met Buddy Rich, who later featured her on his national television show. Around the time of this recording she was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston after the founders of the school, Lawrence and Alma Berk, heard her sit in with the great Oscar Peterson, who had featured her at the suggestion of Ella Fitzgerald."