Waiting Game

Issue section: 

“Break down the walls til patriarchy falls” goes the line in “The Anthem” on Waiting Game, the new album by Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, a collaboration with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens. On No Justice (For Political Prisoners), the words of activists, newsreaders and prisoners echo.

Since becoming the youngest union card holder in Boston aged 10, Carrington has been politically engaged for all of her 40-year career in music, as drummer, producer and educator.

Her Grammy-winning 2011 album The Mosaic Project starred an all-woman credit list, and in 2013, she was the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Waiting Game is her most politically direct work to date. “Everything has been pointing in this direction. At some point you have to figure out your purpose in life. There are a lot of drummers deemed ‘great.’ For me, that’s not as important as the legacy you leave behind.”

Subjects in the album range from gender equality and homophobia to police brutality, mass incarceration and the genocide of indigenous Americans.

If the politics are sharp, they sit well in syncopated harmony with a sprawling, expansive sound blending jazz, R&B, indie and hip-hop.