In 2001, Carter recorded a duet session with Kenny Barron
that has been universally acclaimed for its lyrical qualities and stunning range of dynamics and harmonic invention. She has since released the classically influenced Paganini: After a Dream in 2003 and the American songbook album I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey in 2006 as a tribute to her late mother. She won a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in September of that year.
After much time spent touring and a sojourn in Africa, Carter emerged with Reverse Thread in 2010 on the E1
imprint. The album is comprised mainly of African folk tunes from countries as diverse as Mali, Uganda, and Senegal, among others. Her sidemen on this recording include accordionists Will Holshouser
and Gary Versace, guitarist Adam Rogers
, acoustic bassist Chris Lightcap, electric bassist Mamadou Ba, kora master Yocouba Sissoko, and drummer Alvester Garnett. Using many of the same musicians, Carter furthered her investigation of earlier musics on Southern Comfort, which explored in detail as well as in concept the roots of American music. It was released in March of 2014.