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Regina Carter: Something for Grace

Violinist Regina Carter takes an aggressive, elemental approach to the violin-a marked difference from the typically elegant usage in orchestral settings. When the drama (and melodic grace) of her signature style is offered as a central focal point, the songs presented on Something for Grace (Atlantic 82975-P; 59:59) soar. The gorgeous “Soul Eyes,” for example, finds Carter moving easily from a chamber string setting into a mournful, club jazz melody, and “Reflections” is musky and emotive, with a touching, sparse piano opening setting up her lovely, exposed melody. Carter can be sassy as well, taking long, soulful bowed phrases in a swooping read of Eddie Harris’ classic “Listen Here,” and hitting rapid-fire, swift licks on the fiery Latin piece, “Centro Hubana.” Carter’s “voice” is sometimes overwhelmed by urban/R&B trappings like the programmed snap-and-slap coldness of “Late Night Mood” and the too-slick soup “Hide & Seek”-but there are enough captivating highlights here to keep things interesting.

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