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Not just heart but plenty of foot-tapping stuff

Regina Carter is a rare woman jazz instrumentalist. She plays wonderful, syncopated violin

Regina Carter:
Rhythms of the Heart

Rs 125

You don't often find female instrumentalists in jazz. You seldom come across violinists in jazz. So Regina Carter is a double rarity. And if you think that this must be some classical musician (who wouldn't be a double or even a single rarity!) straying into jazz, I assure you that your money won't be thrown away if you buy the album and prove yourself wrong, besides enjoying the music.

Regina Carter is a young musician, backed here by two or three different groups which for the most part also consist of young musicians. The only veteran I could find in the credits is one of the two pianists, Kenny Barron, although Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums are quite well known. These three back Carter on Cook's bay, with Barron taking the bulk of the soloing. Carter's violin is quite strongly syncopated, a feature not common in modern jazz, not only on this number but all over this album. Nash brings a Latin touch into his drumming on a mainstream jazz piece.

Elsewhere the Latin flavour is stronger: Mayra Casales plays Latin percussion on Mojito, a number boasting good solos by Werner Gierig on piano and Carter. But despite the presence of Casales on Papa was a rollin' stone, the flavour here is decidedly jazz-rock fusion. Carter and Rodney Jones on guitar (who throws in electronic effects for the rock touch) take good solos.

Quite an eclectic album already, and here we go with another style: Mandingo Street has Richard Bona as the sole accompanist, but he plays electric bass, acoustic guitar, and African pecussion, besides singing. Carter takes the solos while Bona varies the accompaniment with his range of instruments. It's a delightful number that sounds Zairean to me.

Equally delightful are two other numbers with the Barron - Washington - Lewis backing: Our delight and New York attitude. The first has solos by Barron and Carter, while the second has a brilliant interplay of solos by Barron and Carter followed by Washington and, briefly, Nash. In sum, here's an album that assures you of the future of jazz with a little help from someone who's been around quite a while.


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