Ms. Rosewoman was born in Oakland, CA where she started playing piano at age six and studied jazz traditions with the great pianist/organist Ed Kelly. In her late teens she began playing percussion and studying Cuban/Haitian folkloric idioms. By the time she moved to New York in 1978, she had already performed at major venues in the San Francisco Bay Area with her own ensembles and with Julian Priester, Julius Hemphill, Baikida Carroll and Oliver Lake and other fellow jazz innovators. In New York Rosewoman formed new ensembles and continued to present her music while collaborating with Rufus Reid, Reggie Workman, Freddie Waits, James Spaulding, Billy Hart, Carlos Ward and others as well as with Cuban master drummer/vocalist, Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios, and other musicians in the folkloric community.
In 1983 she received an NEA grant to form the pioneering 14-piece ensemble “New Yor- Uba, A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America” that debuted at The Public Theater that December and appeared at festivals throughout Europe in 1984. That year she made her recording debut as pianist and arranger for the Cuban songo group, Los Kimy. Her experience as a percussionist continues to shape many aspects of her music. In the Latin music genre, Rosewoman has performed with Puntilla’s “Nueva Generacion,” Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Daniel Ponce and Chocolate among others.
Rosewoman received the ASCAP/Meet the Composer Commission for Emerging Composers that year (awarded by Dizzy Gillespie, Marian McPartland and Lester Bowie) resulting in a new work per-formed by the 40-piece Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and a quintet of improvisers, including Rufus Reid, Greg Osby and Howard Johnson.