hearing and seeing Jascha Heifetz perform live at
Carnegie Hall when he was a teenager had a lasting impact on violinist
He went on to attend
and graduate from Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music with a
Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, respectively.
His career has
been a mixture of classical and pop, sometimes quite literally, as in his
many recordings with The Hampton String Quartet (HSQ), which broke new
ground by covering classic rock songs in a chamber music setting.
In 1977, he
wisely availed himself of the burgeoning studio scene, recording Havana Candy with Patti Austin and Concrete Jungle with David Newman
and appearing on Joe Farrell’s La
Catedral Y El Toro. Albums on which he performed in 1978
included Chaka Khan’s self-titled Chaka,
Roland Kirk’s Boogie-Woogie String Along For Real, and the soundtrack of
The Wiz. In 1979, he sweetened the pot on the
eponymously titled B. Baker Chocolate
Co., went undercover with Carly Simon on Spy, and began recording H with Bob James.
Fame was just around the corner, in 1980. In 1984, he got his jazz groove on
with Wynton Marsalis on Standards & Ballads and recorded Deedles with Diane Schuur. He
reunited with Carly Simon on 1987’s Coming Around Again. Joe Jackson’s Will Power was released the same
year, with Regis in tow. In
1988, he began to get heavily involved in movie work, performing on the
soundtrack of School Daze, and
the HSQ received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Concept Video for their
rendition of “Get a Job”.
He followed this up by performing on the soundtracks of Do the Right Thing and When Harry Met Sally, featuring
Harry Connick, Jr.
In 1990, he
appeared on the soundtrack of Mo’
Better Blues, rejoined Patti Austin on Love is Gonna Getcha
and Carly Simon on My Romance, teamed up with Philip Glass & Ravi Shankar on Passages, and the HSQ released What if Mozart Wrote “Born to Be
Wild”. He served as
Concert Master and co-producer of Rosemary Clooney’s 1991 release, For the Duration. Other albums on which he appeared in
1991 include The Wind Beneath My
Wings with James Galway, the anthology Come Spirit, Come Charm, the soundtrack of Jungle Fever, and the original cast recording of The Will Rogers Follies. He got down in 1992 with Chic on Chic-ism, and Expose and Nneena Freelon on their
self-titled albums. No less
eclectic was 1993, with appearances on P.M. Dawn’s The Bliss Album…? and Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. In 1995, he performed on D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar and Nancy LaMott’s Listen to My Heart, and the
soundtrack of Philip Glass’s opera, La Belle et la Bete.
It was back to
the movie studio in 1996 with the soundtracks of The Chamber and Everyone
Says I Love You. In 1997,
he performed as a member of Heart Strings on their Soft Touch album and hooked up again with P.M. Dawn on Jesus Wept, and appeared on the
original Broadway cast album of The
Lion King and the original New York recording of The Boys from Syracuse.
He found himself in the studio with Elena Bennett and Fred Barton
and His Orchestra recording A Wrinkle
in Swingtime in 1998. The same year saw the release of
Gloria Estefan’s self-titled Gloria!
and the anthology, Birth of the Cool Funk – Vintage Jams and Serious Grooves,
both featuring Regis’s name in the credits. He went back to Broadway in 1999 on Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. Other albums on which he performed
in 1999 included Ricky Martin’s self-titled album and George
Michael’s Songs from the Last
century featured Regis in a performance with HSQ in Scranton, Pennsylvania,
and more session work on Antastacia’s Not that Kind and Lenny Kravitz’s Greatest
Hits. On 10th
December 2000, he began Concert Master duties on the Broadway musical
version of Jane Eyre, which ran
through 10th June 2001.
In 2001, Regis appeared on at least four albums: Three
Mo’ Tenors, featuring Victor Trent Cook, Roderick Dixon and
Thomas Young; The Peggy Lee
Songbook: There’ll Be
Another Spring; Britney
Spears’ Oops!... I Did it Again; and,
the soundtrack of Baby Boy. More film work came his way in 2002,
on the soundtracks of Changing Lanes
and Naqoyqasti. Released the same year was the
anthology, The Flowering of Vocal
Music in America: 1767-1823,
with Regis in the string section.
He appeared on
no less than eight albums in 2003:
Elvis Costello’s North,
Kiroron 1 – Kiroro
Melodies, Linda Eder’s Broadway
My Way, Whitney Houston’s One
Wish: The Holiday Album,
Yuki Kajira’s Fiction, Robert Koenig’s Chausson: Concerto in D,
Gerald Levert’s Stroke of Genius, and the cheekily titled Pachelbel’s Greatest Hit – The Ultimate Canon. He did More with Tamia and performed on the
soundtrack of The Aviator in
In 2005, he
appeared on the HSQ’s Take No Prisoners and the anthologies, Our New Orleans 2005 and Ultimate
Strings, Volume 1: Alternative
Styles. He provided string
support on Brian Stokes Mitchell’s self-titled album in 2006. In 2007, he helped Andrea Burns
apply A Deeper Shade of Red and
tipped his cap to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim on the anthology, A Place for Us – A Tribute to 50
Years of West Side Story.
It is probably no surprise that he made the cut on the 2008 Philip Glass
menagerie, Glass Box: A Nonesuch Retrospective.
Believe it or
not, the recordings listed above are merely the tip of the iceberg for
Regis: He is reputed to have
recorded over 2000 advertisements, 1000 albums, and 150 movie soundtracks. One of his most “famous”
jingles is for, of all things, Prego sauce, on which he performs the violin
solo. In addition, he has
recently recorded music for the Nickelodeon cable channel, with fellow
fiddler Natalie Kriegler.
In his copious
free time, he teaches a new generation of string musicians, and has done so
in venues such as Hofstra
University, Hunter College,
and the Manhattan School of Music.
Frank Sinatra recordings
That's What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan
49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)
Theme from "New York, New York" (Fred Ebb/John Kander)
RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)