The Michele Rosewoman Trio – June 8
with Andy McKee and Billy Hart
special guest Julian Priester
@THE RAVEN THEATER
115 North Street
8PM | $50 | $30 | $25 Student/Senior
Those who have been lucky enough to catch Michele Rosewoman’s occasional homecoming performances in the Bay Area over the decades can feel like members of a secret society; pilgrims to the shrine of a piano goddess who has illuminated mysteries of the keyboard that very few have accessed. See YouTube video below.
Raised in Oakland and schooled by Northern California’s late piano guru, Ed Kelly, Rosewoman was a prodigious talent who, while still in her teens had multiple strains of jazz and world music dancing in her head. Around the time she moved to New York in the late 1970s she was like a magnet to many of the rising stars of the day – Oliver Lake, Billy Bang, Julius Hemphill and many more.
Technique is what immediately bowls you over about Michele’s playing. She is equally virtuosic at in-the-pocket post-bop playing, rippling romanticism, atonal flights or the Afro-Cuban clave. But while many have chops, few can muster them with the sense of equipoise that Michele brings. Like a dancer in the eye of a hurricane, Michele choreographs the piano keys in a way that’s electrifying.
In a 2007 interview with allaboutjazz.com, Michele touched on the essence of what she’s about: “One is called on to deal with so many things, and the key is balance,” she said. “Balancing limitation and expansion, form with free form, respect for and acknowledgment of tradition with a drive for creativity and evolution, aggressiveness with receptiveness, how to react and listen at the same time, incorporating the voices around you, taking the initiative.”
She’s still attracting young hotshots – recent bands she’s led have featured Mark Shim, Gene Jackson and MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner Miguel Zenon – but for this evening’s concert at the Raven Michele pulls out some big guns: Billy Hart on drums, Andy McKee on bass, and special guest Julian Priester on trombone.
Well known to the Healdsburg audience, Billy Hart is a master of shading and color who can crank up the raw power when necessary. He’s worked with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Miles Davis and dozens more. Julian Priester was hired by Sun Ra and Duke Ellington both, which tells you most of what you need to know about him. From the low register of his instrument he extracts alluring narratives that have also brought him into the bands of Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Tyner and John Coltrane. Andy McKee is a prodigiously talented bassist who was schooled in the band’s of Philly Joe Jones and Elvin Jones and went on to play with Mal Waldron, Don Cherry, Michel Petrucciani and many others.
Rosewoman has played with Hart and Priester separately for years, but this evening marks not only the first time the three will have worked together. It’s also a reunion of Priester and Hart, who played on Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking Mwandishi album from 1971. Andy McKee is a prodigiously talented bassist who was schooled in the bands of Philly Joe Jones and Elvin Jones and went on to play with Mal Waldron, Don Cherry, Michel Petrucciani and many others.
Between Michele, Billy, Julian, and Andy, you have a resume that could fill Carnegie Hall, but we’ll talke the Raven Theater. Be prepared for magic.