Review: Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science @ The Jazzlab

13 June 2018

This review is part of our coverage of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science gave a mesmerising performance in this year’s International Jazz Festival. Led by Terri Lyne, a Grammy-winning drummer, the modern and original take on jazz featuring themes from neo-soul, acid jazz, hip-hop, indie rock and soul was cleverly used as a vessel for a satirical social commentary project highlighting matters of sexism, racism, freedom.

The highly topical lyrics did not get in the way of a great musical performance although from time to time the lyrics felt a bit forced. All members of the Social Science—featuring Aaron Parks (piano), Matthew Stevens (guitar), Morgan Guerin (base and saxophone) and vocalists MC Kassa and Dèbo Ray—had great band chemistry and such a high level of conviction, earning their place next to the highly skilled Terri Lyne. The combination of these two, usually separate musical acts, shows a different side to Terri Lyne as a more contemporary jazz artist, perhaps aiming to speak to a younger audience or just expanding her repertoire of styles.

The themes of hip-hop and neo-soul, use of electric keyboards, electric base (as opposed to a double bass and acoustic piano) and collaboration with a rapper, MC Kassa, tap into popular music however they were tastefully mixed in with a more well-styled jazz creating a show that can be appreciated by a range of people with differing musical tastes.

It was obvious they were extremely well received by the audience who demanded an encore and gave them a standing ovation; they are certainly capable of becoming well-known if they choose to keep the collaboration going. Overall this was a well-presented act backed up with skill and visible passion for their music and their message. It is definitely worth getting tickets to one of their upcoming shows!

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