Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer, composer, record producer and entrepreneur. She has played with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Yellowjackets, and many more. For example, she has toured with each of Hancock's musical configurations (from electric to acoustic) between 1997 and 2007.
In 2007 she was appointed professor at her alma mater, Berklee College of Music, where she received an honorary doctorate in 2003. Carrington also serves as Artistic Director of the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival.
Carrington was born in Medford, Massachusetts, into a musical family: her mother played piano as a hobby and her father was a saxophonist and president of the Boston Jazz Society.
At the age of 7, Carrington was given a set of drums that had belonged to her grandfather, Matt Carrington, who had played with Fats Waller and Chu Berry.
After studying privately for three years, she played her first major performance at the Wichita Jazz Festival with Clark Terry. At the age of 11 she received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. When she was 12 years old she was profiled on the PBS kids' biography program Rebop.
At Berklee College of Music she played with leading musicians such as Kevin Eubanks, Donald Harrison, Greg Osby and others. She also studied under master drum instructor Alan Dawson and made a private recording entitled TLC and Friends, with Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, George Coleman and her father, Sonny Carrington, before turning 17. Throughout high school she traveled across the country doing clinics at various schools and colleges.
In 1983, encouraged by her mentor, Jack DeJohnette, Carrington moved to New York, where she worked with Stan Getz, James Moody, Lester Bowie, Pharoah Sanders, Cassandra Wilson, David Sanborn, and others.
In the late 1980s Carrington relocated to Los Angeles, where she gained recognition on late-night TV as the house drummer for The Arsenio Hall Show, then again in the late 1990s as the drummer on the late night TV show VIBE, hosted by Sinbad. In 1996 she collaborated with Peabo Bryson on "Always Reach For Your Dreams", a song commissioned for the 1996 Olympic Games.
Notably, in recent years, she has included Esperanza Spalding, Geri Allen, Helen Sung, James Genus, Bob Hurst, Patrice Rushen, Tineke Postma, Ingrid Jensen, Nona Hendryx, Chihiro, Everette Harp, Greg Phillinganes, Lori Perry, Robert Irving III, Dwight Sills, Lawrence Fields, Randy Runyon, Gary Thomas, Aruan Ortiz, and Munyungo Jackson in her band configurations.
Since 2011, she also appears with Wayne Shorter (with John Pattituci and Danilo Perez), she is the Musical Director of the international "Sing The Truth" Tour .... featuring Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright and Angelique Kidjo (with Romero Lubambo, Geri Allen, James Genus and Munyungo Jackson), and she tours with Geri Allen and Esperanza Spalding as the "ACS Trio."
As a recording artist, in 1988 Carrington started concentrating her efforts on writing and producing her own works ... resulting in Real Life Story, her 1989 Grammy-nominated debut CD featuring Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, Grover Washington, Jr., Gerald Albright, John Scofield, Hiram Bullock, Patrice Rushen, Greg Osby, and Dianne Reeves.
In 2002, she released Jazz is a Spirit, a European market CD featuring Herbie Hancock, Wallace Roney, Terence Blanchard, Kevin Eubanks and Gary Thomas.
In 2004, she released Structure, a collaboration with with Jimmy Haslip, Greg Osby and Adam Rogers.
After a 20-year hiatus from U.S. recording, Carrington released the acclaimed 2009 CD More to Say ... Real Life Story: NextGen, a sequel to her 1989 Real Life Story CD. The album features Nancy Wilson, Les McCann, George Duke, Kirk Whalum, Everette Harp, Christian McBride, Jimmy Haslip, Greg Phillinganes, Robert Irving III, Patrice Rushen, Chuck Loeb, Walter Beasley, Anthony Wilson, Lawrence Fields, Ray Fuller, Dwight Sills, Lori Perry and Chris Walker, with a special appearance by Sonny Carrington. Most of the 15 tracks on the CD are written or co-written by Carrington.
In 2011, she released The Mosaic Project, her fifth album overall and her first on Concord Jazz, which featured a number of singers. It won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
As an entrepreneur, Carrington is a partner in Hebert-Carrington Media (HCM). Founded in 2007 and based in Atlanta, Boston, New Jersey, Washington, DC, Chicago, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, HCM's origins can be traced to the long-term relationships with company co-founder Robert A. Hebert, Esq., high-tech entrepreneurs Frank White, Jr. and Dr. Bernard Yaged, and top media and communications advisor Don Lucoff of DL Media. HCM has relationships with Concord Music, E1 Entertainment, Pony Canyon (Japan), Video Arts Music (Japan), Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Dianne Reeves, Ivan Lins, Toninho Horta, Oscar Castro-Neves, Arthur Maia, Romero Lubambo, Miles Davis Properties, and others.