Lauded Canadian pianist and composer Renee Rosnes is a technically adept jazz improviser with a sound that is the epitome of post-bop sophistication. As a young pianist in Vancouver, British Columbia, Rosnes took her musical cues and inspiration from the likes of Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner, and Horace Silver. After moving from Vancouver to New York City in the 1980s, she made her initial mark playing with such luminaries as Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and J.J. Johnson, and as a member of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. From there, she embarked on a fruitful solo career, releasing several Juno Award-winning albums on the Blue Note label, including 1990's For the Moment, and 2002's Life on Earth. She also earned a Grammy nod for her duo appearance alongside husband and fellow pianist Bill Charlap on Tony Bennett's 2015 effort Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. Along with her solo work, Rosnes works regularly with bassist Ron Carter's quartet, is a founding member of the San Francisco Jazz Collective, and works as musical director for the all-star ARTEMIS ensemble.
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1962, Rosnes began playing classical piano at age three, and was bitten by the jazz bug in her teens after a high school music teacher recruited her for the jazz band. She attended the University of Toronto for two years to study classical performance, but left to go back home to Vancouver and begin playing jazz full-time, because she knew where her heart lay and what she wanted to do professionally. The early-'80s jazz club scene in Vancouver was a vibrant, healthy one, and she had the opportunity to sit in with and learn from many American and Canadian jazz masters, among them Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Toshiko Akiyoshi. At an after-hours jazz club, she sat in with renowned artists including Freddie Hubbard, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, and Woody Shaw.
She began her long association with Blue Note Records in 1990, with nine critically praised Blue Note albums garnering four Juno Awards and several Canadian National Jazz Awards. Her Blue Note releases include her self-titled debut in 1990 followed by For the Moment (1990), Without Words (1992), Ancestors (1996), As We Are Now (1997), Art & Soul (1999), With a Little Help from My Friends (2001), Life on Earth (2002), and Renee Rosnes with the Danish Radio Big Band (2003). To be sure, one of Rosnes' finest efforts in the '90s was her Life on Earth album, which fused the indigenous musics of India, Senegal, Indonesia, and Brazil with her own jazz piano stylings.