Regina Carter and Thornetta Davis Come to Oakland University

Oakland University (OU) Jazz Band to welcome Regina Carter and Thornetta Davis 

Oakland University’s artist-in-residence, renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter (BA ’85) and “Detroit’s Queen of the Blues” Thornetta Davis will join the OU Jazz Band to present “A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Stuff Smith” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 2 in Varner Recital Hall.

“This is a very special performance that allows the Oakland University Jazz Band, as well as the entire OU community, to experience music from our great jazz tradition while featuring two world renowned Detroit natives,” said Sean Dobbins, a celebrated Detroit-area jazz drummer and special lecturer in OU’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

Photo of Regina Carter with Violin

Renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter

Born in Detroit, Carter studied at the Center for Creative Studies and the New England Conservatory of Music before transferring to Oakland University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1985.

Since then, Carter has travelled extensively throughout the world and in 2001, she became the first jazz musician and African-American to play “The Cannon,” a 250-year-old Guarneri violin once owned by Niccolo Paganini, which is kept in Genoa, Italy, and only played once a year by an individual deemed worthy.

A Grammy nominee and 2006 recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Carter is now considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. She has been featured with leading symphony orchestras and performed with artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Billy Joel, Kenny Barron and Mary J. Blige. Her newest album, “Ella: Accentuate the Positive,” is a celebration of the First Lady of Song’s infectious and inclusive artistry.

“Accentuate the Positive, I thought, was the perfect title considering the mood of the country and the world right now,” Carter said. “We need some positive vibes.”

On Nov. 1, Carter will perform on Fox 2 with Thornetta Davis (vocals), Sean Dobbins (drums), Marion Hayden (bass) and Corey Kendrick (piano).

“Regina Carter is an unbelievable musician, composer and educator,” Dobbins said. “Her involvement in the Oakland University family has been priceless. The theme of this concert represents her commitment to the tradition and growth of this music.”

Photo of Thornetta Davis

Thornetta Davis

Thornetta Davis, a multi-talented, international singer and songwriter who has won over 30 Detroit Music Awards, was crowned “Detroit’s Queen of the Blues” in 2015. She has been exciting and wowing audiences all over the world with her voice, and has opened for legendary blues and R&B greats such as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Johnnie Johnson and many more.

“I affectionately call Thornetta Davis the people’s champion,” Dobbins said. “She has a warm voice that soothes the soul and a powerful delivery that call us into action. “Thornetta Davis’ voice and spirit reaches everyone!”

All seats are $8. For more information, visit

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