Terri Lyne Carrington

Artistic Director/Founder, Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice

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Terri Lyne Carrington is a 2021 NEA Jazz Master, a 2019 Doris Duke Artist, and a three-time Grammy Award–winning drummer, composer, producer, and educator. She's the founder and serves as the artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice in Boston, and as the artistic director for the Carr Center in Detroit. In 2013 she won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, making her the first woman ever to win in this category.

She has performed on over 100 recordings and has toured and recorded with luminaries such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Esperanza Spalding, and numerous others. Her current band, Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, released their debut album, Waiting Game, in 2019, addressing social issues including mass incarceration, police brutality, homophobia, the rights of indigenous peoples, political imprisonment, and gender equity. The album was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award and won the 2020 Edison Award. Carrington is an honorary doctorate recipient from Berklee College of Music and Manhattan Schools of Music.

Career Highlights
  • Artistic director, Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop
  • House drummer on late-night TV shows in the late 1980s, including Arsenio Hall Show and VIBE
  • Debut album, released in 1989, earned a Grammy nomination
  • Recipient of a Berklee honorary doctorate degree in 2003
  • Has released eight albums as a bandleader
  • The Mosaic Project recordings and tours feature top women instrumentalists and vocalists, and have earned multiple awards
  • Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award (2023)
  • Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album for The Mosaic Project (2011) and Beautiful Life (2014)
  • Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (2013)
In Their Own Words

"When I was 11 years old, I was on a TV show with Buddy Rich. Someone asked him how he knew I was a good drummer. He said, 'Well, I listen for how she can swing the band, and whether she has good time, good feel, and good articulation.' Joe Garagiola, who was the host, said, 'What does that mean, articulation?' Buddy tried to explain what it meant, then he just said, 'She sounds like she knows what she's doing.'"

"So, that word, articulation, had always been in the back of my head. But I didn't use it too much. Now that I'm teaching, I use it all the time, because articulation is the biggest problem for 90 percent of my students. It's all about clean technique, combined with solid coordination."

"I've been performing with great jazz musicians since I was a kid. And I always revered them. It's been great to be part of a line of such amazing players. Teaching allows me to pass it on. Most of the masters of the music are gone now. So it's really important for me to be able to say, 'Dizzy Gillespie taught me this.'"

"When I teach, I try to figure out where each student is living, musically. Jazz has so many different focal points. So I try to find their focal point and teach them as much as I know about that."

"On the road, you can play a concert in front of thousands of people and not have a real one-on-one interaction with anyone. But teaching is a real one-on-one experience. It's mentoring. The mentors I've had communicated to me the essence of what this music is all about. Jazz is a lifestyle. It's a language."