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Renee Rosnes

1962 -

Origin: Saskatchewan, Canada

Main instrument: Piano

Genre: Jazz

A star pianist whose list of collaborators ranges through a Who’s Who of the jazz world, Renee Rosnes has established herself as one of the most highly respected jazzwomen of her generation. Born in Regina, she kicked off her career in the ’80s in Vancouver, where she crossed paths with Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Wynton and Branford Marsalis. Moving to New York in 1986, she quickly made a name for herself and stepped up a notch when Joe Henderson recruited her for his quartet. She would go on to work with groups led by Wayne Shorter, JJ Johnson, Bobby Hutcherson, Buster Williams and James Moody, and play alongside Jack DeJohnette, Christian McBride and Chris Potter. In 1990, she began a long and fruitful association with Blue Note, releasing nine acclaimed albums and winning four Juno Awards. Start with her self-titled debut and For the Moment (both 1990), Without Words (1992) and Ancestors (1996), with emotion-charged compositions fusing the energy of bebop to the lyricism of Brazilian music, As We Are Now (1997), Art & Soul (1999), With a Little Help from My Friends (2001), the highly acclaimed Life on Earth (2002), crossing jazz with indigenous influences from India, Senegal, Indonesia and Brazil, and Renee Rosnes with the Danish Radio Big Band (2003). Her more recent albums include A Time for Love (2005), Manhattan Rain and Double Portrait, recorded with her husband Bill Charlap in 2010. As a bandleader, she’s been accompanied by an array of renowned collaborators including drummers Billy Drummond (her ex-husband), Lewis Nash and Bill Stewart, saxophonists Walt Weiskopf and Rich Perry, vibraphonist Steve Nelson and bassist Peter Washington. Named Composer of the Year in 2003 by SOCAN, she also works as a musical director, producer, radio host and jazz critic. She has appeared at the Festival seven times, heading her own band or alongside the San Francisco Jazz Collective (which she co-founded), Bill Charlap or Ron Carter.


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