On Friday, April 26, Flushing Town Hall will present critically-acclaimed jazz pianist Renee Rosnes, who will lead a mesmerizing performance, showcasing her instrumental, compositional, and improvisational skills. Her quartet will perform jazz classics and original material, sharing music that expresses who they are, where they have been, and where they are headed.
Describing her recent work, The New York Times said, “She tosses cold splashes of harmony, sketches out little countermelodies at a downward angle, [and] opens up pockets of silence.” Adds Notes on Jazz, “Rosnes is showing signs of entering her own peak of creative powers as an impressive instrumentalist, a formidable composer, and a leader in her own right.”
This will be Rosnes’ first performance at Flushing Town Hall, and she will be joined on stage by Peter Washington (bass), Steve Nelson (vibraphone) and Lewis Nash (drums). Tickets are $25, $20 members and students, and free for teens and can be purchased at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222. Rosnes gave us insight into her upcoming performance.
What can an audience expect to experience at your performance?
Vibraphonist Steve Nelson, bassist Peter Washington, drummer Lewis Nash and I have been playing together for decades, and our instincts as a band are in sync. Our music is an expression of who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re headed. Our repertoire includes both jazz classics as well as some original material from our recordings. I hope that audiences will lose themselves in the listening and allow the sounds to take them to a place of spiritual fulfillment.
I grew up on the west coast of Canada, in North Vancouver, British Columbia. My parents were music lovers, and arranged for classical piano lessons for each of their three daughters. I began studying at the age of three, and can’t recall a time when I didn’t play. It wasn’t until high school that I became interested in playing jazz. There was a very dedicated and passionate band director who “recruited” me for the jazz band. He gave me many recordings of various artists to listen to and learn from…the first jazz music I heard included such greats as Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, the Count Basie Big Band, Ella Fitzgerald among others. I understood from the very beginning that the genre had a magnificent history, and that it would be a lifelong pursuit t
o become a great musician. As is true with all of my heroes, I will always be a student of the music, always trying to reach a higher level of truth.
What does Flushing Town Hall mean to you?
Flushing Town Hall is an important historical New York landmark and cultural institution. To appear on a stage where so many great artists of all genres have performed, is a great honor. I’m also very impressed with the Teen Access Program, allowing any teenager to attend any concert for free. What a beautiful way to cultivate new audiences, and enrich the community through the arts, all at the same time.
What is on the horizon for you?
I’m currently working on a commission to compose a jazz chamber piece for string quartet, flute and piano, which will be choreographed and performed in May, in Toronto, by Echo Chamber Music which is a performance series that brings musicians and contemporary dancers together in collaboration with each other.
In May, I’ll be traveling with legendary bassist Ron Carter to perform several concerts in Europe, which is always a great experience. I’m also very much enjoying working with ARTEMIS, a newly-formed all-female group with trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, clarinetist Anat Cohen, bassist Noriko Ueda, drummer Allison Miller and the great vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, when she’s able to join us. We have some very exciting projects coming up in 2019, so stay tuned!
You can get a taste of what’s in store in the video below!