Celebrating 35 years of evolution, Latin Grammy® recipient Michele Rosewoman releases the anticipated next chapter from the groundbreaking ensemble New Yor-Uba on November 1st on her own Advance Disques recording label.
Produced by Michele Rosewoman and Liberty Ellman, and co-produced by: Habana/Harlem® Neyda Martínez and Onel Mulet, the album melds her longstanding assemblage of master musicians. From both worlds of spiritually based Cuban folkloric music and contemporary jazz, featuring Oru de Oro, an extended work commissioned by Chamber Music America. Original cover art by Rosewoman’s late mother, the artist Estera.
Alejandro Berti – trumpet, flugel horn (11.2); Alex Norris – trumpet, flugel horn (11.8); Román Filiú – alto & soprano saxophones, flute; Stacy Dillard – tenor saxophone; Chris Washburne – trombone, bass trombone, tuba; Andrew Gutauskas – baritone saxophone; Michele Rosewoman – piano, vocals; Yunior Terry – bass (11.2); Gregg August – bass (11.8); Robby Ameen – drums; Román Diaz – batá, congas, vocals; Mauricio Herrera – batá, congas, vocals; Rafael Monteagudo – batá, congas; Abraham Rodriguez – lead vocals.
The anticipated next chapter of Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba marks its debut on November 1, 2019 with the release of “HALLOWED,” on the artists’ own label, Advance Dance Disques. CD release events, will kick off with a residency at New York City’s ZINC, 82 West 3rd Street, 212.477.9462, on November 2 & 8, 2019 at 7:30pm & 9:30pm, presented in association with Habana/Harlem® Neyda Martínez & Onel Mulet, and a performance at The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz on December 21.
Following up on their 2013 double disc release, which celebrated 30 years and garnered NPR’S #1 Latin Jazz Recording of the Year Award, Rosewoman continues her artistic exploration along with her cast of master musicians and folklorists. With an evolution in personnel, New Yor-Uba returned to the studio to record and present its next groundbreaking offering, “HALLOWED”. Recorded in 2017-2018 at Systems Two Studios, the return of the ensemble represents the next body of work in its 35-year musical evolution. Her current and long-standing ensemble members are some of the brightest and most sought out voices from both the spiritually based Cuban folkloric tradition and contemporary jazz worlds. To conceive a thoroughly uncompromised synthesis of both, Ms. Rosewoman has spent a lifetime immersed in the essence of these two profound musical traditions.
In recent years, Rosewoman delved more deeply into a distinct liturgical set of rhythms, preparing her on multiple levels to manifest a new and challenging composition. “Oru de Oro”, an extended work commissioned by Chamber Music America, is considered adventurous and pioneering and has been well-received by audiences including the D.C. Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club and the 2018 Chamber Music America Conference.
Oru de Oro roughly translates as ‘room of gold’. “It is an instrumental body of music that I created around a venerated sequence of rhythms with often baffling transitions, known as the Oru Seco or Oru del Igbodu, which is played on traditional Batá drums in sacred chambers,” Rosewoman explains. “Compositionally, Oru de Oro is anchored in the rhythmic patterns that are associated with various Orishas (Yoruba deities), endowing them with unique musical content while fully integrating featured soloists and master drummers.” Oru de Oro is presented on “HALLOWED” as multiple tracks (1-10) that can be seamlessly heard as one unified rhythmic suite.
“I’m very rhythmically motivated, both as a composer and pianist” says Rosewoman. “The Batá tradition explores the cracks of time—they reveal endless nuances that one never knew existed. I think it’s in my nature to explore time in this very way – that’s one reason why I am so drawn to and intrigued by it. This latest work is built on the foundation of the form, contours and mastery of folklorist and percussionist Román Díaz (a treasured member of New Yor-Uba since 2008)—and the way he plays the traditional Oru Seco. It is a strict tradition, but there are many points where those with the knowledge can take liberties. Each master drummer interprets it somewhat differently and definitely has his own feel. Sometimes the order in which the Orishas are addressed, and thus the order of rhythmic patterns, are changed. Our improvisations and solo sections are obviously not a part of the traditional Oru Seco. To fit those in involved various stage of adjustments to make room for them and to find the sections that could accommodate them naturally, while staying out of the way of some of the most nuanced moments of the Batá. It’s almost like we’re decorating what the drummers do—which is not to say there isn’t already a lot of decoration. But the ensemble is endowing all of these rhythmically-defined Orishas with musical content where traditionally there isn’t any. In fact, from what I’m told, no one has previously written a musical piece (in contemporary form or otherwise) built on the Oru Seco in its entirety.”
The final two tracks are also suites with surprises built in. The Wind Is the First To Know, (a tribute to Oyá) features Román Díaz’s and Nina Rodriguez’s heart-stirring vocals over Fender Rhodes, prefacing a purely folkloric presentation that later intersects with the rest of the ensemble. The final track, Alabanza, (Praise) is full of instrumental textures and groove, rhythm and mood — a piece that earned Ms. Rosewoman a 2016 Latin Jazz Grammy® for her work as both pianist and composer on the track which made its debut on the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) recording, “Cuba, The Conversation Continues”.
The cover art on the double CD is a detail from an original oil painting entitled Cathedral Splendor by her late mother, Estera. Rosewoman explains, “Any 2-inch section of any of her paintings is a painting within itself. There are energies and beings vibrating throughout her body of work. The more you look, the more you see – nothing accidental – and her irrepressible manifestations gave life to endless layers, worlds and beings. I feel close to her way of seeing and find many similarities in my way of hearing. This chosen image embodies the music on the disc in many ways. Her vision has always stirred mine and her art on this cover serves as a portal into what I hope will be a hallowed and rich musical experience for those who enter.” Estera’s art legacy includes oil painting, watercolors and printmaking with forays into batik and experimentation in many mediums. Her life-long interest in culture is evidenced in her sizable body of work.
*Source: Kim Smith PR