Terri Lyne Carrington: More to Say

Pop-culture junkies may recall that Terri Lyne Carrington was the drummer who held down the groove for the Posse on Arsenio Hall’s popular talk show from 1989 to 1994. She’s gained well-deserved respect since then for her composing and producing skills, not to mention her touring and session work with heavyweights like Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. She’s released a few straightahead CDs overseas, but is calling her new one More to Say, a bookend to her 1989 Grammy-nominated debut, Real Life Story. How do we know this? Well, she’s subtitled the new project Real Life Story: NextGen.

Arsenio would approve of Carrington’s latest, where the R&B, jazz, pop, rap and vocal songs fit nicely into an adult-contemporary and smooth-jazz framework. Carrington has signaled her shift from traditional to pop-jazz by enlisting such contemporary musicians as George Duke, Kirk Whalum, Lori Perry, Dwight Sills, Everette Harp, Chuck Loeb and more. If you know jazz and its various landscapes, you know where this is going.

That established, More to Say mostly lacks modernity and edge. Carrington shows her smooth-jazz knowledge with “Sherwood Forest” and “Mesmerized,” and her blues acumen with “Hold Me Again,” where her pitch-perfect vocals contrast Les McCann’s smoky pipes. And her jazz background shines on “Imagine This,” with the wonderful Nancy Wilson supplying vocals.