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Terri Lyne Carrington’s Classic Album: Nina Simone’s Black Gold

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Terri Lyne Carrington discusses Nina Simone’s Black Gold.

Ahead of Terri Lyne Carrington’s Classic Album Sundays event on Sun 17 Nov, the EFG London Jazz Festival 2019 Artist-in-Residence takes an in depth look at one of her favourite albums, Black Gold by Nina Simone.

I go through rediscoveries of music all the time. I knew Black Gold from years ago, but it was only recently I discovered how special it is. I spend a lot of time online, there is so much music to discover out there, young people and rediscovering older performances. I think digital media and platforms are greatest invention ever, they’ve made the world a lot smaller!


© Delphine Diallo

Listening to this record again recently, I was struck again by the performances, the repertoire, the theme that enfolds on that era, the fact that a lot of themes are still relevant right now. And also the musicianship … one of my close friends, Don Alias played drums on that album. The energy, the urgency…

I was actually thinking this morning that I’d like to cover this album with my students [at Berklee]. It would be great to cover a Nina Simone record, and do a concert of that album and even have my students sing. Because I think it’s important for musicians to also sing, along with whatever instrument they play ­– being able to interpret lyrics, makes them interpret melodies and songs better.

‘All musicians should strive for that kind of universality in their writing and their performances.’

I think Black Gold is the perfect album to cover because there is so much richness in the music and Nina defies category. Obviously, her nickname is High Priestess of Soul but I just think the music is beyond category, we hear soul, jazz, folk music, African music and Caribbean music, we hear Classical music…. And I think all musicians should strive for that in some way, for that kind of universality in their writing and their performances.

Finally, it’s a brilliant live record­– I really like live records, I’ve always liked them! When I was young and in college, I was a guest DJ and the thing I remember most is that in a nearly 2 hours-long show most of the songs were live recordings. I think for me there’s something about live recording, I feel like I’m there, like I am in the room and I am imagining the spirit of the room, I feel that core.

Author: Terri Lyne Carrington

Terri Lyne Carrington’s EFG London Jazz Festival Residency begins on Sat 16 Nov with two performances, one alongside her band Social Science Community and another with a string of UK talent including Emma-Jean Thackray, Soweto Kinch, TrueMendous and Ayanna Witter-Johnson.

Terri Lyne Carrington also appears on Classic Album Sundays to discuss Nina Simone’s Black Gold on Sun 17 Nov.

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