BRATTLEBORO >> Acclaimed jazz pianist, Renee Rosnes to perform with her quartet at the Vermont Jazz Center on Saturday at 8 p.m. with her world-class quartet including vibraphonist Steve Nelson, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash. Cited as "one of the finest pianists in jazz," Rosnes has recorded and toured with a veritable who's who of jazz including legends Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, J.J. Johnson, James Moody, Buster Williams and Bobby Hutcherson.
Rosnes demonstrates brilliance in her approach to jazz standards and has dedicated albums to playing these classic songs (her recording "A Time For Love" is a good example), but it is her esteemed work as a composer whose focused ability to choose a complex concept and express it through music that further elevates her reputation. In a review of her most recent recording, "Written in the Rocks," Downbeat magazine claims "Rosnes is a virtuoso jazz composer ... advanced yet accessible, complex but never ostentatious, this is as good as writing can get in this setting."
Renee Rosnes uses her albums as opportunities to explore a unified topic such as the natural history of the world (Written in the Rocks). Her albums aren't merely collections of tunes, they are palpable examples of what she is investigating at the time. Her foray into world music, Life on Earth, is supported by her vast knowledge of both music and culture – in the liner notes she states that the "realization of this recording manifested a desire to create a journey of inspiration and depth." It includes original music directly influenced by the sounds Rosnes studied from India, Senegal, Andalusia, Bali as well as compositions that reflect her impressions of 9/11 and the ice, oceans and winds of her native Canada. Rosnes has produced a full album honoring the music of Bill Evans, worked directly with a string arranger to create an album fusing a string orchestra with a jazz trio, appeared as guest pianist, composer, and arranger with the famed Danish Radio Big Band, and has dedicated albums to both her own fascinating personal cultural history (Ancestors) and to that of her musical legacy (Black Narcissus, a tribute to Joe Henderson).
To date Rosnes has released a series of 14 albums, four of which have garnered Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy. In 2003 she earned SOCAN's (Society of Canadian Composers) Composer of the Year award.
The quartet that Renee Rosnes will bring to the Jazz Center is her working band with whom she has recorded numerous albums. They have an obvious and easy chemistry and are able to help her achieve her vision of creating unique timbres and swinging hard.
The bassist of the quartet is Peter Washington who cut his teeth with Art Blakey at the age of 22 has recorded three albums with Blakey's Jazz
Messengers but has his clean tone and swinging articulation has left its mark on the recordings of hundreds of others.
At the age of 21 the drummer of Rosnes' group, Lewis Nash, was a first call musician in his hometown of Phoenix, Az., where he played or recorded with Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Red Garland, Lee Konitz, Barney Kessell and Slide Hampton. In 1981, he moved to New York and joined the trio of jazz vocalist Betty Carter. He has one recording out under his own name called "Rhythm is My Business."
Vermont Jazz Center is honored to present this stellar quartet. They represent the very top level of jazz musicians playing at clubs and festivals throughout the world. Come be captivated by their musicality, creativity, dynamics and groove.
Tickets for the Renee Rosnes concert are $20+ general admission, $15 for students with I.D. (contact VJC about educational discounts); available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at www.vtjazz.org, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets may be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1., and handicapped access is available by calling that number.