GRAND RAPIDS, MI (February 14, 2014) -- St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan is honored to present "master of improvisational jazz violin" Regina Carter on Thursday, March 20, 2014.


Sally Littlefair Zarafonetis                               Catherine Holbrook
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Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Regina Carter Makes Her Debut Appearance in Grand Rapids at St. Cecilia Music Center on March 20th

Regina Carter is a virtuoso jazz violinist who draws from a diverse well of influences that include classical, jazz, Motown, swing, funk, world music and many other styles

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (February 14, 2014) -- St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan is honored to present "master of improvisational jazz violin" Regina Carter on Thursday, March 20, 2014. Carter will perform selections from her brand new CD, Southern Comfort, which will be released on March 4. Grand Rapids is her second stop on her International Tour after the new CD is released. Performing in Grand Rapids with Carter will be Will Holshouser, accordion; Marvin Sewell, guitar; Chris Lightcap, bass; and Alvester Garnett, drums.

Tickets for the March 20, 2014 Regina Carter "Southern Comfort" concert at St. Cecilia Music Center are $40 for an A section seat and $35 for a B section seat. Student tickets are $10. The concert will be followed by a complementary post-concert reception to meet Regina Carter and her band. St. Cecilia also offers a pre-concert reception for $15 that includes wine and hors d'oeuvres. Reservations available by calling 616-459-2224 or visiting St. Cecilia Music Center at 24 Ransom NE, Grand Rapids, 49503. Tickets can be also purchased online at

Violinist Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation - a designation that doesn't quite paint the picture. As a result of her curiosity, passion, and quest for beauty brought to every stop taken on her full musical journey, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (a "genius grant") in 2006. Her newest album, Southern Comfort explores the folk music of the South depicting music creations conceived through the exploration of her paternal grandfather's roots.

"Southern Comfort" thematically connects Carter's earlier albums I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey (2006), which features her mother's favorite early jazz standards; and Reverse Thread (2010) which celebrates the tradition of African music re-imagined for violin, accordion, bass, drams and kora. On Southern Comfort, she explores the folk tunes her paternal grandfather, a coalminer, would have heard as he toiled in Alabama, as well as other folk tunes of the region.

Intent on making the past, present, for the making of Southern Comfort, Carter sought out distant relatives and books about the era in which her grandfather lived. From there, she went to the Library of Congress and the renowned collections of folklorists such as Alan Lomax and John Work III digging deep into their collected field recordings from Appalachia. On Southern Comfort, she interprets her own roots through a modern lens.

"When I would hear some of these field recordings, if I heard something that touched me I put it on the list," said Carter. "I had maybe 50 tunes that I felt strongly about, and I finally forced myself to work more on those to stop myself from collecting more."

The 11 tracks on Southern Comfort include Carter's interpretations of Cajun fiddle music, early gospel and coal miner's work songs in addition to some more contemporary tunes.

On being signed to Sony Music Masterworks, Carter adds, "I'm so excited to work with a label that has such history; it's the perfect place for this project. Moreover, it's wonderful to be reunited with U.S. label head Chuck Mitchell. I've provided Southern Comfort - the nurturance and comfort Chuck and SONY have provided covers a realm far greater."

St. Cecilia Music Center's Jazz Series (remaining concerts):
• • Gregory Porter, jazz vocalist
Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
• • Regina Carter, jazz violin "Southern Comfort"
Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Other Concert Series at St. Cecilia Music Center in 2014

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center series (remaining concerts):

• • David Finckel performs Schumann and Dohnányi with CMS musicians
Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
• • Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann and a U.S. Premiere of work by Zhou
Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Fresh Folk Series (remaining concerts)

• • Ralston Bowles and Friends & The Northern Skies
Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 7:30 pm

More information about Regina Carter:
Regina Carter is a virtuoso jazz violinist who draws from a diverse well of influences that include classical, jazz, Motown, swing, funk, world music and many other styles. Over the span of 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 in 2006 and a relentless tour schedule that has taken her to all corners of the globe.

Regina Carter was born in Detroit and began studying piano at the age of two and later took up the violin. Her earliest training was in classical music, but she demonstrated creative experimentation in music and her interests expanded to include jazz and funk by the time she reached high school. She was still studying classical violin at the New England Conservatory of Music a few years later when she made the switch to jazz and returned to Detroit to continue her education and immerse herself in the Detroit Jazz scene.

Carter moved to Europe for two years after college and later returned to the U.S. where she joined the all female pop-jazz quintet "Straight Ahead". "Straight Ahead" released a trio of albums under the Atlantic Label and during that time Carter also went solo and began an impressive run, establishing herself as a force in the jazz world on the violin. In 1991 she left the band and moved to New York City where she began accompanied performers such as Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel and Dolly Parton. She also played with Max Roach, Oliver Lake, as well as being in the String Trio of New York.

Carter released her self-titled solo album on Atlantic in 1995, followed by Something for Grace, dedicated to her mother and released in 1997, and toured with Wynton Marsalis that same year. Rhythms of the Heart came out in 1999; Motor City Moments, a tribute to her hometown followed in 2000.

In 2001, Carter made musical history in Genoa, Italy by being the first jazz musician and the first African American to play the legendary Guarneri Del Gesu violin, made in 1743 and owned by classical music virtuoso and composer Niccolo Paganini. That performance inspired Carter's 2003 album, Paganini: After a Dream, featuring works by Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. During the early 2000's Carter continued to counterbalance her solo career with performances alongside a variety of high-profile jazz musicians, including bassist Ray Brown and pianists Kenny Barron and Dr. Billy Taylor. She recorded I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey in 2006 as a tribute to her late mother. That same year Carter was awarded a MacArthur Fellows Program grant, also known as a "genius grant,". The award includes a grant of $500,000 over five years, and the committee who awarded it stated this about Carter:

"Regina Carter is a master of improvisational jazz violin. Though her work draws upon a wide range of musical influences--including Motown, Afro-Cuban, Swing, Bebop, Folk, and World--she has crafted a signature voice and style....Carter's performances highlight the often overlooked potential of the jazz violin for its lyric, melodic, and percussive potential. Her early training as a classical musician is reflected in the fluidity, grace, and balance of her performance. Carter's repertoire retains a firm connection with the familiar while venturing in new, unexpected directions. Through artistry with an instrument that has been defined predominantly by the classical tradition, Carter is pioneering new possibilities for the violin and for jazz."

An intrepid musical explorer, Carter has greatly expanded her violin odyssey since being awarded the coveted 2006 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellowship. She began researching the African roots of the violin, which resulted in her acclaimed 2010 album Reverse Thread, an entrancing sojourn exploring compositions by artists from Kenya, Mali, and Senegal. 

A transition from the exploration of her African ancestry to her family history marks the premiere of her newest release, Southern Comfort. Trading the West African kora for a slide guitar, she has collected songs redolent of her father's roots in Alabama for a celebration of the joyous music that infused her early childhood.

For more information about Regina Carter see

St. Cecilia Music Center's mission is to promote the study, appreciation and
performance of music in order to enrich the lives of West Michigan residents.

The Center fulfills this mission by presenting visiting world-class artists in concert,
providing music education for all ages through our School of Music and preserving a historic building for musical activities and community events