A few years ago we had the opportunity to interview Grammy-winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington on Teen Jazz. This week, we’re excited to bring you a review of her latest release on Concord Jazz, Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.

Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue features Gerald Clayton on keys, Christian McBride on bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums, encapsulating the essence of the album’s inspiration – Duke Ellington’s album Money Jungle (with Charles Mingus and Max Roach). The original album is a commentary on the battle between art and profit and the more recent release continues with that message.

And yet, while still maintaining the essence of the original, Carrington has made Money Jungle her own. The album includes eight fresh arrangements of Ellington’s music and three originals (one by Clayton and two by Carrington).

Guests on the album include Robin Eubanks on trombone, Clark Terry on voice and trumpet on “Fleurette Africain,” Tia Fuller on alto flute, Antonio Hart on flute, Nir Felder on guitar, Shea Rose and Lizz Wright on vocals, Herbie Hancock as the voice of Ellington on “Rem Blues/Music”, and Arturo Stable on percussion.

Carrington discovered the original Ellington album in the discount in at a record store, and upon hearing it the first time was immediately inspired. Once she decided to take on recreating the project, she completely immersed herself in research and preparation. “I felt like a method actor, she says. “I just dug as deep as I could in the time that I had to get a glimpse of his perspective on things. When you start rearranging music by someone like Duke Ellington, you better feel really good about what you’re doing. In the end, I felt confident that I didn’t do him a disservice, because he was a very open-minded artist, and he was very much about moving forward.”

The album opens with the title track, Money Jungle, a stirring piece that begins with Carrington accompanying a voice over (the voice overs on the track are of Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King and Obama). The album is as diverse as it is interesting – the songs range from the funky blues of “Backward Country Boy Blues” to the R&B influenced “REM Blues/Music.”

The three originals on the album are “Grass Roots” and “No Boxes (Nor Words) by Carrington and “Cut Off” by Clayton. The tracks take the place of Ellington’s “Warm Valley”, “Caravan” and “Solitude.”

Money Jungle may be a remake of an already existing project, but Carrington’s additions and fresh approach make it an interesting and well arranged tribute to the great Duke Ellington. In Carrington’s own words: “There’s always something that’s new, if you know how to listen to it. You have to be able to appreciate the past if you want to have a future. I think that’s a big part of our job as artists and entertainers and educators – to keep reminding the younger musicians how important our predecessors were – especially the people who made the music what it is today. So it was my goal to bring some fresh light and fresh energy to some of Duke’s music in general and this recording in particular.”

Terri Lyne Carrington was born in Massachutsetts. Her credits include touring with Herbir Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz and several other great artists. She has more recently collaborated with all star performers such as Patrice Rushen and Esperanza Spalding to create the Grammy Award winning release The Mosaic Project.

Get Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue on Amazon

Title: Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue
Artist: Terri Lyne Carrington
Date: February 05, 2013
Genre: Jazz
Label: Concord Jazz


01 Money Jungle
02 Fleurette Africain
03 Backward Country Boy Blues
04 Very Special
05 Wig Wise
06 Grass Roots
07 No Boxes (Nor Words)
08 A Little Max (Parfait)
09 Switch Blade
10 Cut Off
11 REM Blues/Music

Get Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue on Amazon

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.

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