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Meet Regina Carter - Cleveland Jazz Orchestra

“Pioneering new possibilities for the violin and for jazz”

–MacArthur Foundation


On Friday, May 20th, we are delighted to share the stage with violinist Regina Carter, at the Maltz Performing Arts Center. She is an internationally recognized figure whose artistry spans an incredibly wide gamut, ensuring that there will truly be “something for everyone” in this show.

A MacArthur Genius Award Winner and a Doris Duke Artist Award Winner, Carter started playing piano at age two and has been playing the violin since age four. Classically trained, she discovered jazz as a teen and switched her focus in college, starting her love of blending musical genres.

Carter first gained recognition as a member of the all female jazz quintet Straight Ahead. From their 1991 album Look Straight Ahead, here is “Once Upon a Time”.


In the early 90’s she started a solo career, releasing three albums in fairly quick succession. From her third album  Motor City Moments, here is “For Someone I Love”.


Inspired by a concert in Genoa, Italy, where she was invited to be the first African American and first jazz musician to play Il Cannone (“The Cannon”), the violin of the 19th century master violinist Niccolò Paganini, she went on to release the album Paganini: After a Dream. From that album, here she is performing “Pavane”.

In 2006, Carter was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant, after which she then focused on creating her album Reverse Thread, mixing African folk music with contemporary Afro-Pop, and including some of her own

compositions. From the album Reverse Thread, here are two songs performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert: “N’Teri” (Habib Koite) and “Kanou” (Boubacar Traoré)


A big fan of Ella Fitzgerald (and who isn’t?), she released a tribute album Ella: Accentuate the Positive. Here is her version of “Undecided”.


“Her records would take me to another place. Hearing her voice just felt like love, like a grandmother or someone you love, just the best hug, and you feel like all is well in the world. That’s what Ella feels like to me – and did as a child.” –Regina Carter


Just last fall she was featured on Live From Emmet’s Place, and one of the tunes they performed was “Just Squeeze Me”.

*Watch til the end to see the looks of sheer delight on their faces!


If she is new to you, enjoy this little introduction to her work.
If you are already familiar with her work, what favorites would you add?