Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Rosenberg, Roger

Rosenberg, Roger, saxophone; b. New York City, 26 May 1951. As a child, his family moved first to New Rochelle, and then Long Beach, NY, where he grew up.

Rosenberg began playing alto sax in elementary school. By the time he reached seventh grade, due to financial difficulties, his parents could no longer afford a horn for him. His music teacher needed a Baritone sax player which the school would supply for free. That's how he started playing baritone. Many opportunities opened up for him as a result. He spent  four consecutive summers at music camps, on scholarship. One year at a camp run by Glenn Brown, a former Xavier Cugat musician, and three years at Ramblerny in New Hope, PA under the guidance of Phil Woods. His High School band director was John Wilson who had played trumpet with the Sauter-Finnegan band. During high school, he also had the great fortune to study with Joe Allard on saxophone, and jazz studies with Jaki Byard. He spent one year at Indiana University (1969-1970) where he studied with David Baker and Gene Rousseau on saxophone. He then spent two years at The New England Conservator y (1971-1973) with Joe Allard, Jaki Byard, and George Russell in whose big band he later played with. During this time, he was playing tenor. Shortly after, he moved back home to NYC where he began his professional career. After several months of taking whatever gigs he could get, he joined Tito Puente's band on baritone. They played in NYC as well as toured California and Puerto Rico. After about nine months, he left the band and joined a new version of Buddy Rich's band, called the Big Band Machine. They spent weeks at a time playing at Buddy's Place on west 33rd street and also toured. He did one recording with Buddy. By this time, he was anxious to play with smaller groups and got the chance to play with Mongo Santamaria with whom he played for two years. He did two recordings with Mongo on the Vaya label; " Sofrito" and  "Amanacer" which won Best Latin Grammy For 1977. He had several solos as well as two originals on this one. During this time, he also got to play and record with Ray Barretto "The Eye Of The Beholder" on Atlantic, and wit h Eddie Palmieri as well as sessioning with the outstanding locals of his generation. Also, with three of the guys from Mongo's band, started an early Latin Jazz group called Jasmine. They did one record on the West 54 label and got a lot of local airplay on WRVR before it went country. He then spent two great years with Chet Baker playing baritone and soprano. They did one studio recording for John Snyder which was never released. Two or three years ago, a live recording "The Rising Sun Collection" was released. During this period, he also played with Lee Konitz's Nonet, Dave Matthews Band, and with Walter Bishop Jr. Since that time, he has had an extensive and varied career. He also spent several years with The Janet Lawson Quintet, pianist David Lahm, Kirk Nurock, and Don Sebesky all of with whom he recorded several albums. He also had the great privilege to record with Miles Davis and Quincy Jones at the Montreaux Jazz festival in a re creation of the Miles and Gil Collaboration. This was released on Columbia. And the Mingus Epitaph recorded live at Alice Tully Hall

Throughout the years, he'e had the wonderful fortune to study with many fine musicians including: Keith Underwood -flute, Harold Seletsky -composition, Danny Bank, Hank Freeman, Vic Morosco,Dave Tofani-saxophone and doubles, Kim Laskowsky, Dennis Godburn,Tom Sefcovic-bassoon as well as the above mentioned. He's also learned an enormous amount from the wonderful musicians with whom he plays with every day His compositions include Numerous Jazz Tunes and songs, a Sonata For Two Pianos, a Brass Quintet, a Woodwind Quintet, and others. Rosenberg has been performing, composing, and teaching for more than 25 years.  His jazz credits include sidemen stints with Chet Baker, Buddy Rich, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin, The Mingus Orchestra, Lee Konitz, Walter Bishop, Jr., T.S. Monk, Bob Mintzer Big Band, David Lahm, Jaki Byard, Sam Jones-Tom Harrell Big Band, George Russell, Gerry Mulligan, Bob James, Kirk Nurock, Dave Matthews, and many others. He has played with singers Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Lou Rawls, Ray Charles, Janet Lawson, Joe Williams, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Maureen McGovern, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mathis, Cleo Lane, Sarah Vaughn, Steve Lawrence and Edie Gormet.  He was in the orchestra of the legendary 1994 Barbara Streisand tour. He also has had a strong presence on the Latin music scene, playing with Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Eddie Plamieri, and Ray Barretto.  Pop credits include John Lennon, Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Brian McKnight, Laura Nyro, Paul Simon, Ashford and Simpson, Luther Vandross, Phil Ramone, David Byrne, Rod Stewart, and Gladys Knight. He is on the 2001 Grammy winner for Album of the Year by Steely Dan, "Two Against Nature", as well as being a featured soloist on the 2002 Grammy-winner for Best Jazz Big Band, "Homage To Count Basie", by Bob Mintzer. He toured with Michael Brecker's Quindectet. Roger has also been very active on the New York session scene playing for numerous jingles, television shows, movies, and recordings, as well as in the orchestra for such Broadway shows as "The Lena Horne Show", "Anything Goes", "Damn Yankees", "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"  "42 St.", and many others. His classical credits include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, The American Ballet Theatre, Concordia, The Queens Symphony, New York City Ballet Orchestra, the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, and The American Symphony.

Roger has been an adjunct faculty member for the Jazz Studies Program of New York University.

Rosenberg: Hang Time; Bob Mintzer: Homage to Count Basie (2001 Grammy Winner-Big Band Jazz); Gently; Wally Dunbar: Everything In Time; David Lahm: More Jazz Takes on Joni Mitchell

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