Annually, the Legends of Jazz Series presented by the Williamsville East High School music program exposes students to the top echelon of jazz artists in the world. This year will be no exception. The series will present jazz violinist Regina Carter on Wednesday, May 24th at 7:30 pm.
Carter is considered the finest jazz violinist of her generation by critics worldwide. Heralded by reviewers from the New York Times to the venerable Downbeat Magazine. Throughout her musical journey, she has received Grammy nominations and recognition from throughout the jazz world. Here is more provided by Wayne Moose, who leads the jazz orchestra and ensembles for Williamsville East:
Violinist Regina Carter combines dazzling technical proficiency and profound compositional and improvisational gifts with a fresh, aggressive approach to her instrument and a multicultural perspective – and she challenges our preconceptions regarding the instrument. "People are only used to hearing the violin in European classical music or country music," says the Detroit-born violinist, "and so we get stuck in this idea that this is what a violin is supposed to do. And it's such a precious instrument and such a delicate instrument…” In Carter's hands, the violin reveals both its melodic side and its potential for percussive expression. Perhaps more significantly, Regina Carter demonstrates the violinist's eagerness to explore musical combinations and contexts both familiar and unexpected.
The ease with which Carter is able to switch musical idioms derives from a lifetime spent immersed in music. She began playing the piano at the age of two, then switched to violin at four. Carter considers the Suzuki method of instruction – which emphasizes learning by doing, to play by ear rather than by sight – to be a significant factor in her subsequent ability to improvise since, as she says, "it freed us up from the paper – from reading a lot."
At first, she listened to classical music. Then, as she got older she discovered R&B. "There was just a lot of different music going on there [in Detroit], we had Motown happening and Parliament-Funkadelic, and the Symphony, so there was some of everything. When I went to school I took a class in East Indian music and the history of India, and then African music." Her original goal was to become a soloist with a major orchestra, and in her youth, she studied and performed with the Detroit Civic Symphony. Jazz wasn't a big part of her life until she heard Jean-Luc Ponty as a high school student. "I just immediately fell in love with it and started studying jazz a little bit in high school," she recalls. As a college student at the New England Conservatory, she studied both classical and jazz before deciding to pursue jazz full-time. After two years at the Conservatory, Carter transferred to Oakland University in Michigan and gigged constantly around Detroit with many of the local musicians, including trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. In 1987, she joined the all-female jazz quintet Straight Ahead and recorded two albums with them before deciding to step out on her own. Now based in New York, she has worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton, Herbie Hancock, Ray Brown, Wayne Shorter, Max Roach, and the Uptown String Quartet. She also records with the String Trio of New York.
Her quest for beauty combined with her passion for excellence did not escape the attention of the MacArthur Foundation, who awarded Regina their prestigious fellowship “genius grant.” Regina’s upcoming album, Ella: Accentuate the Positive, and touring program, Simply Ella, mark the 100th birthday of a musical legend. The program celebrates the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald – THE source of Regina’s musical inspiration.
Ms. Carter and her husband, drummer Alvester Garnett, will be performing live in concert Wednesday, May 24th at 7:30 pm at Williamsville East High School. Reserved tickets may be purchased by calling 716-626-8462 or in the Williamsville East music wing. Presale is highly recommended. See you there!
This is another "do not miss" opportunity to see one of the foremost renowned jazz artists in the world today. She will be working with the students of Williamsville East, which then culminates into this special concert evening with performances, accompanied by Regina Carter, by the ensembles and orchestra led by co-directors Wayne Moose and Stephen Shewan.
Here is music from Regina Carter's latest project paying tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, which includes a searingly beautiful rendition of Dedicated to You:
As you can see, nothing short of exceptional jazz artistry. Once again, support this stellar Legends of Jazz Series when Regina Carter and her husband, drummer Alvester Garnett, perform live in concert Wednesday, May 24th at 7:30 pm at Williamsville East High School. Reserved tickets may be purchased by calling 716-626-8462 or in the Williamsville East music wing.
Keep Jazz Alive!!