Best of 2019 #60: Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science – “Waiting Game”


When I wrote about this album for The Bandcamp Daily, I stated, “There’s nuance to this music, but the message is undeniably blunt: On her new release, Terri Lyne Carrington is calling society out. Waiting Game is a rebuke to inequality, and each piece shines a spotlight on the ways it manifests itself in the world.”  There’s no way to write about this album without bringing in that context.

Many recordings, most even, it’s not difficult to interface with the music in an environment completely stripped of its context.  How we, as listeners, choose to interpret the music is entirely based on how each of us as individuals are wired, and the resulting imagery and messages may veer dramatically far away from the musician’s intent.  This is true of all art, and it is, in fact, a trait of creativity that is powerful and humanistic and essential.  But as the 2019 release from Terri Lyne Carrington proves so adeptly, some albums simply won’t allow the context to be shed quite so easily.  This is protest music through and through, it names names, and it forces us as listeners to see what’s really happening, gives us no other choice but to face up to it, no matter how much we’d prefer a reprieve from the world, just long enough to listen to some beautiful music.  Carrington’s Waiting Game, comprised half of mainstream jazz tunes and the other half an improvised suite, certainly is beautiful music in its way, but there’s no escaping the fact that it was created in a world full of so much ugliness.  Now, more than ever, we need this music.

Your album personnel:  Terri Lyne Carrington (drums, vocals), Aaron Parks (piano), Matthew Stevens (guitar), Morgan Guerin (bass, sax), Debo Ray (vocals), Kassa Overall (MC/DJ), and guest vocalists:  Rapsody, Mark Kibble, Nicholas Payton, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Meshell Ndegeocello, Esperanza Spalding, Maimouna Youssef, and Raydar Ellis.

Released on Motema Music.

Music from New York City.

I wrote about this album for The Bandcamp Daily.

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