The week-long Brubeck Festival in Stockton - named after jazz legend Dave Brubeck - culminates Saturday night with a tribute to another jazz icon: Ella Fitzgarald. This year mark's the 100th anniversary of Fitzgerald's birth.
"Simply Ella" is the name of the concert and it's presented by recording artist Regina Carter. The Detroit-born musician is a virtuoso of an instrument that occasionally raises eyebrows among some jazz fans: the violin.
"Yeah, I still get that unfortunately - you would think in this day an age," says Carter. "But I always have to remind them, or say, 'if you go back and look at our history there's always been violin that's been a part of the genre.'"
Including going back to the 1950s when violinist Stuff Smith played with Ella Fitzgerald.
Speaking on the phone from her home in Maywood, New Jersey, Carter says she's always been a huge fan of Ella's.
"When I was a child, I stumbled on a record of hers in my parent's house and immediately felt this warmth," says Carter. "When I put it on, I just felt a lot of love and I would play it often. And then as an adult listening to Ella, I realized how incredible she was as a musician and what an amazing instrument she had - her voice."
Carter's new album is a tribute to Fitzgearld. It's called "Ella: Accentuate the Positive," named after one of the First Lady of Song's big hits.
"Reading the words that 'you gotta accentuate the positive, hold on to the affirmative, let go of the negative and don't mess with Mr. In Between.' And for what we're going through in this country, there's just so much ugliness that's going on, I thought that would be the perfect title and the perfect sentiment," says Carter.
"Of course playing music, uplifting music, is a great healing force," says Carter. "So 'Accentuate the Positive' is just a beautiful example of trying to be positive and trying to help heal ourselves."
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