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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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I’ll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey

Verve 0602498509623


1. Anitra's Dance
2. Little Brown Jug
3. Bei Mir Bist Du Schön
4. Sentimental Journey
5. You Took Advantage Of Me
6. St. Louis Blues
7. A-Tisket, A-Tasket
8. Blue Rose
9. This Can't Be Love
10 How Ruth Felt
11. There's A Small Hotel
12. I'll Be Seeing You

Regina Carter – Violin
Matthew Parrish - Bass
Xavier Davis –Piano (tracks 1-3, 5-12)
Alvester Garnett – Drums (tracks 1-3, 5-8, 10-12)
Dee Dee Bridgewater – Vocals (tracks 3, 9)
Carla Cook –Vocals (tracks 5, 6, 11)
Paquito D’Rivera – Clarinet (tracks 1-4, 6)
Gil Goldstein –Accordion (tracks 1-3, 6, 12)

When I first heard Regina Carter on her 1999 album Rhythms of the Heart, I remember categorising her as a violinist who combined the modern touch of Jean-Luc Ponty with the more traditional approach of Stephane Grappelli. But this album shows a more informal – even playful - side of Regina. On several tracks she sounds very like Stuff Smith, the jazz violinist who played the fiddle as if it was a trumpet – bending notes and performing with a slightly humorous approach. Perhaps the new style is because Regina Carter concentrates on familiar jazz standards – catchy tunes that Regina’s mother loved (the album was devised in memory of her mother, who died last year). Or perhaps it’s because Regina welcomes a variety of guest artists who impart a party atmosphere to the album. Whatever the reason, this is a delightfully accessible album which will almost certainly put the listener in a good mood.

The album opens cheerfully with Grieg’s Anitra’s Dance, which closely follows the jazzy arrangement recorded by the John Kirby Sextet in 1939. Little Brown Jug is given an almost classical interpretation before moving into a Latin-American rhythm, with Gil Goldstein’s accordion and Paquito D’Rivera’s clarinet soloing dexterously. Dee Dee Bridgewater, the first of two guest vocalists, joins the band for a positive Bei Mir Bist Du Schön. Dee Dee also brightens up This Can’t Be Love, where Regina’s violin prances very much in Stuff Smith mode.

The other vocalist is Carla Cook, a longtime friend of Regina’s. She is much less well-known than Bridgewater but delivers three fine performances: scatting on You Took Advantage of Me; singing St Louis Blues with conviction; and exuding intimacy in There’s a Small Hotel. Regina Carter pays tribute to Ella Fitzgerald with A-Tisket, A-Tasket (with swinging piano from Xavier Davis) and plays her own composition How Ruth Felt, which has a catchy melody that seems to amalgamate two familiar tunes. The CD closes with the wistful but optimistic I’ll Be Seeing You, where Regina makes her instrument swoop and sing.

Even if you’re not a particular fan of jazz violin, you may well enjoy this pleasing album.

Tony Augarde


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