Regina Carter never met Dave Brubeck, but she calls it an honor to perform as Saturday’s headliner at University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Festival.

A violinist who turned her classical training to jazz when she was in college, Carter will perform Simply Ella, a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, who was born 100 years ago.

“It’s really special for several reasons. One, I’m celebrating Ella’s 100th year, and I feel coming to the Brubeck Festival and celebrating Ella is special,” Carter said.

Although she never met the great pianist who attended Pacific and for whom the festival is named, Carter did meet his son Chris in 2002 when he was commissioned by the Boston Pops to write a special violin piece.

A high school friend, Carla Cook, took her to see Grappelli at a club in Detroit, w Carter was born and raised, and even though she didn’t try to speak to him, he changed her life.

A classically trained violinist who first picked up the instrument at the age of 4, Carter soon had a different musical trajectory.

Carter, 51, discovered Fitzgerald as a little girl of 8 or 9 when she found one of her albums in her parents’ collection.

“I think Ella would be OK with me doing this,” Carter said.