Saturday, June 9, 2012

Healdsburg Jazz Festival: Michele Rosewoman at the Raven

Michele Rosewoman at the Raven Theater, Healdsburg Jazz Festival on June 8th

© Andrea Canter

Julian Priester
Michele Rosewoman. Not a household name even within the jazz world. She ought to be. Years ago I bought one of her CDs but apparently I forgot about it. Having heard her live during the Healdsburg Jazz Festival tonight at the Raven Theater, I have to wonder how I could possibly forget this very original, ferocious talent. This is a pianist who sounds like… no one else, although at times McCoy Tyner comes to mind –she is both percussive and lyrical at the same time, highly inventive as an improviser, thoroughly in modern mode yet always accessible,  melodicly pleasing and rhythmically challenging, and there’s just the slightest hint of Latin. She seems to never cross the same path twice, never content to land in a groove and just ride the tide. Many of the compositions tonight were originals—hers or from her highly collaborative band mates, including bassist Andy McKee, drummer Billy Hart and special guest, trombone master Julian Priester.
Michele Rosewoman Trio with Julian Priester
Yet the standout moments came when she was reinventing familiar standards—in a sublime duet with Priester on “In a Sentimental Mood” and in a delightful solo deconstruction of “Body and Soul.” The Mingus encore, however, left no doubt that this is an ensemble project, a mighty fine collective that warrants far more attention.

All photos by Andrea Canter at the Raven Theater, June 8, 2012