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Five BRILLIANT Stars! Grammy-winning drummer, singer, composer/arranger, producer, and leader Terri Lyne Carrington's 5th recording is a major achievement of great beauty, hipness, and social significance which won the 2011 Jazz Vocal Album Grammy. Three decades into her impressive and multi-faceted career, on this recording the Berklee grad has enlisted and expertly combined the talents, in varying combinations, of over 20 top female musicians and singers all of whom transcend gender and are among the very best performers that the jazz world has to offer. These are female performers "coming together to support and celebrate each other from a musical and social perspective". And the various messages never get in the way of the beautiful, swinging music because they are the music. And what an exceptional cast of Grammy-winners, poll winners, established stars, and rising stars! Terri Lyne taps the front rank vocal talents of Diane Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cassandra Wilson, Gretchen Parlato, Carmen Lundy, and Nona Hendryx, along with the blazing instrumental musicianship of singer/bassist Esperanza Spalding and Mimi Jones' bass; Ingrid Jensen on brass; Tineke Postma on reeds; Anat Cohen on clarinet and reeds; Geri Allen, Patrice Rushen, and Helen Sung on keyboards, singer/percussionist Shelia E, and Chia-Yin Carol Ma's violin. "Transformation", written and sung by Nona Hendryx is truly a hip revelation and the McCartney/Lennon "Michelle" is transformed into a bluesy, inspired instrumental journey. The gut-wrenching "Echo" begins with Angela Davis' words which are magnified and illuminated by Dianne Reeves, the chorus, and some tasty unison and solo work by Jensen. Terri Lyne's beautiful, touching "Magic and Music" is one of the first recorded tributes to the recently-departed Queen of Ivory Soul, Teena Marie. "Crayola" features the vocals and plucking of the newest star in the jazz and Grammy universe: Esperanza Spalding. The slick and sly "Soul Talk" is a marvel by Dee Dee Bridgewater and the group. Cassandra Wilson makes Al Green's "Simply Beautiful" much more than the title: its soulful and gorgeous with a tender solo by Chia-Yin Carol Ma's violin. Gretchen Parlato soars and purrs through an excellent "I Got Lost In His Arms" with Patrice dropping a hot solo. "Mosaic Triad" is a complex, convoluted, and shape shifting ensemble experience. All driven along by Terri Lyne's exceptional drumming and vocals. All songs are uniformly excellent and this recording gets My Highest Recommendation. Five BIG Stars! (This review is based on an mp3 download: 14 tracks. Trivia: At age 11, Terri Lyne Carrington received a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music.)
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on July 19, 2011
Let me say that I was blown away by Teri Lyne Carrington's latest offering. It is deep, profound, musically complex, and lush. To get the full effect of the brilliance of these very talented women, please be sure to listen on a good quality sound system (undisturbed) to allow yourself the pleasure of experiencing every note and nuance. You'll do yourself a great disservice to listen to this CD simply as background music. It's that rich. What a treasure!
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on July 19, 2011
I went through the whole CD twice already - and it's superb. There's no skippers, every track is beautiful and multi-layered. Gotta give it up to the guest artists too. Terri Lyne is the glue holding everybody together, but all these women are remarkable in their own right. These new jazz albums continue to inspire me! Cheers to Terri and all the guest artists on Mosaic.
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VINE VOICEon January 22, 2012
This is one of the best vocal jazz c.d.'s of 2011. It is #2 in Jazz Times' annual poll (#16 overall), and it received a Grammy Nomination. Here is my confirmatory spin on the situation:

There are twenty musicians on this recording, and all are women. I don't know if this was a case of Ms. Carrington calling in a lot of favors, or of a number of accomplished women musicians really wanting to do this recording, or both. Whichever the case, the effect is stunning.

The basic musical genre (except for the last track; see below) is '70's-style fusion. Tricky music to play, and it is played consistently superbly. You will hear traces of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, Weather Report and "Silent Way" Miles Davis throughout. The basic group of instrumentalists (Ms. Carrington and Sheila E., drums and percussion; Geri Allen, Patrice Rushen or Helen Sung, keyboards; Esperanza Spaulding, bass; Anat Cohen, clarinet and bass clarinet; Ingrid Jensen, trumpet and flugelhorn; Hailey Niswanger, flute; Tineke Postma, saxes; Linda Taylor, guitars) sound tight and wonderful throughout.

And the singers! A recording with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Gretchen Parlato, Ms. Spaulding, and Carmen Lundy, all on one disc? Check my pulse; I think I've died and gone to heaven!

All of that is as good as advertised. But the title of the disc is "The Mosaic Project." I'm not saying all recordings have to have a gestalt; but the great ones do, and a title such as that begs for one. What is this album about, ultimately?

Here's my take: The key tracks are #1, "Transformation'" #14, "Sisters on the Rise"; and #4, "Echo." These three point to the picture in the mosaic; the evolution of modern day woman.

Think about it: In the 1960's the media sold us Marlo Thomas as the icon of feminity. In the 1970's, it was Mary Tyler Moore. Women have come a long way from that, undisputedly. But it hasn't been a linear, "Point A to Point B" progression. And in some ways, when you consider the point of Angela Davis's speech about prisons and slavery on "Echo" (which I assume was taken from her heyday in the late '60's - early '70's), it hasn't changed much at all.

Yet, the album ends with this group singing the message in "Sisters on the Rise" - a rap. Yes, they have taken what all too often is a mysoginistic media, and these jazz musicians have made their point. They are a force. Not to be reckoned with, but to be acknowledged, to be respected.

What a wonderful production job by Terri Lynne Carrington. This probably will be her signature album, when all is said and done. And it is a wonderful signature. I can't tell you whether the whole exceeds the sum of its parts or not, because both are just so very, very good. RC
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on March 1, 2012
Unfortunately, we're still in an age in which artistic accomplishments by an all-female aggregation are still noted in that gender-specific way, because it's something out of the norm. It is, but not because of the relative talent of the performers. When was the last time you heard about a release notable because it was done by an all-male band? That said, Carrington's latest effort is a celebration of all things jazz, all things musical, and, coincidentally, all things female. Behind her drum kit, Carrington is a painter. She provides just the right percussive touch to bring each track forward, showcase the singer or lead instrument, and dance a little on the side. Guest vocals by the likes of Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nona Hendryx, and the relatively unknown Gretchen Parlato bring a fascinating variety of styles, yet Carrington's arrangements keep everything whole. Highlights include "I Got Lost in His Arms" (cool horns), "Simply Beautiful" (Al Green's song sparkles), and "Wistful" (when was the last time you heard a bass clarinet melded into a mix?). The Mosaic Project won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, but the coherence of this set is also a tribute to the female musicians who power this masterpiece to fruition.
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on April 23, 2013
My cavil;

You can't make head or tails of the credits, and very much time is spent deciphering the few that appear, should one care to find out more about the music. And one does care, because the music is fine and occasionally compelling.

T.L.C. lists the musicians in alphabetical order and then has little numbers after their names. Like, Cassandra Wilson is listed as vocalist for track 8 (Wistful)but there's no vocals on 8, unless they're hidden somewhere, maybe under a keyboard.

I believe Ms. Wilson handles the vocals on #6 (Simply Beautiful) instead, which is left off the credits.

Ms. Carrington should visit a Bonnie Raitt album, and see how Ms. Raitt respects the music and the performers both; every song is fully credited, with lyrics also appended.

Of course this is just a cavil about the packaging of some fine music, for the making of which I thank all the artists involved.... call it 4 1/2 stars.
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on May 7, 2012
When I first previewed this disc, it didn't grab me. I needed something to round out my Amazon free shipping, so I got this and am very glad I did. This is really a nice disc of all female players. But don't get it just because it's all female. Get it only if u enjoy good music :)
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on July 20, 2011
Press play and to begin this highly entertaining and beautiful musical journey; I promise you there would be goose bumps, finger-snapping and lots of grooving along the way. This is jazz music at its finest incorporating some of the baddest ladies in jazz music today; it's hard to choose just one favorite single.
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on July 6, 2013
Heard this as an Mp3 and just had to get it!
I love hearing Jazz with women vocals.
This is one of the best cds that I've heard in a long time.
Sit down with a good glass of wine, take off your shoes and get ready to be relaxed with what seems to be angel voices and the music, well you get your copy and let me know!
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on December 23, 2014
If your spirit can remain still when Terri Lyne plays, you're probably drugged or dead. She plays so powerfully that her drums sound like they're going to have a heart attack in the middle of her performances. Fortunately, they don't. I think she has them plugged into an oxygen machine. Terri can also play as gently as a young kitten at play. Most important, she knows the jazz canon inside out. She expresses her knowledge with great intellgience and loving care. She never forgets her audience.
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