Violinist Regina Carter has explored her musical roots with albums dedicated to music from her mother’s era, her own upbringing in Detroit, and even her African heritage the past few years. This time around, she’s exploring the sounds and music of her paternal grandfather’s era by taking field hollers, children’s songs and spirituals from the post Civil War south and turned them into modern jazz pieces. Her band (named after the mood, not the drink!) included Will Holhouser/acc, Marvin Sewell/g, Alvester Garnet/dr and Jesse Murphy/b teamed with the leader to create 90 minutes of music that was as truly comforting as it was Southern.
With many of the songs being introduced by vintage field recordings of folk songs, Carter’s violin took these themes, coaxed and caressed her strings on “Death Hath Mercy/Breakaway” and “See See Rider” and mixed red clay earth between your fingers with lilting melodies that swung so hard they made your Bass Weejuns tap. Bluesy guitar licks of joy by Sewell took the funky hand jivin’ “Honky Tonkin’” and made you feel you were at the local VFW, while his slide guitar melded with Murphy’s bowed bass had “Hickory Wind” waltz you to center stage of the Grand Ol’ Opry. Other traditional pieces like “Shoo-Rye” and “Cornbread Crumbled in Gravy” had Carter’s violin deliver stunning and emotive clarity while Holhouser’s accordion sighed with wheezing wonder. Reels and jigs such as “Minor’s Child” highlighted the dynamics of Ms Carter, crossing time barriers like a Way Back Machine. Sewell’s pensive guitar strumming and Carter’s sincere melodious reflections fittingly set the tone for the Easter Weekend with a meditative “I’m Going Home” that felt like a Sunrise Service.
Carter’s continuing musical Odyssey was an insightful adventure for not only herself but all of the observers at the filled Zipper Concert Hall.
It’s shows like this that make you pray to God for the day that the Bakery opens at its permanent home. Upcoming shows on the Moveable Feast include NEA Jazz Masters June 12 with Alan Broadbent.