Michele Rosewoman & Billy Hart

Michele Rosewoman, Billy Hart, Andy McKee on base
Michele Rosewoman is an American jazz pianist born in Oakland, CA. She is most notable for her work and recordings with her Quintessence ensemble as well as for several trio and quartet recordings, and for her New Yor-Uba ensemble featuring Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios (although unrecorded), an Afro-Cuban jazz big band since the early 1980s. Rosewoman is also known for her work as sidewoman on the recordings of such artists as Greg Osby, M-Base and Ralph Peterson. Before a move to New York from California in 1978, Rosewoman, who was deeply influenced by Oakland-based pianist/organist Ed Kelly, led several jazz groups in the Oakland area and also performed with Baikida Carroll, Julius Hemphill and Julian Priester. In New York she played with post-avant-garde musicians Oliver Lake and Billy Bang as well as with jazz masters Freddie Waits, Rufus Reid, Billy Hart, Reggie Workman and Latin music greats such as Celia Cruz, Chocalate, Nicky Marrero, Paquito D’Rivera, Daniel Ponce among others.
Michele Rosewoman was born in Oakland, CA where she studied jazz traditions with the great pianist/ organist Ed Kelly while also playing percussion and studying Cuban/Haitian folkloric idioms. By the time she moved to New York in 1978, Rosewoman had 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. In New York, Rosewoman continued to present her music while collaborating with artists including Rufus Reid, Reggie Workman, James Spaulding, and Billy Hart as well as with Cuban master drummer/ vocalist, Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios.
In 1983, 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, featuring Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios. The ensemble debuted at The Public Theater that December and toured Europe in 1984. New Yor-Uba has since toured throughout the United States and Europe; ensemble members have included many great jazz and latin musicians such as Andy Gonzales, Steve Berrios, Pedro Martinez, John Stubblefield, Gary Bartz, Joe Ford, Bob Stewart, Oliver Lake, and Gary Thomas.
Rosewoman has recorded eight albums as a leader, most with her critically acclaimed ensemble Quintessence. Since its 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. Quintessence’s members have included some of the most inventive voices in jazz,including Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, David Sanchez, Steve Wilson, Miguel Zenon and Mark Shim; trombonists Robin Eubanks and Vincent Gardner, bassists Kenny Davis, Brad Jones and Lonnie Plaxico; drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Gene Jackson, and guitarists Liberty Ellman and Dave Fiuczynski.
Rosewoman’s most recent recording with Quintessence, The In Side Out, was released in 2006 on Advance Dance Disques. The album has earned tremendous critical acclaim, with Jazziz declaring “Once again, Rosewoman shows that she’s an original thinker making uncompromising and forward-looking jazz – which just happens to be accessible and viscerally exciting.” In addition to five recordings with Quintessence, Ms. Rosewoman has two trio recordings. Occasion to Rise (Evidence/1993)—voted one of the year’s best recordings by six critics’ polls—and the critically acclaimed Spirit (Blue Note/1996), recorded live at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
Rosewoman has received numerous grants, including a 1984 ASCAP/Meet the Composer Commission for Emerging Composers resulting in a new work written for and performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and a quintet of improvisers. Rosewoman and Quintessence received a 2003 and a 2008 Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation New Works Creation and Presentation Commission, and in 2006 they received one of the first Chamber Music America Encore Grants.
Michele Rosewoman has appeared at jazz festivals, concert halls and clubs throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. As an educator Rosewoman conducts classes, workshops and clinics at colleges and universities throughout 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