Michele Rosewoman


Quintessence has served as the main vehicle for pianist/composer Michele Rosewoman's evolution as pianist, composer, and bandleader. As a result of an ongoing quest to find like-minded musicians at each new stage of her musical development, Rosewoman has consistently assembled dynamic bands to interpret her writing and has become known for bringing together some of the most inventive voices in contemporary jazz. Many have cited the experience of playing in Quinessence as notably influential in their own development as musicians, composers and bandleaders. Throughout the years, Quintessence has earned raves from both fans and critics: NPR raved “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 first formed Quintessence in 1986, and the ensemble debuted at the Cooper Union Great Hall in New York City. Following a second performance, this time at the Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia, featuring Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, Anthony Cox, and Terri Lyne Carrington, the ensemble went into the studio and completed the first recording for Enja Records.

This debut recording, Quintessence, was named by numerous critics and polls as one of the best jazz releases of the year and has since been cited as one of the best jazz recordings of the 1980s. Quintessence followed this first release with a European tour, performing at major festivals, concert halls and clubs, and went on to perform in numerous New York locations, including New York University, the Jazz Standard, the Blue Note and Soundscape. Down Beat wrote of the ensemble “[Rosewoman’s] quintet burns with the intensity of one of Woody Shaw's great hard bop units, yet it can also step lightly through the dance rhythms...and turn up the funk...For the uninitiated this is a well-balanced introduction to a musician whose spirit is infectious."

Quintessence has released five albums, most recently 2006’s The In Side Out. With a diverse musical repertoire and an all-new configuration—featuring Michele, saxophonists Mark Shim and Miguel Zenon, bassist Brad Jones, drummer Derrek Phillips, as well as special guests Josh Roseman, Dave Fiuczynski, and Pedro Pablo Martinez—this recording represents the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the 20-year history of this highly acclaimed ensemble.

Ms. Rosewoman and Quintessence are recipients of the 2006 Chamber Music America Encore Grant. and the 2008 and 2002 Chamber Music America New Works; Creation and Presentation Grant.. The group has toured throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

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