Regina Carter

Violin – Jazz Camp Week 1

R

egina Carter isn’t just one of the greatest jazz violinists in the world; she’s one of the greatest jazz artists on any instrument, and a master of musical genres from all over the world. And you can study with her at Jazz Camp!

Regina traces her fascination with the violin’s globe-spanning reach to her Detroit upbringing. As a child she was drawn to the way that Motown acts used string sections on the label’s infectious hits. Her ear gravitated to Middle Eastern and North African musical styles she heard in the neighborhood. She listened to lost of Indian classical music artists, such as violinist L. Subramaniam.

Entranced by jazz in high school after hearing a performance by Stéphane Grappelli, Carter found few academic resources to pursue her new passion. She spent two years at the New England Conservatory before realizing she needed a different kind of education. After moving back to Detroit, she worked with the late trumpeter and former SJW faculty artist Marcus Belgrave, an important influence on several generations of Motor City jazz musicians. While her soaring tone owes much to her close listening to alto saxophonists such as Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker, and Arthur Blythe, it was the veteran swing tenorman Big Nick Nicholas who convinced her that the next step in her development was to listen to the great jazz singers.

“The bow is actually your voice,” says Regina. And what a voice she has! Her bow has led her to the highest levels of jazz achievement, working with Wynton Marsalis, vocalist Cassandra Wilson, trombonist Steve Turre, pianists Kenny Barron and Danilo Perez, and guitarist Rodney Jones, as well as many great pop and R&B singers, such as Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Lauryn Hill, and Mary J. Blige.

Regina is unusual among jazz artists so steeped in so many traditions in that she is able to articulate brilliantly her own process of development and learning. This makes her one of the most beloved jazz educators on the SJW faculty, as well as a tremendous resource for any string player interested in exploring improvisation and non-classical approaches to music.

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