Jazz violinist Regina Carter explores her family’s roots in ‘Southern Comfort’

Violinist Regina Carter and her band perform music from “Southern Comfort,” her acclaimed 2014 album that offers a contemporary take on traditional music, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, in Schwab Auditorium on the University Park campus of Penn State.

“On ‘Southern Comfort,’ her bracing new album, she turns her focus to a chapter in her family history that preceded the Great Migration [of African Americans from the South to northern cities in the 20th century], when her paternal grandfather was a coal miner in Alabama,” wrote Nate Chinen of The New York Times. “The result is a meditation on American roots music with barely a whiff of the musty carpetbag and more than a hint of personal investment.”

Tickets for “Southern Comfort” are $40 for an adult, $18 for a University Park student and $30 for a person 18 and under. Buy tickets online or by phone at 814-863-0255. Outside the local calling area, dial 1-800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk (weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Bryce Jordan Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

“Elements of alt-country, folk, Bill Frisell-esque Americana, jazz, traditional music and more merge together beautifully on this gem of an album,” wrote Dan Bilawsky for AllAboutJazz.com. “Carter has no shortage of fine records in her discography, but this one tops them all.”

Carter has ventured on a musical odyssey through a series of recordings and tours exploring jazz, African music and the classics of violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini. She continues her musical quest with “Southern Comfort,” which includes a blend of folk songs and spirituals that serve as Carter’s interpretation of her family history.

Carter -- who last performed at Eisenhower with guitarist Russell Malone, pianist Kenny Barron and vocalist Kurt Elling in 2010s -- is routinely cited as the finest violinist in jazz. In 2006, the Detroit native received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” Fellowship in recognition of her artistic achievements.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion, featuring Carter, is offered in Schwab one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders.

Don and Mary Ellen Fisher sponsor the presentation.

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Last Updated September 03, 2014