"With delicate beauty and intensity, Michele's music bends the borders of cultures, not just notes. …She has picked up a variety of torches and created a bonfire."


Michele Rosewoman and Quintessence debuted in 1986 at the Cooper Union Great Hall, NYC. Their seminal recording on Enja Records–Quintesence– was hailed by critics and polls as one of the best jazz releases of the year and later, as one of the best jazz recordings of the decade.

With 5 highly acclaimed recordings to date, Quintessence has been a major vehicle vehicle for showcasing the pianist / composer’s musical and conceptual evolution. She has consistently assembled dynamic bands and nurtured talent, enabling the ensemble to evolve while remaining true to its distinctive sound.

A fearless bandleader and mentor, she has brought together some of the most creative voices in contemporary jazz. Past and current ensemble members include Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), Steve Coleman (alto saxophone), Kenny Davis (bass), Gene Jackson (drums), Brad Jones (bass), Greg Osby (alto/soprano saxophones), Lonnie Plaxico (bass), David Sanchez (tenor saxophone), Tyshawn Sorey (drums), Gary Thomas (tenor and flute), Steve Wilson and Miguel Zenon (alto/soprano saxophones), among others.

“Brilliant writing and fluid ensemble playing abound.”

Writer and jazz critic Howard Mandel states

” Michele Rosewoman is a distinctively original and engaging pianist/composer, whose ensemble Quintessence has introduced her music and the contributions of many later-established star instrumentalists, over the course of almost 25 years..,provocative multi-dimensional performances that (include the extending) of ancient Yoruba rhythms and chants to a realm that is utterly modern and open-ended.  Rosewoman has kept the faith with the jazz imperative to come up with fresh ideas while maintaining connection with traditions and remaining always interactive. Quintessence swings polyrhythmically and swirls melodically–Rosewoman at the keyboard always central to its success.”

Rosewoman says   “I am drawn to conversational and energy-inspired musical explorations where the sophisticated and the spiritual intersect and where swing, groove and abstract strike a balance. From there, the music seems to have a surprising way of connecting authentically with the listener.”

Ms. Rosewoman’s acclaimed Quintessence projects have enjoyed the support of coveted awards and grants including Chamber Music America 2006 Encore Grant, CMA 2008 & 2002 New Works: Creation and Presentation Grant; a CMA Community Projects grant in partnership with the Newark Office of Visual and Performing Arts; and a CMA-sponsored Residency Partnership in conjunction with A.R.T.S. Inc.  Quintessence presentations at major jazz destinations include the Chicago, Ravinia, Toronto Vancouver, Leverkuzen, KOOL, Earshot and Vision NYC jazz festivals; Merkin and Cooper Union concert halls; New York University, University of Massachussettes/Amherst, Augusta University and the University of Pennsylvania; The Blue Note, Birdland The Jazz Standard and Sweet Basil, NY, Yoshi’s, Oakland CA, Jazz Bakery, Los Angeles and The Outpost, Albuquerque NM; among many others.

"As Michele Rosewoman and her Quintessence project evolve, the music continually reflects all the influences that have shaped this most intriguing composer and pianist. These players manage to get down and take it out at  the same time. Rosewoman is a propulsive bandleader and guides the listeners and the players on a most seductive journey… the players show a true love for the groove and the music, as Rosewoman has done throughout her career and now on this terrific recording."