[Dixielandjazz] RE: Regina Carter

jazzfact jazzfact at ozemail.com.au
Tue Nov 4 06:56:21 PST 2003

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Richard Stevens

-----Original Message-----
From: dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com
[mailto:dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com] On Behalf Of Ittzés Tamás
Sent: Tuesday, 4 November 2003 6:07 AM
To: dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] RE: Regina Carter

Dear friends,

Sorry for posting this but I think I have to talk now. Generally I remain
silent when there is a topic that I dislike but this time I can't keep my
mouth shut. Regarding Regina Carter: I do not share the opinions of most of
you. Personally, I do not favour Regina Carter as much as she is well
presented on today's jazz scene. I have the album of her previous group
called Straight Ahead (five young black ladies) - well, that music is not
OKOM at all but that does not bother me. The CD is not bad although there is
a little lack of imagination and creativity, it's like sampling from all
well-sold musical material. (Boring for me but that could just be my taste.)
But then she turned to more traditional jazz thus I have her next album
(actually I reviewed it a few years ago in the Hungarian version of
Gramphone (called Gramofon). It starts with the two millionth recorded
version of Lady be Good (and it does not sound much more interesting than
the two millionth version of the tune) then she turns towards the modern
shit (sorry) and pop-like tunes, some Latin type things - her phrasing is
far from Grappelli's or Venuti's, her ideas are just repetition of good
(sometimes bad) old schemes - no original ideas, only patterns. And a lots
of really bad tunes on that album. And electric effects in many cases - to
make the violin sound better. I don't know how much she has changed in the
past three years but I assume her playing hasn't got any better. From a few
tunes I estimate that she is not any good to qualify for a Guarneri. It is a
shame that she is allowed to use such an instrument. Don't misunderstand me,
it is not becuse of her technique (which is not bad but not exceptional at
all - although I wouldn't mind hearing more musical talent in her playing,
too). So as a classicla violinist who is active on the jazz field as well, I
am strongly convinced that those good old Italian violins (and all really
good violins) should not be used for jazz. They are just not designed for
that. Jazz violin playing requires a totally different technical approach
and, to be honest, sound quality is never so important in jazz as in
classical music. And the ideal sound is different, too. There are
similarities between the two but something is totally different. I am not
happy to see at all that such violins are used for jazz. They should be
exclusively preserved for classical jazz. I know what I am talking about as
I heard many classical and jazz violinists and I do play both. (Don't take
me wrong, I am not saying that I am any good in jazz violin, no, I rather
stay back but I have good ears, I have fairly good classical background and
I can judge these things.) And if Regina Carter was the best jazz violinist
today it is a pity. It might be because all the great ones have died. There
are plenty more who are at least as good as she is but she has the best
agent and the most money behind. It is just the question of money and
advertisment - PR and business.

Note that I do not know of Regina Carter's activity in the past three years
but regardless of it I strongly think that it is a scandal to use Guarneris
or Stradivaris for jazz. I am not flaming, I just have my opinion.


Tamas ITTZES - violin teacher, ragtime pianist, manager
Kodaly School, Bohem Ragtime Jazzband, Kecskemet Jazz Foundation
Address: Kecskemet-Hetenyegyhaza H-6044, Hullam u. 14.
Mailing address: Kecskemet H-6001, Pf. 652.
Cellular phone: +36(20)960-7169, Tel./Fax: +36(76)472-438
E-mails: tamas at bohemragtime.com, bohem at mail.datanet.hu
Website: http://www.bohemragtime.com/

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