Violinist Regina Carter is a highly original soloist whose sophisticated technique and rich, lush tone took the jazz world by pleasant surprise when she arrived in New York from her native Detroit. And jazz fans weren't the only people who heard that mercurial quality in her playing: artists as diverse as Faith Evans, Elliot Sharp, and Mary J. Blige have employed her talents on their recordings, as has filmmaker Ken Burns on his soundtrack for The Civil War. Add this to an extremely long list of jazzers that include Tom Harrell, Wynton Marsalis, and Oliver Lake. Carter began playing her instrument at age four and attended Detroit's prestigious Cass Technical High School. Upon graduating, she departed for the new England Conservatory of Music, only to return to Michigan to join the all-female jazz quartet Straight Ahead. After two recordings for the Atlantic label, Carter left the band in 1994 in search of a solo career. She had already been doing session work in the city and sought to make the move permanent. Carter found herself working with Max Roach, the String Trio of New York, and the Uptown String Quartet before recording her self-titled debut recording on Atlantic in 1995. Its mixture of R&B, pop, and jazz confused jazz fans and delighted pop critics. It sold well enough for her to record Something for Grace, which leaned in the jazz direction, though it featured R&B sheen in its production. Carter left Atlantic for Verve in 1998 and recorded two more outings under her own name, the last of which, Motor City Moments, is her finest session. In 2001, Carter recorded a duet session with Kenny Barron, which has been universally acclaimed for its lyrical qualities and stunning range of dynamics and harmonic invention.