Most attempts to fuse jazz and classical music fail miserably, resulting in stilted and staid music. On her

Most attempts to fuse jazz and classical music fail miserably, resulting in stilted and staid music. On her

latest recording, Paganini: After a Dream, Regina Carter deftly navigates the treacherous waters between the genres and creates an engaging and often-superb blend. Although Carter's playing on her recent jazz recordings invoke the spirit of Nicolo Paganini, the legendary 19th-century virtuoso, on this recording she plays Il Canone, the violin he once used and bequeathed to the city of Genoa, Italy, which keeps it under armed guard and invites a select handful of players to perform with it. The instrument's tone is dark and loud, almost viola-like, and perhaps to offset that, Carter chose a program of sunny pieces for this recording. But she and her stellar band bring a bluesy feel to works by Ravel and Debussy, and in particular, they shine on Bonfa's "Black Orpheus."—MJ