Those who turned up at the Sheldon in June to catch the double bill of jazz violinists Claude "Fiddler" Williams and Regina Carter have probably already made their plans to catch Carter and her quintet this week at the Backstage Bistro. The 31-year-old Carter was certainly impressive enough during her Sheldon performance, but in the duo setting with the venerable 91-year-old Williams, she graciously allowed Fiddler to showcase his own unique style during most of the concert.
But this time around, Carter is the featured performer in the latest event in the Jazz at the Bistro series, and she's sure to give a much more rounded perspective on her stylish, eclectic approach to jazz violin. Carter, who started playing violin at the age of 4 in her native Detroit, moved on from the Suzuki method to eventually study at the New England Conservatory of Music, in preparation for a position with a symphony orchestra. But after two years at the conservatory, Carter decided she wanted to play jazz. After a couple of years of work in the Oakland University Jazz Studies department back in Michigan, she headed for New York City and soon found herself working with the String Trio of New York and backing such renowned jazz musicians as Kenny Barron, Steve Turre and Oliver Lake.
Her big break came when she accompanied Wynton Marsalis on his Blood on the Fields tour, turning in dynamic solos that gained her plenty of attention from audiences and the media. Carter's most recent recording, Rhythms of the Heart (Verve), has earned high praise, and she's also been featured on hit recordings by eclectic vocalist Cassandra Wilson and R&B/rap diva Lauryn Hill.
At her Bistro appearances, Carter will be backed by pianist Werner Gierig, guitarist Rodney Jones, bass player Darryl Hall and drummer Alvester Garnett. Expect a mix of jazz, blues and R&B -- and expect it all to swing.