MICHELE ROSEWOMAN BIO
With the October 3, 2006 release of The In Side Out (Advance Dance Disques AD 0353) -- Michele Rosewoman’s first new recording since 2000 and the fifth featuring her ensemble Quintessence – the acclaimed pianist once again makes a powerful creative statement that showcases the breadth and depth or her musicality and affirms in no uncertain terms her position as one of the most original and innovative instrumentalists and composers on the current global jazz scene. Ms. Rosewoman is heard here with a core ensemble featuring the powerful front line of saxophonists Mark Shim and Miguel Zenon augmented by special guests Dave Fiuczynski on guitar, Josh Roseman on trombone and Pedro Martinez on percussion. Self-produced, The In Side Out is undoubtedly Rosewoman’s most multi-faceted recording to date, morphing from acoustic modern jazz to sophisticated funk to dynamic electric fusion to ecstatic Afro Cuban jazz. As on her previous recordings for Soul Note, Enja, Evidence, Toshiba/EMI and Blue Note, Rosewoman expands jazz’s horizons while remaining firmly rooted in the music’s illustrious tradition. In fact, the new release represents the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the 20-year history of this highly acclaimed ensemble.
Ms. Rosewoman was born in Oakland, CA where she started playing piano at age six and studied jazz traditions with the great pianist/organist Ed Kelly. In her late teens she began playing percussion and studying Cuban/Haitian folkloric idioms. By the time she moved to New York in 1978, she had already performed at major venues in the San Francisco Bay Area with her own ensembles and with Julian Priester, Julius Hemphill, Baikida Carroll and Oliver Lake and other fellow jazz innovators. In New York Rosewoman formed new ensembles and continued to present her music while collaborating with Rufus Reid, Reggie Workman, Freddie Waits, James Spaulding, Billy Hart, Carlos Ward and others as well as with Cuban master drummer/vocalist, Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios, and other musicians in the folkloric community.
A concept that integrated her two musical realms of interest began to take shape, and in 1983 Ms. Rosewoman received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to form the pioneering 14-piece ensemble “New Yor-Uba, A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America” that debuted at The Public Theater that December and appeared at festivals throughout Europe in 1984. That year, she also made her recording debut as pianist and arranger for the Cuban songo group, Los Kimy. Her experience as a percussionist continues to shape many aspects of her music. In the Latin music genre, Rosewoman has performed with Puntilla’s “Nueva Generacion,” Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Nicky Marrero, Daniel Ponce and Chocolate among others.
Rosewoman received the ASCAP/Meet the Composer Commission for Emerging Composers that year (awarded by Dizzy Gillespie, Marian McPartland and Lester Bowie) resulting in a new work that was premiered at the Cooper Union Great Hall in New York City and the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, New York by the 40-piece Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and a quintet of improvisers, including Rufus Reid, Greg Osby and Howard Johnson,
Rosewoman’s recording debut as a leader, The Source (Soul Note /1984) was praised for its radiance and ingenuity. Quintessence (Enja/1987) was named by numerous critics and polls as one of the best jazz releases of the year and has been cited as one of the best jazz recordings of the 1980's. As Ms. Rosewoman established a reputation as one of the most ingenious and prolific bandleaders of her generation, Down Beat wrote: "…She communicates assurance and ardor whether on the cutting edge of jazz or within the mainstream. What musicianship and moving expression! Bring on the future."
In addition to five recordings with Quintessence, Ms. Rosewoman has two trio recordings: Occasion To Rise (Evidence/1993), was voted one of the year’s best recordings by six critics’ polls. The critically acclaimed album Spirit (Blue Note/1996) was recorded live at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
Since it's debut in 1986 at the Cooper Union Great Hall in New York, Quintessence has been the main vehicle for Rosewoman's evolution as pianist, composer and bandleader. She assembled dynamic bands to interpret her writing, and became known for bringing together musicians who today are some of the most inventive voices in jazz, including saxophonists Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, David Sanchez, Steve Wilson, Miguel Zenon and Mark Shim; trombonist Robin Eubanks, bassists Kenny Davis, Anthony Cox and Lonnie Plaxico; and drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Gene Jackson, and guitarists Liberty Ellman and Dave Fiuczynski, among others. Many have cited the experience of playing in Quintessence as notably influential in their development as musicians, composers and bandleaders. Regarding Ms. Rosewoman’s previous Quintessence release, Guardians of the Light (Enja/2000), an NPR review noted: “…[She] sounds more than ever the confident master of her committed course. An indomitable modern jazz pianist, her singular sound ideas expand readily to her dark, fiery ensembles. So it all comes together, big, tight and flexible, rangy, spontaneous, serious and mysterious. Rosewoman and her band are jazz believers, jazz devotees, keepers of the flame."
Rosewoman and Quintessence received a 2003 Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation New Works Creation and Presentation Commission. In 2006 they received one of the first Chamber Music America Encore Grants. Other recent activity includes a six-country European tour with trombonist Robin Eubanks and a series of duo performances with Greg Osby, and a composition department residency at Berklee College of Music.
Rosewoman has appeared at jazz festivals, concert halls and clubs throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe including the JVC, Ravinia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, North Sea, Paris, Warsaw and Berlin jazz festivals and Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Cooper Union Great Hall, the Public Theater, MOMA, NYU, Temple University, Stanford University, The Blue Note (New York & Tokyo), the Village Vanguard, The Apollo, Sweet Basil, Birdland, Jazz Standard, Yoshi's, New Morning (Paris) and the Jazz Café (London). As an educator she conducts classes, workshops and clinics at colleges and universities around the US while teaching piano and composition privately. Ms. Rosewoman has also held past and current teaching positions at NYU and the New School for Social Research.