Written by Eric J. Davis for THE ARTISTS FORUM MAGAZINE
Edited by Amos White V for THE ARTISTS FORUM, INC
Photos: David Katzenstein
5 out of 5 stars
REGINA CARTER’S SOUTHERN COMFORT AT THE JAZZ STANDARD
New York, NY (August 1, 2015) In a word – WOW! Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort brought nothing less than the full meaning of this description to a packed room at the Jazz Standard last night. What a way to end this hot month than with an even hotter performance by Regina Carter and her sumptuously seductive violin! From start to finish, her quintet led the crowd through an impressive and often improvisational repertoire of music that was filled with a rich and varied texture and an exuberance of honest emotion.
Carter has been playing violin since she was a child of four years old (and at times with Itzhak Perlman and Yehudi Menuhin no less). So it was little wonder that an effervescent youthfulness pervaded her music and stage presence. Her child-like innocence carried over to her total connection to the music even when not playing. As her accomplished bandmates performed on their own, Carter rocked back and forth and constantly shook her hand at her side in rhythm to the quick tempo.
Carter’s early work was produced by none other than The Artists Forum’s Emeritus Advisory Board Member, Arif Mardin. Her savvy and skill have lead to her becoming a 2006 MacArthur Fellow.
Bringing the past to the present has proven to be a beautiful journey for Carter, who is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. But it wasn’t an evening of just all that jazz. The eclectic assortment of music drew inspiration from traditional and modern African songs, America’s Deep South – gospel, spirituals, and blues – and coal miners’ work songs that her paternal grandfather would have heard in rural Alabama in the early 20th century.
Honky Tonkin’ and I’m Going Home on the Morning Train were from Carter’s Southern Comfort album, Un Aguinaldo Pa Regina was from her Reverse Thread album, and Mandingo Street was from her Rhythms of the Heart release. The chemistry between the fivesome was unmatched, and Carter played with an unfaltering intensity and sensitivity. Every lick and riff on her violin carried deep meaning from upbeat and raw to haunting and moody.
Carter’s crew consisted of Will Holshouser, accordion; Marvin Sewell, electric and acoustic guitar; Chris Lightcap, bass; and Alvester Garnett, drums. Together and playing solo, they were not only supportive of Carter but totally top notch in their musicianship. All in all, a brilliant performance.