Terri Lyne Carrington

Professor
Class of 
1983
617 747-3034
For media inquiries, please contact Media Relations

Grammy-winning drummer, composer, and bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington '83 '03H has toured with music luminaries such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Joe Sample, Cassandra Wilson, Clark Terry, and Dianne Reeves.

Carrington’s extensive recording career includes several albums she released as a leader, including The Mosaic Project, for which she won a Grammy for Best Vocal Jazz Album, and Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, for which she won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album—becoming the first woman ever to win a Grammy in this category. Her recording credits include work with Carlos Santana, John Scofield, Terence Blanchard, Dianne Reeves, George Duke, Nancy Wilson, Esperanza Spalding, and Geri Allen, among many others.

She is artistic director of the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival.

  • Career Highlights
    • House drummer on late night TV shows in the late 1980s, including Arsenio Hall Show and VIBE
    • Debut album released in 1989 earned a Grammy nomination
    • Recipient of a Berklee honorary doctorate degree in 2003
    • Has released eight albums as a bandleader
    • Mosaic Project recordings and tours feature top women instrumentalists and vocalists and have earned multiple awards
  • Awards

    Three Grammy Awards:

    • Best Jazz Vocal Album for The Mosaic Project (2011) and Beautiful Life (2014)
    • Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (2013)
  • Education
    • Alumnus, Berklee College of Music

In Their Own Words

"When I was 11 years old, I was on a TV show with Buddy Rich. Someone asked him how he knew I was a good drummer. He said, 'Well, I listen for how she can swing the band, and whether she has good time, good feel, and good articulation.'"

"Joe Garagiola, who was the host, said, 'What does that mean, articulation?' Buddy tried to explain what it meant, then he just said, 'She sounds like she knows what she's doing.'"

"So, that word, articulation, had always been in the back of my head. But I didn't use it too much. Now that I'm teaching, I use it all the time, because articulation is the biggest problem for 90 percent of my students. It's all about clean technique, combined with solid coordination."

"I've been performing with great jazz musicians since I was a kid. And I always revered them. It's been great to be part of a line of such amazing players. Teaching allows me to pass it on. Most of the masters of the music are gone now. So it's really important for me to be able to say, 'Dizzy Gillespie taught me this.'"

"When I teach, I try to figure out where each student is living, musically. Jazz has so many different focal points. So I try to find their focal point and teach them as much as I know about that."

"On the road, you can play a concert in front of thousands of people and not have a real one-on-one interaction with anyone. But teaching is a real one-on-one experience. It's mentoring. The mentors I've had communicated to me the essence of what this music is all about. Jazz is a lifestyle. It's a language."

Watch