It would be easy to dismiss former child-prodigy drummer Carringtonís latest as a mish-mash of mid-í60s Miles and hip-hop-infused schmaltz. The latter would be the spoken-word "poem" of the album title (delivered by Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who also plays bass) in the opening and closing tracks. As for the former, trumpeter Wallace Roney is deep in character as Miles, down to every half-valved whimper, melancholy scale, and perfectly deployed half-note rest. And as if that werenít enough, Herbie Hancock, who after all helped invent mid-í60s Miles, is here on two tracks, and when heís not at the piano, Greg Kurstin is offering a credible impersonation.
But put on the blindfold and listen to Roney and tenor-sax Gary Thomas chase each otherís phrases, or check Thomasís heft and rippling patterns on just about any track. Or listen to Herbie break the flow on Lars Danielssonís "Little Jump" with a little tempo-less reverie, just one of the ways in which Carrington maintains an elastic sense of ensemble rhythm without losing the groove. Itís also to her credit that she limits herself to a couple of brief solo features, one of them with a voiceover from the late "Papa" Jo Jones thatís more tough and affecting than corny.
The Teri Lyne Carrington Quartet, with Mulgrew Miller, Gary Thomas, and John Patitucci, plays Scullers this Tuesday, November 19; call (617) 562-4111.