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ACS: Trio Plays Tribute to Wayne Shorter


pianist Geri Allen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and bass player Esperanza Spalding

Three renowned jazz instrumentalists will be presenting a tribute to saxophonist Wayne Shorter in the season of his 80th birthday.  Sponsored by Da Camera, the concert will take place Saturday, October 19 at 8:00pm in the Cullen Theater, at the Wortham Theater Center.  Come early for a pre-concert conversation with the musicians at 7:30pm.

Terri Lyne Carrington (photo by Tracy Love)

Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington is a Grammy Award-winning drummer and composer who has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Lester Bowie, Pharoah Sanders, Cassandra Wilson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Houston’s own Joe Sample.  She began as a percussionist at age seven, when she inherited her grandfather’s drum set.

Carrington spoke about the upcoming show in a phone interview.

The ACS project came after a project of Carrington’s called ‘Mosaic’ brought them all together.  Carrington chose that name because she “was trying to put a lot of different shapes and musical colors together and with all the different women of different backgrounds, different age groups, and different nationalities.  It felt like a mosaic.”

Carrington also spoke about her career.  “From a young age, my dad was very supportive.  He wanted me to be a boy so I could carry on the musical tradition in the family.  So when I showed an interest in music, he was thrilled, and decided to support me all the way.  I was very lucky because he had so many friends that were jazz musicians, so they were all very supportive.  Without my dad I wouldn’t have had the same career.”

Speaking about her mentor, Jack DeJohnette, Carrington said he was the first to tell her, “‘You don’t have to repeat everything you hear.  Just because you hear somebody play something doesn’t mean you have to jump on that rhythm.’  That was something I really needed to hear at eighteen.  He really took it upon himself, he and his wife, to open me up musically, because when I met them I was more of a jazz-head and they helped play other styles of music for me.  They were very instrumental in opening up my musical taste.”

She also talked about developing musically along with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, “Herbie and Wayne are also big mentors of mine.  They say they’re not playing music anymore, they’re playing life, and it took me a long time to get that.  At one gig, I felt like something changed, something had opened up for me.  Then after the gig, I hadn’t told Herbie (we’d just finished playing) and he said, ‘Now you’ve got it.’ So, he heard it too.  It’s not something I could define but it’s just a connection  to your instrument, to the people you’re playing with and also the audience.  But that primary connection with your instrument, feeling like you’re one with it, and you’re not going to have any agenda.”

Esperanza Spalding (photo by Tom Allen)

Esperanza Spalding is a three-time Grammy Award-winner who has performed for the Obamas at the White House.  Spalding’s Grammy for Best New Artist was the first ever given to a jazz musician.  Her winning so enraged Justin Bieber fans, that they engaged in a racist troll campaign against her.  Her musical path started at age four, when she watched Yo-Yo Ma play cello on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Geri Allen

Geri Allen is a composer, professor, and jazz pianist who has worked with Ornette Coleman, Ron Carter, Ravi Coltrane, Tony Williams, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Betty Carter.

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