The next show will air on Sunday September 8, 2013 from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl” will feature an exclusive interview with pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman, who will talk about (among other things) her new CD release New Yor-Uba. You can hear a short preview of the show below.
Keeping with the theme of Michele Rosewoman’s work, we’ll begin the show with a short interview with Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, head of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, who is working on a documentary titled Let the Spirit Move You on African based spiritual traditions that continue in Puerto Rico and are grounded in ancestral worship. (You can watch the trailer for it in our web extras at the bottom of the page.)
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, the recently departed Steve Berrios (ibaye tonu), Pedro Martinez, John Stubblefield, Gary Bartz, Joe Ford, Bob Stewart, Oliver Lake, and Gary Thomas. In celebration of this year marking 30 years and an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, Rosewoman will officially release a 2-CD set titled Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba, A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America on Tuesday, September 10, on Advance Dance Disques (Rosewoman’s label).
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. Quintessences 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 release before the New Yor-Uba project was a recording with Quintessence, The In Side Out, was released in 2006 on Advance Dance Disques. The album had earned tremendous critical acclaim, with Jazziz declaring “Once again, Rosewoman showed 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.
This show is produced, engineered, edited, and hosted by Joyce Jones.
Web Extras: Watch Michele Rosewoman and New Yor-Uba perform “The Egun and the Harvest” at a 2009 tribute to Orlando “Puntilla” Rios recorded live at the Schomburg.
Watch a trailer for Dr. Marta Moreno Vega’s in progress documentary Let the Spirit Move You on African ancestral religious traditions in Puerto Rico.