Renee Rosnes and Artemis at St. Cecilia Music Center
Artemis are coming to Grand Rapids to perform at St. Cecilia Music Center on Thursday, February 16th at 7:30pm.
Pianist Renee Rosnes is the leader of Artemis and Scott Vander Werf spoke to her about the band and upcoming concert
Artemis is a jazz super group that released their debut album on the Blue Note label in September 2020. Led by pianist and composer Renee Rosnes, the group includes trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, bassist Noriko Ueda, and drummer Allison Miller. Clarinetist Anat Cohen and tenor saxophone player Melissa Aldana were on that first album. Now Alexa Tarantino on alto and flute and Nicole Glover on tenor are in the front line. The new lineup are preparing to release a new album later in the year. They’re now touring and will arrive in Grand Rapids to perform at St. Cecilia Music Center on Thursday, February 16th at 7:30. In Greek mythology, Artemis is the Goddess of the hunt… here’s the Allison Miller composition Goddess of the Hunt…
Artemis released their first album when the Covid pandemic was raging. I spoke with Renee Rosnes by phone and asked her about getting on the road now to perform the music…
Oh, it's wonderful. I mean, you know, we were stuck after the album was released. It we're in the middle of the pandemic. So it was a, you know, disappointing for us not to be able to to be together and to be able to play and perform and support the album. So now that we're back out again, it just feels fantastic and overdue.
The Artemis line-up has evolved since the initial run…
Well, the current lineup of the group is a little different now than the debut album. So we still have Indgrid Jensen on the trumpet, we have young, fantastic tenor saxophonist named Nicole Glover. She's from Portland, Oregon. Alexa Tarentino who's also American. And then of course, no Noriko Ueda from Japan, Ingrid and I are from Canada and Allison Miller is also American. But, you know, we all come from parts of the country and North America. And we bring a lot of our personal histories to the bandstand to the music. And it's quite a wide array of musical conception. And also we're different generations. There's probably about 3 generations in the band. So it's really it's really lovely because we were all bringing something very individual to the music and we bring out the best sides of each other. I think what we really have is a lot of chemistry and sympatico. Oh, and then there's the element of trust between us which makes court, you know, great music.
There are six original compositions and three cover songs on the first album. Two and half years later the music is growing.
Our repertoire has grown immensely since that time when we recorded our debut album and we have a new album coming out in May on Blue Note as well with this current lineup and all of us compose and arrange. And yes, will be presenting new material as well as some of the, you know, classics that are already in the books that we've been playing for a long time. We play the pieces by Wayne Shorter by Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan. And then also, yeah, of course, our original material too.
Renee Rosnes arranged the classic Lee Morgan composition “The Sidewinder” from a funky upbeat tune to a slower, more cunning version…
I Just heard it! Just messing around with it and got into a slinkier vibe and just thought that the it would it would hang well together, playing it with a different groove to it.
Artemis begins with an original from Rosnes called “Big Top” which has a rollicking, playful approach…
Well, I guess the idea began kind of the title is a reference to the circus, of course. And the idea that women were considered, once considered, I should say, novelties in jazz music. I just thought this might be kind of and a neat metaphor for the piece. It kind of showcases each one of us throughout different sections and just kind of like your attention might move that at a circus from one ring to another….that's really how that piece came about.
Renee Rosnes is also a very active playing and recording with a variety of other players, including master bassist Ron Carter, trombonist Michael Dease, fellow Canadian bassist Neil Swainson and saxophonist Jimmy Greene.
You know, I just play with the people that I want to play with and all the people you just mentioned are a very dear friends, certainly Neil Swenson. Then I'm you know, I'm coming from Canada course. He's Canadian and that was lovely to record in Vancouver and have the mix of musicians between the Canadian and of course Louis Nash joins us as well. And Michael, as well, I’ve known Michael for many years and really appreciate his talents, both as a as a writer and as a trombonist. And so whenever people are in touch with me and they would like to play and and I have a fondness for their talents. It's it's nice to be involved in in different things. I enjoy that very much like I don't ever want that to stop
Renee Rosnes, the pianist and leader of Artemis who are appearing in concert at St. Cecilia Music Center, Thursday, Feb. 16th at 7:30pm. Here’s the composition Nocturno…