Terri Lyne Carrington highlights women’s jazz compositions with New Standards project

Terri Lyne Carrington’s wide-ranging new project New Standards finds the musician, activist and educator shining a light on women’s compositions in jazz.

The project arrives this fall with a lead sheet book of 101 jazz compositions entirely by women, along with a newly recorded album of 11 selections from the songbook featuring an all-star band and several special guests.

The recording, new STANDARDS vol. 1, features Carrington on drums along with a core band of core band of pianist Kris Davis, bassist Linda May Han Oh, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and guitar Matthew Stevens.

The album also features special guests Ambrose Akinmusire, Melanie Charles, Ravi Coltrane, Val Jeanty, Samara Joy, Julian Lage, Michael Mayo, Elena Pinderhughes, Dianne Reeves, Negah Santos and Somi.

A diverse, exploratory set featuring both vocal ballads and contemporary jazz instrumentals, the recordings include tunes by Brandee Younger, Anat Cohen, Abbey Lincoln, Gretchen Parlato, Carla Bley and more.

“I wanted to represent a wide range of styles on the album,” Carrington tells Heather Bambrick in an interview with JAZZ.FM91. “With 11 songs, it’s impossible to really represent the book, but I think we have a good, diverse selection.”

The album will be released Sept. 16 by Candid Records, a day after the book of lead sheets is published by Hal Leonard.

New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets By Women Composers features a range of historic legends, young visionaries and unsung heroes in jazz: Mary Lou Williams, Alice Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding, Geri Allen, Maria Schneider, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Dorothy Ashby, Nubya Garcia, Nicole Mitchell and many others.

It’s a project that’s been in progress for about two years and took a tremendous amount of work, Carrington says.

“This endeavour in part serves as the kind of corrective work that needs to be done to make sure women’s voices as creators and intellectual thinkers in jazz are amplified, as well to make sure they — we — are not left to be rendered invisible in the future,” Carrington says.

Carrington didn’t say how may additional volumes of the series she has planned or what songs and musicians will be included. However, she did say that she doesn’t want to be the leader on the forthcoming albums; instead, she’d like to enlist other musicians to record the material.

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New Standards is the first initiative for Berklee’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, which Carrington formed in 2018.

Also coming in September is Live From the Detroit Jazz Festival, a live set by a supergroup that features Carrington along with Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding and Leo Genovese. The band recorded the album in 2017 and Carrington produced it ahead of its release on Sept. 9, also by Candid Records.

Carrington’s last album was the Grammy-nominated Waiting Game, featuring her band Social Science. It was released in 2019.

Carrington was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2021. This year, she also received an honorary degree from York University.

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Here’s the track listing for new STANDARDS vol. 1:

  1. Wind Flower (Sara Cassey)
  2. Circling (Gretchen Parlato)
  3. Uplifted Heart (Shamie Royston)
  4. Moments (Eliane Elias)
  5. Continental Cliff (Patricia Perez)
  6. Throw It Away (Abbey Lincoln)
  7. Respected Destroyer (Brandee Younger)
  8. Two Hearts (Lawns) (Carla Bley)
  9. Unchanged (Marta Sanchez)
  10. Ima (Anat Cohen)
  11. Rounds (Live) (Marilyn Crispell)

Terri Lyne Carrington’s new STANDARDS vol. 1 arrives Sept. 16, 2022, via Candid Records.