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Brilliant Mosaic

05 AUG 11 JONATHAN WIDRAN

In 2009, after a 20-year hiatus from U.S. recording, Terri Lyne Carrington released More To Say... Real Life Story: NextGen. Keeping the star-studded, concept driven tradition going,  the versatile drummer/composer -- also a professor at her alma mater, Berklee College of Music -- creates a fascinating 13-track mosaic of various voices, rhythms and jazz-related styles on her Concord Jazz debut aptly titled The Mosaic Project.

While Carrington is front and center as the rhythmic foundation, composer of numerous tracks and producer of this delightfully diverse statement of "girl power," she's also the spiritual force behind the rich notion of women with voices coming together to support and celebrate each other from a musical and social perspective. Combining originals by Carrington, contributors Esperanza Spalding ("Crayola"), Geri Allen, Carmen Lundy and Nona Hendryx (the powerful opening track "Transformation") with inventively re-imagined classics by The Beatles ("Michelle"), Irving Berlin and Al Green, the ambitious project rolls as an expansive commentary on historical, current and appropriately feminine themes while offering a provocative, engaging and challenging listening experience.

As the title implies, it's a delightful and colorful musical hodgepodge that somehow weaves a mix of strong compositions and abstract improvising together quite brilliantly. The CD insert is a visual mosaic in itself, displaying images of the diverse artists Carrington invites to the consciousness lifting party. These include Dee Dee Bridgewater ("Soul Talk"), Dianne Reeves ("Echo"), Anat Cohen, Sheila E., Ingrid Jensen, Gretchen Parlato ("I Got Lost In His Arms"), Patrice Rushen and Cassandra Wilson ("Wistful"). Carrington fashioned one of the collection's melodic centerpieces "Magic And Music" as a tribute to late soul great Teena Marie.