The Song, Not the Singer

Regina Carter reclaims the violin for jazz

For the past several years she has played with Turre's ensemble at the famed downtown New York City nightspot Sweet Basil; her own recently formed acoustic group now graces that club's stage as well. Given the choice of being a sideman or a leader, Carter chooses not to choose: "I like both equally. Isn't that funny? Every sideman should have to be a leader at least once in his life because he would not give a leader as much grief," she says, bursting out in wild laughter.

Regina Carter reclaims the violin for jazz
David Mayenfisch
Regina Carter reclaims the violin for jazz

Details

Performs as part of Miami-Dade Community College's Jazz Outreach Project at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, January 20. Tickets cost $20 and $25. Call 305-237-3010.
Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 DeSoto Blvd, Coral Gables.

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While the most distinguished women in jazz have chosen the piano or the voice as their chief instruments, Carter has no plans to relinquish her violin anytime soon. "I feel like I'm at a point in my career where I still have so much to learn," she notes. The record company and conventional promoters claim she'd be wise to hone her voice, but for Carter, working on her vocals is not in the long-term scheme of things. Although the media spotlight generally is reserved for singers, she's satisfied quietly toiling away on her stringed instrument, perfecting her technique and writing songs. "A lot of the people at the label say, 'Oh, do you sing? You should sing.'" she says. "But trust me, if I ever sing, I better sound a lot better than I do now. That or they'll run me out of town!"

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