Rosewoman, Michele

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Rosewoman, Michele

Rosewoman, Michele , pianist of lightning reflexes and considerable imagination; b. Oakland, Calif., 1953. She is best known for her quintet, Quintessence, the personnel of which is different on each of its three albums. Her occasional vocals are never better than adequate, however; but they are significant in that they show her contemporary pop leanings—on her live album, Spirit, she sings the Earth, Wind & Fire song of that title. Her style is a mix of post-bop, Latin jazz, some slight African influences, touches of the avant-garde, and—mostly with Quintessence—the akimbo rhythmic accents of the M-Base school.

She started playing at age six, and from age 17 studied with pianist Ed Kelly, an Oakland hometown hero who has recorded with Pharoah Sanders. She also had lessons in percussion with Marcus Gordon, in Cuban folkloric music with Orlando “Puntilla” Rios, and in voice with Joyce Bryant. Her association with members of the Black Artists Group and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music prompted her to move to N.Y. in 1978; her N.Y. debut came with Oliver Lake at Carnegie Recital Hall. She has recorded with Billy Bang (the Rainbow Gladiator album), Ralph Peterson (Art) and Greg Osby (Greg Osby and Sound Theatre). Her big band, New Yor-Uba, to which she has devoted considerable time, has not yet been recorded.


The Source (1984); Quintessence (1989); Contrast High (1989); Occasion to Rise (1993); Harvest (1993); Spirit (1996).

—Steve Holtje/Nancy Ann Lee