Listen: Kenny Baron & Regina
– "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise"
Baron & Regina Carter
– "Squatty Roo"
Baron & Regina Carter
– "Shades of Gray"
While some may consider the violin to be a slightly unconventional
jazz instrument, such restrictive conventions have never hindered
Regina Carter’s creativity. Growing up in Detroit, Carter played
in orchestral string sections, but longed to find a more individual
mode of expression. Hearing jazz violin legend Stephane Grappelli
opened her ears to a different approach and started a lifelong love
affair with jazz and improvisation. Since she began releasing recordings
as a leader in the mid-1990s, Carter has continued to make bold choices
and blaze her own musical trail. Her diverse projects include a celebration
of the musical heritage of Detroit, from Thad Jones to Marvin Gaye;
a disc of duets with the great pianist Kenny Barron; a loving tribute
to her late mother’s favorite songs of the swing era; and a
live album documenting her triumphant performance in Genoa, Italy
on the famous “Il Cannone” violin once owned
by Niccolò Paganini—the first time a jazz musician was
invited to play the legendary instrument. A relentlessly creative
artist with extraordinary versatility, Carter has performed with
leading musicians in many genres, from Wynton Marsalis to Mary J.
“Regina Carter creates music that is wonderfully
listenable, probingly intelligent and, at times, breathtakingly
the listener into the future of jazz.”
What’s the strangest experience you’ve
ever had on the bandstand?
I was playing the Blue Note in Milan and an audience member walked
up on stage while we were playing to tell me about a video he had
seen. I was totally blown away that he had no concept of boundaries
What job would you have if you weren’t a jazz musician?
Psychologist or massage therapist.
What’s your favorite food?
I love spicy foods & collard greens, callaloo, chicken vindaloo,
tzatziki, oysters, etc…
What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled
to as a musician?
What’s the last book you’ve read? An Introduction to Music Therapy Theory and Practice by
Davis, Gfeller & Thaut; Sonata Mulattica by Rita Dove
If you could play with any other musician, living or dead (with
whom you have not played), who would it be and why?
Stuff Smith, Habib Koite, J.S. Bach, Jill Scott, Rokia Traore, to
name a few. The passion and grit in their music gets inside me and
awakens my core .
Who is your greatest musical influence?
Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and Itzhak Perlman
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three
recordings with you, what would they be?
Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace, Coltrane’s After
the Rain and Dobet Gnahore’s Na Afriki
What hobbies do you have?
I don’t have a main hobby but gardening is my new found love.
Also, I enjoy working on jigsaw puzzles with my husband.
If you could be any other type of artist other than a jazz musician,
what would you be and why?
A dancer. It seems freeing to be able to use your whole body for
When did you become interested in music, and what circumstances
or events led to your becoming a professional musician?
Music was a part of our lives from birth. My grandmother who graduated
with a degree in pedagogy in 1915 felt music and education were extremely
important so my mother started my brothers and me with lessons before
we started school.
If you were to describe your music as a color, what color would
it be and why?
The color would constantly change depending on circumstances.