Concert promoters often use phrases like “the premier pianist of her generation” to fill seats. Pure exaggeration. However, in this case, the phrase might just be true.

Renee Rosnes will showcase her instrumental, compositional, and improvisational skills at Flushing Town Hall on Friday, April 26, at 8 p.m. She’ll jam with her quartet – Peter Washington (bass), Steve Nelson (vibraphone) and Lewis Nash (drums) – which does jazz classics and original material expressing who they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re going.

With her piano keys, Rosnes “tosses cold splashes of harmony, sketches out little countermelodies at a downward angle, [and] opens up pockets of silence,” according to an article in The New York Times.

The Saskatchewan native’s career took off after she moved to New York City, thanks to a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in 1985. Since then, she has produced concerts at Lincoln Center and 92Y and released 17 albums while recording and/or touring with such jazz legends as tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Buster Williams, and trombonist J.J. Johnson.

For six years in the 2000s, Rosnes toured with the SFJAZZ Collective, an eight-piece ensemble dedicated to creating fresh arrangements which she helped found. Currently, she finds time to perform with ARTEMIS, an all-female, international band featuring vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, clarinetist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, bassist Noriko Ueda, and drummer Allison Miller. (They hail from Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan and the United States.)

On the composing side, her “Written in the Rocks,” album features a seven-part exploration of Earth’s evolution entitled “Galapagos Suite.” The Chicago Tribune named it one of 10 “Best Jazz Albums of the Year,” while The Nation magazine called it one of the “Best Albums” in all genres. And showing that you can go home again, “Written in the Rocks” won a Juno, an annual Canadian music award similar to a Grammy, in 2017. (Rosnes has actually received five Junos over 30 years in the business.)

Tickets are $25, but students pay $20. Teenagers can attend for free as part of an ongoing promotion.

“This will truly be a special evening,” predicted Flushing Town Hall Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek. “Since its founding, [FTH] has been recognized as the foremost presenter of jazz in Queens, a borough that was home to many of the 20th century’s greatest jazz artists, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gilespie, Billie Holiday, and many more…We are excited to continue this tradition by welcoming the talented jazz pianist Renee Rosnes and her ensemble to our stage.”

Flushing Town Hall is located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. It’s a few blocks from the 7 train’s Main Street terminal and the LIRR’s Flushing station. There is parking on the street.

Images: Jimmy Katz (top); John Abbot (bottom)


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