Through her albums, incessant touring and various guest appearances and collaborations over the years, Regina Carter has developed into a distinctly diverse musical personality. With "Reverse Thread", the preeminent violinist has taken a giant step forward by recording a CD primarily of African folk tunes infused with a contemporary feel. Without the support of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation, which awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals, the disc may not have been realized. Armed with the funds and the freedom to follow her muse, Regina turned to the World Music Institute in New York City, in which she found a diverse and inspirational resource for material, including ethnographic field recordings.
Other new music includes:
After two releases devoted to big band jazz and swing, singer Robin McKelle has turned to a bit of rhythm 'n' blues on her new CD, "Mess Around." "It's a project that spans a number of genres: soul, blues and jazz-all musical styles I love and which define my personality," McKelle says. "It has quite a '60s flavor, inspired by the albums Ray Charles and Nina Simone were making at the time." Its themes are drawn from very different sources, including Willie Dixon, the Beatles, Leonard Cohen and Doc Pomus. Special guests include Houston Person, Fred Wesley, and Marvin Sewell.
Also this week, saxophonist Paul Carr returns to his Houston, Texas, roots, inspired by mentors like Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson, for his new disc, "Straight Ahead Soul"; the sultry-voiced Brazilian singer Kenia, who reemerged on the jazz scene two years ago, serves up one of the most demanding and satisfying projects of her three decade-long career with Kenia Celebrates Dorival Caymmi; and the dynamic guitarist Corey Christiansen returns with another grooving soul-jazz offering, Outlaw Tractor.