Sunday, April 30, 2017
USA: Regina Carter -Ella: Accentuate the Positive (2017)
A hundred years after her birth, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned from listening to Ella Fitzgerald. But that s not the only takeaway that Regina Carter has gleaned from Ella s storied career. On her new album, Ella: Accentuate the Positive, the virtuoso violinist reveals the many aspects of Fitzgerald that have influenced her own remarkable path in music. That translates to an album that avoids the more obvious song choices in favor of more obscure though no less rewarding tunes from deep inside Ella s bountiful catalogue. Instead of trying to echo Fitzgerald s own choices and arrangements, or attempting the near-impossible task of evoking her beloved voice on the violin, Carter has done what has always set her apart followed her own dauntless instincts, resulting in a singular new take on both familiar and hidden classics.
Carter s enchantment with Ella Fitzgerald continued from childhood into adulthood and she grew to realize how much technique and virtuosity were involved in producing a sound so warm and inviting. The ability to spark that connection was central to Carter s choice of songs for Ella: Accentuate the Positive. From the gospel-tinged performance on the opening Ac-cen-tchu-ate the Positive to the airily funky arrangement of Crying in the Chapel and the bluesy take on I ll Never Be Free that sets the tone for the slinky groove of All My Live.
Regina Carter draws from a diverse well of influences that include classical, jazz, Motown swing, funk, and world music among others. Over a span of more than two decades, she has established herself as an enduring and creative force in jazz, thanks to a string of highly acclaimed solo and collaborative recordings, a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and a relentless tour schedule that has taken her to all corners of the globe. She has performed with a variety of high-profile jazz and pop artists including Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton, Max Roach and Oliver Lake. A master of improvisational jazz violin, Carter s performances highlight the often overlooked potential of the jazz violin for its lyric, melodic and percussive potential.