Violinist Regina Carter's second CD for Verve will be an all-Detroit affair, drawing from the music of such Motor City luminaries as bassist Ron Carter, pianist Geri Allen, saxophonists Kenny Garrett and Yusef Lateef, singer Betty Carter, pianist Barry Harris, and the Jones brothers drummer Elvin, trumpeter Thad and pianist Hank.
"The project is about Detroit," said Regina Carter, who has been busy writing music for the disc and will go into New York's Avatar Studios this month. "I'm trying to take tunes from some of those people and also come up with originals that reflect what the city is about. There's such a diverse mixture of people there, and I was influenced a lot by that."
That mixture, Carter said, includes Latin rhythms, Middle Eastern sounds and Motown. She hopes to get Aretha Franklin to sing on a track, just as she got another diva, Cassandra Wilson, on Carter's last CD, Rhythms of the Heart, on which Wilson rendered a haunting version of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone."
Saxophonist James Carter, pianist Tommy Flanagan and Marcus Belgrave, the great trumpeter who has nurtured two generations of Detroit jazz musicians, also will help turn the violinist's new album into a Detroit confab.
Ever since she gained attention playing on Wynton Marsalis' "Blood on the Fields" tour in 1997, Carter, 32, has been pegged as the next great mainstream jazz violinist. But she has never fit comfortably into the straight-ahead-jazz box.
Since moving to New York in the mid-'90s, Carter has taken an adventurous path. She spent six years as a member of the cutting-edge String Trio of New York, and she has collaborated with ageless drummer Max Roach, radical saxophonist Oliver Lake, and R&B stars Franklin and Mary J. Blige.
"I love all kinds of music," Carter said. "Growing up in Detroit, you hear so many different kinds of music, so I never learned to say, 'This music is real jazz.' "