Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Rosewoman, Michele (Donna Michele)

Rosewoman, Michele (Donna Michele), pianist, composer; b. Oakland, CA, 19 March 1953. Her father Louis Roseman was a singer in choirs when young, ran a music store and was a teacher of social sciences. Her mother Estera Roseman  was a visual artist, oil&water colors, graphics, etchings, etc. Her brother Steve Roseman, born January 29, 1951, is a musician: keyboards including piano, B3 organ and synthesizers.

Michele studied piano, with Ed Kelly, Oakland-based pianist/organist from Texas. Studied informally from 1971-1975 at Laney Junior College/Oakland. She studied percussion with Marcus Gordon, conga and bata drummer/vocalist, Cuban and Haitian Folkloric styles. Studied in San Francisco 1973-1975 and 1976-1978. She studied voice with the legendary Joyce Bryant  (see documentary "Brown Sugar"). Studied in NYC 1987-1990.  She studied Cuban vocal and drumming folkloric traditions, with Orlando "Puntilla" Rios, Cuban master of the Cuban Folkloric musical traditions.  Studied in NYC, from 1982-current. In 1983 Rosewoman received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for the formation of New Yor-Uba, a 14-piece ensemble conceived to perform her original compositions and arrangements which integrate Afro-Cuban folkloric music and contemporary cutting-edge jazz.  With the support of the 1983 NEA grant, New Yor-Uba made its debut before an enthusiastic SRO crowd at New York's Public Theater.  Orlando "Puntilla" Rios,  a master of the various Cuban musical forms, has been a member of this ensemble since its inception--providing Rosewoman with a valuable organic source, as she creates the group's repertoire.  New Yor-Uba has gone on to appear in festivals throughout the United States and Europe.  The ensemble performed in a rare club setting at Sweet Basil in March of 1998 marking their first time on a New York stage in over a decade. Following performances included The New School's Tischman Auditorium (1998), a series of clinics and performances on the west coast, including California State University in Fresno, Yoshi's in Oakland and Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz, CA (1999) and The Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia (2001). The name "New Yor-Uba" reflects the progression A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America of the music of the ancient Yoruba people from Nigeria through Cuba to present-day New York. She's spent many years studying Cuban and Haitian folkloric styles.   Her experience as a percussionist continues to shape many aspects of her musicality, as composer, performer and bandleader. Upon coming to New York in 1978, Rosewoman began performing with several Cuban dance bands.  Her very first recording was as pianist and arranger for the Cuban songo group, Los Kimy in 1984.  In the Latin music genre, she has worked with Puntilla's iNueva Generacion,i Celia Cruz, Paquito D'Rivera, Daniel Ponce, Chocolate, and Roberto Borrell among others.  Rosewoman's musical growth took root in Oakland, California where she began playing piano at age 6 in a home full of music, art and politics.  She was exposed to the music of jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Earl Hines, as well as R&B, and music from cultures throughout the world. At age 18 Rosewoman started playing piano for Laney Junior College's big band where she met the great pianist and teacher Edwin Kelly, who became an important mentor and friend.  A whole new world opened up when Ed Kelly introduced her to the jazz stars of her own generation--artists like John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan and Thelonious Monk. The Bay Area's jazz scene and The Keystone Korner, San Francisco's renownedbut now defunct jazz club provided an important setting for her to hear andmeet many great mainstream and contemporary jazz artists.  Rosewoman's neighbor Baikida Carroll, a trumpeter and composer, introduced her to a musical approach that went beyond the mainstream; and through him she met artists like Oliver Lake and Julius Hemphill, whose innovations in this new music would help shape her own ideas. She went on to perform with the likes of Julian Priester, Jimmy Heath, Freddie Waits, Reggie Workman, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, James Spaulding, Gary Bartz, Rufus Reid, Howard Johnson, and Carlos Ward.  She has presented her various ensembles at jazz festivals, concert halls, and jazz clubs throughout the world.  In the process, she has composed and arranged music for groups as small as trios and as large as 40-piece orchestras.  FourSight, a collaborative quartet she formed for a debut at Birdland in New York can be added to the list of musical vehicles that have provided a context for Rosewoman's evolving group concept.  Consistently she has worked with artists who share a similar vision. For the first incarnation of FourSight, she recruited Robin Eubanks, Rufus Reid and Billy Hart--all musicians with whom she has worked over the years. All bandleaders in their own right, this ensemble was formed to create a forum for the performance of music written by all four members.

Rosewoman has always been active as a music educator, conducting classes, workshops and clinics, and teaching privately.  Included among her past and current credits in this field are teaching positions at New York University and the New School for Social Research.  She is also an instructor at the annual Montclair State University Summer Jazz Workshop.  Committed to working with young people as well, for five years she served as musical director for the Manhattan chapter of the New York City Parks Department program, iNew York Kids on Stage,i where she formed the iContemporary Youth Choir.i  Later, Rosewoman lead the Carter G. Woodson Choir at Boys and Girls High in Brooklyn for two years. She is currently working with children through Arts Inc., bringing musical instruction into neighborhood schools. To a list of credentials that includes pianist, composer, bandleader, choir director and music educator, Rosewoman can add piano tuner.  She has tuned professionally in recording studios, concert halls and clubs for the past 27 years. Between 1983-2001, New Yor-Uba, has performed at Joseph Papp's Public Theater, NYC, Sweet Basil, NYC, Tishman Auditorium/New School, NYC, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Georgia, Museum of Natural History, NYC, Jazz Track, NYC, INTAR Hispanic Cultural Center, NYC, Yoshi's/Oakland CA, Kuumbwa/Santa Cruz CA, California State University Fresno/CA, The Painted Bride Arts Center, Philadelphia, NOS Radiio Festival, Amsterdam, Berlin Jazz Festival, Germany, Paris Jazz Festival, France, Warsaw Jazz Jamboree, Poland, Zurich Jazz Festival, Switzerland, Nancy Jazz festival, France, Tampere Jazz Festival, Finland, The Montmarte, Copenhagen, Nickelsdorf, Austria, and Salzberg, Austria. Many of the finest musicians from both the contemporary jazz and Afro-Cuban traditions have performed with "New Yor-Uba".  A partial list would include Orlando "Puntillai Rios, Greg Osby, Michael Mossman, Eddie Bob, Gary Thomas, Baikida Carroll, Gene Golden, Craig Handy, Bob Stewart, Eddie Rodriguez, John Stubblefield, Howard Johnson, Alberto Morgan, Oliver Lake, Andy Gonzales, Pedro Pablo Martinez, Steve Wilson, Rufus Reid, Ernesto 'Gato" Gatell, Gary Bartz, Kenny Davis, Olu Femi Mitchell, Don Byron, Anthony Cox, Gene Jackson, Joseph Daley, Steve Berrios, Pheeroan akLaff, Joe Ford, Cameron Brown, and Ronnie Burrage. In 1986, pianist/composer Michele Rosewoman created a new body of work and a group concept that initiated the formation of the ensemble known as  "Quintessence". The ensemble's debut performance at the Cooper Union Great Hall in New York City that same year led to Enja Records' immediate interest in recording the music. Ms. Rosewoman again presented Quintessence in concert, this time in Philadelphia at the Painted Bride Arts Center, with a personnel change in the rhythm section that helped her to further capture the essence of "Quintessence".  This configuration--featuring Greg Osby (soprano saxophone), Steve Coleman (alto saxophone), Anthony Cox (bass) and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums) went into the studio and completed the first recording for Enja Records.  Quintessence toured Europe, performing at major festivals, concert halls and clubs, and continued to perform in numerous New York locations, including New York University, Sweet Basil, the Jazz Forum and Soundscape.

The Source (1983); Quintessence: Quintessence (1987); Occasion To Rise (1990); Quintessence: Contrast High (1992), Harvest (1992); Spirit (1994); Quintessence: Guardians of the Light  (1999)
As sideperson:
Los Kimy: El Songo (1981); Billy Bang: Rainbow Gladiator (1981); Greg Osby: Sound Theater (1987); Oliver Lake: Other Side; Ralph Peterson Quintet: Art (1992) Rosewoman

Radio and television broadcasts, videos:
Numerous NPR brooadcasts including Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, and a series hosted by Casandra Wilson. Featured guest, WBGO, WKCR, WBAI, KJAZZ, KPFA, KPOO, KRAB; Smithsonian Institute Video Documentary on Latin Jazzopart of a 4-year traveling exhibit to be released in 2003; Atlanta Jazz Festival New Yor-Uba performance recorded for PBS broadcast; Numerous videos of European performances, including "Michele osewoman and Quintessencei at the Leverkuzen Jazz Festival, Germany.

Featured prominently in the following books:
Latin Jazz: The First of the Fusions - 1880s to Today (including pictures/ written by John Storm Roberts, published by Schirmer Books, 1999.
Madame Jazz by Leslie Gourse
Jazz Cooks by Schirmer Publishers
Outcats by Francis Davis
Be-Bop and Beyond ((May/June 1986)
Jazz Iz (November 1993)
New York Woman Magazine (April 1988)
Keyboard Magazine (November 1989)
JazzTimes Magazine (September 1990)
Time Out Magazine  (March 20-27 1997)
Down Beat Magazine (April 1984)
Down Beat Magazine  (---1992)
Latin New York   (April 1982)
Latin Beat magazine  (September 1995)
Hot House Magazine  (December 1983, March 2000)
Earshot Jazz  (June 1988, October 1993)
The Phoenix (June 1987)
San Fransicso Chronicle  (???)
Zitty/Berlin  1984
Graduate dissertation/book: It's Gotta be Music First/Ursula Schlicht

Chamber Music America:  Grant Recipient: Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project --New Works Creation and Presentation Program for the creation and presentation of new works in the jazz idiom.   July, 2002
Michele Rosewoman Trio CD, "Occasion To Rise" voted one of the year's best recordings by 5 polls. (including Billboard, Pulse, Village Voice, Jazz Times) 1993
Meet The Composer, 25-time grant recipient   1979-1992
ASCAP Foundation / Meet the Composer Commission for Emerging Comopsers : Grant recipient  To write new work for  performances by the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. 1984
National Endowment for the Arts, performance grant recipient   1983
Down Beat Critics Poll, Talent Deserving Wider Recognition   1983, 1988

http://www.nprjazz.org/reviews/mrose.cd.html  (extensive review/profile)

Contact information:
Phone:  212  732-4773
Fax:  212  732-4774

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