On April 21, OKeh Records/Sony Music Masterworks will release Ella: Accentuate the Positive, jazz violinist Regina Carter’s new album celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald, and marking the 100th centennial of Fitzgerald’s birth.
For this project, Carter selected songs both familiar and from deeper in Fitzgerald’s catalog, envisioned through a lens of 1950s and ’60s soul and blues: “One of the many things that I adore about Ella is that she just loved music and didn’t box herself in,” Carter explains. “She recorded everything, not just the American Songbook—doo-wop, Stevie Wonder and Beatles songs, even some country [and] western music. The fact that she experimented with so many different styles made me feel that, with this record, I would pay respect to her by taking the music and doing something else with it. I feel that she would smile in agreement.”
The track list includes “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” “Crying in the Chapel,” “I’ll Never be Free,” “All My Life,” “Dedicated to You,” “Reach for Tomorrow,” “Undecided,” “Judy” and “I’ll Chase the Blues Away.”
Accompanying Carter on the album is her working rhythm section of bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Alvester Garnett, plus pianist Xavier Davis and guitarist Marvin Sewell. Other musicians appearing on the album include bassist Ben Williams, vocalists Charenee Wade, Miche Braden and Carla Cook and pianist Mike Wofford, Fitzgerald’s former accompanist and musical director.
JazzTimes is proud to premiere “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” the first track from Ella: Accentuate the Positive.