The Jazzcat

Regina Carter at Catalinas Bar and Grill

by on Sep.27, 2004, under News


Additional Photos


was the artist in residence at the 47th annual Monterey Jazz

Festival and it was such a pleasure to watch her perform at multiple venues

there. The crowds at Monterey

are huge and that experience is quite different from the plush and intimate

venue at Catalinas

Bar and Grill in Los Angeles. I just saw Regina two days ago and I

am right back, in another city to listen and watch this extraordinary talent

sing on her violin once again.




must be one of the sweetest and down to earth players on the planet. She is so

peaceful, always smiling and such a pleasure to be around. I dropped in at the

second set at Catalinas and ran into Don Heckman on the way out. I heard that

he wrote a very favorable article about Regina.

How could he not, there is so much talent wrapped up in this bundle of joy that

there is no way that you could experience anything else but elation.



I sat with Carmen Lundy and her good friend Elisabeth Oei,

who has some exciting plans for promoting performances for Carmen in the near

future. Regina

came out and started playing a piece that she had learned in her tap dancing

lessons when she was just 4 years old, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. You can tell it

brought back memories and as soon as you heard the first few notes, you can

imagine the taps of this cute talented little 4 year old girl, destined to

share her creativity with the world. Yes, I am sure that she was talented then

but today, at the top of her game, Regina

controls the present and the future of the violin for jazz.


Literally two days ago, we were just in Monterey, one of the world’s largest jazz

festivals on earth and Regina

closed out the festival with a standing ovation! Usually in life, people only

remember you by your first and last impressions. I can tell you that from the

first time I met Regina

until this very moment, I am still just as enamored by her virtuosic talent and

dynamic command of an instrument that does not often lend itself to jazz music.

Of course there have been those before her that have paved the way such as

Stephane Grapelli, Stuff Smith, Jean-Luc Ponte and others. Each have taken the

violin and propelled it to new heights adding their style and dimension to the

sound of the instrument. Regina

now holds that torch and continues to take her classical/jazz trained

influences to transform the listening of jazz lovers, classical enthusiasts and

those who are passionate about all forms of music.


The slow and somber timbre of “Dance for a Dead Princess”

was a piece that made me imagine two lovers reuniting after a tumultuous

quarreling. “Pavane for a Dead Princess” is actually a piece written by Maurice

Ravel, known for his “Bolero”, which was a processional dance very common in England, France and Italy during

the 16th Century. I watched Carmen as she was completely still,

absorbing the precious love emanating from the stage. Regina and her band have a way of adding

their touch to beauty and creating even more perfection.



David Budway plays the piano with such emotion. His body is

so rigid at times and locked in to producing the right sound at the precise

moment. Mayra Casales is an outstanding percussion player. She is so full of

life, passion and energy in person that it carries right over to her playing.

Alvester Garnett is the cool time keeper for the band. He lays down some

marvelous rhythms and sweeps with his brushes. Chris Lightcap is a tall drink

of water, flowing down the neck of his bass, creating beautiful solos and holds

down the bottom with confidence and ease.




is just as affected by the music as her audience. Even though she is not

playing a wind instrument, her deep breathing makes her one with the violin and

the music. Think of the joy you feel when things are created in the world.

Things like babies, flowers, paintings, sculptures, relationships and other

creations that bring about this elated feeling. When you are able to witness

Regina Carter’s band perform, you experience all of those beautiful images of

happiness and creativity that add light and love to your musical spirit.




LeRoy Downs

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