I saw Regina Carter's current quintet at the Metroplitan Museum last night and was blown away. The band: Ms. Carter (violin), Chris Lightcap (acoustic bass), Alvester Garnett (drums), Gilad Dobrecky (percussion), and Rick Germanson (piano).
This is about as tight a band as I have ever seen. They were tuneful, playful, and inventive. I've seen Ponty, Grapelli, Stuff Smith, and Sugarcane Harris, and Ms. Carter was as good, or better, than any of them -- plus, she was supported by a band that was tighter than that of any of the other violinists I have mentioned. The lady certainly can swing -- and drummer Alvester Garnett is a marvel. He's a very subtle colorist with big ears. My buddy Jeff mentioned a particular passage he had been impressed by -- Garnett and Germanson trading shadings behind one of Carter's solos on "Manha de Carnival" -- and Garnett's response was, "Did I do that?" Well, he was pretty busy at the time.
Bottom line: Go see this group if you get the chance. They're the real thing and, while Ms. Carter and bassist Chris Lightcap are very slightly mic'ed, it's acoustic jazz with sound that lives up to the musicianship.