Rosnes, Renee (Irene Louise)

views updated

Rosnes, Renee (Irene Louise)

Rosnes, Renee (Irene Louise) , jazz pianist, composer; b. Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, March 24, 1962. The youngest of three adopted girls, she grew up in Vancouver. Her father and mother are Canadian Indians. Her oldest sister played piano and violin; the middle sister played piano and cello. Renee began piano at three, then took up violin a few years later. In elementary school, she began learning pop tunes from the radio. She played classical violin in youth orchestras from age 8 to 18. An astute grade school music director brought her into the jazz band and encouraged her interest. She studied music at the Royal Cons. of Music (Toronto), then returned to Vancouver, where she performed. In 1986, she came to N.Y. on a grant from the Canada Council of the Arts; she decided to stay after working with Joe Henderson at the Village Vanguard. From 1987–89, she played with the Blue Note records house group, Out of the Blue. She married drummer Billy Drummond in 1990. During the late 1980s and 1990s, she toured with J.J. Johnson, and also worked with James Moody, Jon Faddis, Bobby Hutcherson, and Wayne Shorter. Since 1991, she has led her own trio. In spring 1996, she led a group at a tribute to Mary Lou Williams at the Kennedy Center, D.C. and for a week at Sweet Basil (N.Y.), and in May performed in an Ellington tribute at Lincoln Center. She has been the pianist for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band since the early 1990s She has worked with Ralph Moore and her husband in the group Native Colors; in the mid-1990s, Moore left to play in the Tonight Show band and she was also offered a place, but declined. Her compositions include “Malaga Moon,” which was recorded by J.J. Johnson and performed by the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and “Abstraction Blues (For Georgia O’Keefe),” commissioned and premiered by Jazz at Lincoln Center. She has won numerous Canadian Juno awards and readers polls.


Renee Rosnes (1989); Face to Face (c. 1989); For the Moment (1990); Without Words (1992); Ancestors (1995); Live in Toronto (1996); As We Are Now (1997). J. Henderson: Punjab (1986). G. Thomas: Seventh Quadrant (1987); While the Gate Is Open (1990). Out of the Blue: Spiral Staircase (1989). J. Faddis: Into the Faddisphere (1989); Hornucopia (c. 1991). B. Drummond: Native Colours (1991); The Gift (1993). J.J. Johnson: Let’s Hang Out (1992).


R. Rosnes, North of the Border (Second Floor Music/Hal Leonard).

—Lewis Porter