Regina Carter's latest project Reverse Thread represents something of a departure for the Detroit-born jazz violinist. With the unusual front line instrumentation of Carter's violin; an accordion, played by either Gary Versace or Will Holshouser; and a kora, a 21-string West African harp/lute played by Yacouba Sissoko; Reverse Thread has a timbral palette that's very different from the typical jazz group. Their material is based on folk traditions from around the world, not the blues or reharmonized 32-bar song forms endemic to jazz.
Carter put together Reverse Thread a couple of years ago after winning one of the so-called genius grants" awarded by the MacArthur Foundation, and St. Louis audiences will get their first chance to hear the distinctive ensemble in a series of performances starting Wednesday, November 3 and continuing through Saturday, November 6 at Jazz at the Bistro.
Today, we've got four video clips that should give you an idea of what to expect. Up top, you can see Carter, Holshouser and Sissoko in the studios of NPR, performing the songs Nteri" and Kanou" for one of the public radio network's Tiny Desk Concerts."
Down below, there are three videos featuring the full Reverse Thread band, which also includes drummer Alvester Garnett and bassist Chris Lightcap. There's one uploaded by Carter herself and labeled simply Four minutes of Regina Carter's Reverse Thread," and one called Regina Carter in the Catskills" that features excerpts from several songs as well as some on-stage dialogue with Sissoko talking a bit about his instrument.
The fourth clip is from a jazz festival last month in Ouro Preto, Portugal, and features a performance of a composition by Garnett that's not on the CD the group released earlier this year, titled either Newfound New Orleans" or possibly New For New Orleans."
I was first exposed to jazz as a child in Boston and at a Sun Ra concert.
I met Jaco Pastorius as a teenager in NYC.
The best show I ever attended was The Gap Band.
The first jazz record I bought was Heavy Weather.