Carter’s Ode To Mom

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(Regina Carter has delivered a great CD).

Imagine all the great compositions of the pre - swing to swing era, a lot of the American Jazz classics from the 20s to the 40s, and then imagine them being played by a violin Jazz soloist, then you'll get the gist of this album. Regina Carter has dedicated this album to her mother who sadly passed in 2005, hence the title “I’ll be seeing you."

"She was the reason for everything my brothers and I are and have," Regina states. "She sacrificed a lot." We couldn't have asked for anything more. It was difficult after losing her to figure out what I wanted to play, or, if I even wanted to play at all anymore. After some soul searching I thought, ‘let me honor her by doing some of the tunes that she loved.’” The album also includes other musicians who hold a special place in Regina's heart, talented musicians who have lent their special gift to a truly special friend.

These musicians are singers Dee Dee Bridgewater and Carla Cook--who she credits with introducing Jazz to her—clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, accordionist/arranger Gil Goldstein, producer/arranger John Clayton and current band members: pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Matthew Parrish and drummer Alvester Garnett. "It was such a gift to be able to do this recording with these musicians. They gave me absolute hope and love," Carter says.

The 12-song CD includes three masterpieces from Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (including the delightful "You Took Advantage of" and "This Can't Be Love"), W.C. Handy's bedrock"  "St. Louis Blues" and Ella Fitzgerald's eternally wistful "A-Tisket, A-Tasket."  While the album does contain four deeply moving ballads (including Duke Ellington's "Blue Rose" and Regina's original waltz "How Ruth Felt"), this is swing at its best and jubilant.

Deliberately choosing songs from the 20s to the 40s, as a gesture to her mother, as these would have been the songs that her mother probably spent many moments humming. The album also includes the Les Brown gem "Sentimental journey," which is another favorite of Regina's mother Grace. "I asked John to do an arrangement of just clarinet, violin and bass," Regina says. "What he wrote, took my ears a minute to adjust to, because it's very dark and the more we played it, the more it made me think about another type of journey.” This 12 - song CD closes with the highly emotional "There's a Small Hotel" (sung by Cook), the lyrics of which reflect a longing for just one more quality encounter with someone you love. It's followed by the album's title track, "l'll be Seeing You."

This CD is daring in that its arrangements are unique. It is very refreshing to hear violin and accordion in jazz, since it's not very often that these instruments meet in this genre of music. Among her personal accomplishments is work she has done to spread the love of music to others, something that is touched upon in her one original composition on "I'll be Seeing You."

“My producer, John Clayton always insists that I write at least one original piece on every album,” she says. "I chose ‘How Ruth Felt’ which is a commissioned piece that I wrote for a woman named Ruth Felt, President of San Francisco Performances, an arts organization in San Francisco. I spent some time as an Artist-In-Residence there, teaching music to disadvantaged children and spreading the joy of music to people in community centers and churches around the Bay area. Ruth helped me tremendously while I was dealing with my mother's illness. I included ‘How Ruth Felt’ on my album as a way to say, Thank you."

Now Regina Carter is looking forward to a brighter 2006, filled with sharing the memory of her mother and the music of "l'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey” with people in a live context. "When I perform now,” she shares, “I feel different when I go on stage stronger like I've gone through something and really lived! I still get nervous, but all of those negative, critical voices that I used to hear in my head are gone. I think that my mother making me realize that none of that is important. This is my stage what I do and I'm having a good time.”

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