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Regina Carter's Musical Conversation With Students

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Wednesday October 15, 2014

From The Providence Journal

Renowned violinist gives offbeat lesson at Barrington High School
By: Andy Smith

Violinist Regina Carter listened carefully Tuesday afternoon while the jazz ensemble at Barrington High School played a blues song called “The Subtle Sermon.”

When the music stopped, Carter applauded, said a few words of praise — then turned to the 25 students assembled in the music room and got down to business.

First she zeroed in on the rhythm section. How did the song feel to you? she asked. Drummer Frank Carroll said it seemed to be slowing down the longer the band played.

“You need to look at each other, lock up, and drive this truck,” she said. “It’s an 18-wheeler, and you’re the engine of this truck.”
She told Carroll and bassist Jacob Whitman to “dig in.” She asked for more volume from the guitar and piano.

“You’re too polite,” she said. “There’s nothing polite about the blues.”

She asked the rhythm section to play by themselves, without the horns, and told them not to look at their music.

“If you play a note that’s not there, just play it like you mean it,” Carter said.

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