By Marcina Zaccaria
Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project played at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.
The first Mosaic Project featured over 21 female artists. The sound combined smooth jazz and heart-wrenching soul. This installment of the Mosaic Project began energetically with Charlie Parker’s “Sippin’ at Bells.” It was a quick wake-up, introducing the audience to rhythmic genius.
The entire evening featured rich arrangements and well-known songs. Grammy Award winning Carrington remained at the drum set, surrounded by jazz musicians, many of whom breezed through her alma mater, Berklee School of Music, before appearing at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room. With trumpet, saxophone, flute, guitar, and bass, the band had a crisp, full sound under Carrington’s direction.
Although Carrington remains solidly behind the drum set during the entire evening, she did take a moment to sing. She launched into a rendition of “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” by Jimi Hendrix, as requested by friends. With a guitar next to her, this song had a harder sound, not found in the more delicate tunes presented in the evening.
Carrington then introduced the legendary Valerie Simpson of the chart-topping duo, Ashford and Simpson. Simpson brilliantly sang “Somebody Told a Lie.” With this new arrangement by Ms. Carrington, Simpson changed the performance from a pure, listening experience to a daring, stage show, bringing signature style to the sound. In this song, the heavens and the skies were the limit.
Oleta Adams took the stage. She sang “I’ve Got a Right.” Her thick, lower register produced an extraordinary, multi-layered sound. With serene composure and a glossy look complete with a black dress with large red flowers, she reached deep into herself to define what soul means to her. It was a joy to see her behind the piano, where she seemed most at home.
The evening continued with Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” a loud foray into the world of gospel. Other highlights included “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr., and “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Ashford and Simpson. The variety of songs and array of presentational styles honored the individual spirit of the artist, providing an extraordinary range of interpretation.
The evening ended with “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” by Ashford and Simpson. Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series often ends on a unifying note, but having the blue, bubble lights over the audience created a stirring feeling of togetherness.
Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project: Love and Soul played on February 27th at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. The American Songbook series celebrates the American popular song. More details about American Songbook can be found at http://americansongbook.org/
Photos: Kevin Yatarola