REGINA CARTER | London, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Jazz violin is a niche genre for a reason; it’s very hard to take seriously. It requires a true master like Regina Carter to transport it from the realms of novelty to artform.

Her success in this respect is best acknowledged by the performance’s relocation to the grandeur of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, due to the huge demand for tickets as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

The evening was opened by a brief half-hour from the talented Yazz Ahmed, with her arabic influences and beautiful flugel tone. Despite the lack of variation throughout her set, the finale (commissioned by Serious) was a real joy, with an intriguing juxtaposition of sound recordings from St. Paul’s Cathedral and arabic tonality.

Regina proved a refreshingly lively contrast, bursting onto stage with a plethora of energy and charisma to perform songs from her latest project – Southern Comfort. The crowd couldn’t help but smile and toe-tap within seconds as she launched into her unmistakable Alabama-tinged blues, packed full of cheeky glissandos and playground melodies.

Although a lot of the set teetered on a slightly generic and predictable style, Regina also demonstrated a remarkable depth to her playing. It was the more reflective pieces that were the particular highlights, including an entrancing composition from fellow virtuoso, Richard Bona and an inventive rendition of the hymn I’m Going Home on the Morning Train.

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