MICHELE ROSEWOMAN'S NEW YOR-UBA
Michele Rosewoman, a vanguard and pioneering artist in her field, mines acoustic modern jazz, sophisticated funk, dynamic electric fusion and elements of Cuban folkloric music, to create a distinct musical experience. Her command and rich vocabulary elegantly expands the horizons and boundaries of jazz while remaining firmly rooted in tradition. With a more than 30-year history, Rosewoman stands out in her class as a visionary pianist, composer bandleader and gifted performer.
Rosewoman’s musical growth took root in Oakland, California where she began playing piano at age six in a home full of music, art and politics, providing an important foundation as she went on to expand her knowledge and artistic concept. She studied jazz with the great pianist/organist, Ed Kelly to whom she further attributes her traditionally rooted but wide open vision of music. Studies in percussion led her to avidly explore Cuban and Haitian folkloric idioms with an emphasis on the ritualized, spiritual aspects of the music. These early explorations would profoundly impact Rosewoman’s musical direction with a pervasive influence on the formation of her sound as a pianist and composer.
Over the years Rosewoman has perform with such notable jazz artists Jimmy Heath, Freddie Waits, Billy Hart, Billy Harper, Reggie Workman, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, James Spaulding, Gary Bartz, John Stubblefield, Rufus Reid, Howard Johnson, Billy Bang and Carlos Ward, among many others. Her very first recording was as pianist and arranger for the Cuban songo group, Los Kimy in 1983 and in the Latin genre she has performed with Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Chocolate, Orlando 'Puntilla' Rios' “Nueva Generacion,” Daniel Ponce, Chocolate, Pedro Martinez, Roman Diaz, Ernesto Gatell, Nicky Marrero, Andy Gonzales and many others.
Michele Rosewoman has presented her various ensembles at jazz festivals, concert halls and jazz clubs throughout the world including the JVC, Ravinia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago (2007), Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, North Sea, Warsaw, Berlin and Paris jazz festivals, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Cooper Union Great Hall, the Public Theater, MOMA, Museum of Natural History, NYU, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Mas. Amherst, Augusta University, Stanford University, DIzzy's LIncoln Center, The Blue Note (New York & Tokyo), the Village Vanguard, The Apollo, Birdland, Jazz Standard, Yoshi's, New Morning (Paris) and the Jazz Café (London). She has composed and arranged music for and performed with groups from duos to big bands, to full orchestras.
Michele Rosewoman has released a number of extraordinary recordings as a leader starting with her debut, The Source. There are five Quintessence recordings the first one of which continues to be noted as one of the best jazz recordings of the 80's. Her subsequent release, Guardians of the Light was described by NPR, as “spontaneous, serious and mysterious. Rosewoman and her band are jazz believers….keepers of the flame." Ms Rosewoman's highly acclaimed trio recordings include Occasion to Rise (with Rufus Reid and Ralph Peterson) - voted one of the year’s best recordings by six critics’ polls, and Spirit, a live trio performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival, released on Blue Note Records to rave press.
Throughout the years, Rosewoman’s innovative projects have received critical acclaim as well as highly coveted awards and recognitions. Highlights include major support from the National Endowment for the Arts for “New Yor-Uba, A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America” inspired by the profound collaboration with her mentor, the late Orlando “Puntilla” Rios. In 2008, 2006, and 2003 her project, Quintessence, received a Chamber Music/Doris Duke Foundation New Works Creation and Presentation Commission, and a Chamber Music America Encore Grant. A 1984 ASCAP/Meet the Composer Commission for Emerging Composers -- awarded by Dizzy Gillespie, Marian McPartland and Lester Bowie-- culminated in premieres at the Cooper Union Great Hall in New York City, the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, NY featuring the 40-piece Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra plus quintet of improvisers.
At Pangea Jazz Fest Michele Rosewoman will present New Yor-Uba: A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America, featuring fellow masters from the worlds of contemporary jazz and Cuban folkloric music. The name "New Yor-Uba" reflects the progression of the music of the ancient Yoruba people from Nigeria, through Cuba to present day New York.
Brass, saxophones, and a rhythm section complement key Cuban elements including three bata and conga drummers, traditional vocals and dance. New Yor-Uba salutes the Orishas (Yoruban deities) in a contemporary jazz setting with a distinctive repertoire featuring Ms. Rosewoman’s original compositions and visionary arrangements that Incorporate a large spectrum of Cuban spiritually-based music, including, Yoruba (Nigeria), Arara (Dahomey), Abakwa (Calabar) and rumba/guaguanco, a uniquely Cuban musical form.
The September 2013 release of New Yor-Uba's debut CD marked the ensemble's 30-year anniversary and brought huge acclaim and extensive press. The National Public Radio (NPR ) Critics Poll elected the 2-CD as the #1 Latin Jazz Release of 2013 and #25 of Best Recordings of the Year. Other accolades include the Dowmbeat Critics Poll, #14 Best Release of the Year and the Jazz Times Critics Poll, #14 Best Releases of the Year and one of the best large ensembles of the year. The CD received a 4 1/2 star review in Downbeat among many other rave reviews and the NY Times lists their Dizzy's Lincoln Center CD release performance as one of the Best Concerts of the Year. Ms.Rosewoman received numerous feature stories including NPR Fresh Air, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Jazzis, Jazz Times and many others.