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Terri Lyne Carrington Discusses the Urgency Behind Social Science and 'Waiting Game'

Delphine Diallo
Social Science, clockwise from top: Terri Lyne Carrington, Matthew Stevens, Morgan Guerin, Kassa Overall, Debo Ray, Aaron Parks

Thought provoking. Conscience awakening. A call to action. Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science’s new album, Waiting Game (Motéma), is a direct response to the current sociopolitical climate in America.

Carrington — a three-time Grammy-winning drummer, bandleader, composer and producer — leads Social Science in an official album-release show on Saturday at (Le) Poisson Rouge

This week I caught up with her and two other members of the group, pianist Aaron Parks and guitarist Matthew Stevens, for an in-depth discussion about the impetus behind the album. Terri Lyne also talked about her longstanding wish to create a project where she isn't just the leader but part of a collective, an opportunity she felt had escaped her until now.

Social Science explores themes of race, gender, class, sexuality, and faith through a variety of musical genres — from jazz to rock to hip-hop and R&B. Along with Carrington, Parks and Stevens, the group includes Morgan Guerin on saxophone and electric bass, Debo Ray on vocals, and Kassa Overall on spoken word and turntables.

Waiting Game perpetuates an idea of American inclusiveness, even (and especially) in the face of division. Along with the core personnel of Social Science, it features an array of guest artists, like Malcolm Jamal Warner, Meshell Ndegeocello, Nicholas Payton, Raydar Ellis, Mark Kibble, Kokayi, and Maimouna Youssef (Mumu Fresh). Even activists Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Marilyn Buck, Leonard Peltier, and Laura Whiteborn bring their voices to the album.

At a time where pessimism so often permeates our daily lives, Waiting Game offers a loving, optimistic answer to the issues that divide us.

Keanna Faircloth is a Washington, DC native and comes to WBGO getting her start on-air at WPFW 89.3 FM in 2003, most recently as the host of Late Night Jazz: The Continuum Experience. She is a graduate of Howard University having majored in Music History with a minor in Classical Piano. Keanna has written for NPR Music, and worked for Radio One as an on-air personality, producer and voice-over talent. She is also the creator and host of Artimacy Podcast, where she has interviewed artists like Wynton Marsalis, Matthew Whitaker, Jonathan Butler, and Dionne Warwick. As a result, she was recognized by Radio Ink Magazine as a 2019 African American leader in radio.