In early February 2013, Concord Jazz will release Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s homage to Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach’s iconic 1963 album Money Jungle. Carrington is assisted throughout the 11-track outing by keyboardist Gerald Clayton and bassist Christian McBride. Together the trio pays tribute to Ellington and company by covering nearly the entirety of the original recording. Guests include trumpeter Clark Terry, trombonist Robin Eubanks, reed players Tia Fuller and Antonio Hart, guitarist Nir Felder, percussionist Arturo Stabile and vocalists Shea Rose and Lizz Wright. Herbie Hancock closes the album quoting Ellington, with observations about the role of music in society and the popularity of money versus the popularity of art.
To prepare for the project, Carrington read up on Ellington. “I felt liked a method actor,” says the composer and bandleader. “I just dug as deep as I could in the time that I had to get a glimpse of his perspective on things. When you start rearranging music by someone like Duke Ellington, you better feel really good about what you’re doing. In the end, I felt confident that I didn’t do him a disservice, because he was a very open-minded artist, and he was very much about moving forward.”
Carrington inserted two of her own compositions into the set along with a delicate piece written by Clayton. The three tracks replace “Warm Valley,” “Caravan” and “Solitude,” which appear on the original Money Jungle but were not written specifically for the date.
“There always something that’s new, if you know how to listen to it,” Carrington says. “You have to be able to appreciate the past if you want to have a future. I think that’s a big part of our job as artists and entertainers and educators—to keep reminding the younger musicians how important our predecessors were, especially the people who made the music what it is today. So it was my goat to bring some fresh light and fresh energy to some of Duke’s music in general and this recording in particular.”