The Mosaic Project (album)

The Mosaic Project[1] is the fifth studio album as a leader by Terri Lyne Carrington.

She won the award in the category "Best Jazz Vocal Album" at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012.[2]


The Mosaic Project assembles an all-female cast, including Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cassandra Wilson, Nona Hendryx, Patrice Rushen, Sheila E, Geri Allen, Tineke Postma, Ingrid Jensen, Helen Sung, Gretchen Parlato, and Esperanza Spalding.

The album opens with “Transformation,” a song written and sung by Nona Hendryx that examines the constant state of flux and change that exists throughout nature and the universe. “This is completely different from Nona’s original version,” says Carrington. “Some people wouldn’t even recognize it, but this song resonates with me - so much so that I started hearing other music around her original melody with moments of Wayne Shorter’s influence peeking through.”

Gretchen Parlato takes the mike on a sensual rendition of Irving Berlin’s “I Got Lost in His Arms,” and follows immediately with setting up the intro on a jazzy and slightly revved up rendition of the McCartney/Lennon’s classic love ballad, “Michelle.” The latter is consistent with Carrington’s recurring tradition of inserting Beatles covers into various albums.

Further in, "Magic and Music" is a track that evolved over time and ultimately came together as a tribute to the late soul legend Teena Marie. “I had written the music a while ago, but the lyrics are new. I wrote the lyrics as a tribute to Teena, who was a friend of mine. Any real fan of hers – anyone who really knows her music – will recognize that this song is all about her.

The politically and emotionally charged “Echo,” a song by Bernice Johnson Reagon of the all-female, African-American a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, is the powerful centerpiece to the album. Carrington’s arrangement for the song, which came together a couple years ago to celebrate the honorary doctorate that Reagon received from Berklee College of Music in 2009, opens with a thought provoking introduction by civil rights activist Angela Davis, then moves into a stirring vocal feature by Dianne Reeves. “Bernice was a major influence on my development as a young woman in the late ‘80s, as was Dianne and Angela, and I wanted to pay tribute to them because their music, activism, friendship and humanity were all strong influences on me personally.”

Other noteworthy tracks in the latter half of the sequence include a seductive cover of Al Green’s “Simply Beautiful,” with warm and sensual vocals by Cassandra Wilson; the percussive yet soaring “Unconditional Love,” written by Geri Allen and sung by Esperanza Spalding; and Spalding’s own whimsical and syncopated “Crayola,” which appears just a couple tracks later.

Dee Dee Bridgewater delivers the vocal line on “Soul Talk,” a piece written by Carrington and Hendryx and arranged with an elastic rhythm and a fascinating instrumental mix. The churning “Mosaic Triad,” another Carrington composition, vacillates between bebop and funk, and in the process sets up a rich sonic pallet that forces the listener to engage and take notice. “Show Me a Sign,” written by Carmen Lundy, is the deceptive closer - melodic on one hand, yet infused with a sense of urgency by the persistent rumble of drums that underscores the entire track.


Track listing

1."Mosaic Triad"  5:33
2."Transformation"  4:58
3."Echo"  6:52
4."Wistful"  3:45
5."Crayola (Esperanza Spalding)"  7:14
6."I Got Lost in His Arms"  4:30
7."Michelle (Paul McCartney)"  5:56
8."Simply Beautiful"  4:48
9."Soul Talk"  4:29
10."Unconditional Love"  5:56
11."Insomniac"  5:59
12."Cacadores de Emocoes"  5:13
13."Show Me a Sign"  2:28
14."Sisters On The Rise (A Transformation)"  3:59


  1. Carrington, Terri Lyne (2011), The Mosaic Project, CJA-33016-02, Concord Jazz
  2. "Nominees And Winners". Retrieved 2011-12-25.
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