MusicLab Workshop Series with Michele Rosewoman: Creative Expression Through Afro-Cuban Rhythms & Improvisation

November 12, 2020 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
$15 General; $10 Community Music Center students & faculty / seniors

MusicLab Workshop Series: Latin Jazz

This MusicLab workshop series brings you master Latin Jazz artists to share their experience in an interactive setting. You can learn, listen, practice, play and discuss online in real time in these online workshops hosted by Community Music Center in partnership with the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble and MisterLatinJazz.

Dive in to Latin jazz and check out each of our exciting upcoming MusicLab workshops with incredible guest artists:


Michele Rosewoman: Creative Expression Through Afro-Cuban Rhythms & Improvisation

When: Thursday, November 12, 5:30–7:00pm
Tickets: $15 General, $10 Community Music Center students & faculty / seniors
Purchase tickets here:
A note on ticket prices: If cost is a barrier to your participation in this workshop, contact Adriana Marrero,


Join Latin Jazz Grammy-winning pianist, composer, and ensemble leader Michele Rosewoman for a workshop on developing creative expression through rhythm, original composition, and improvisation. Rosewoman is known for her uncompromised synthesis of contemporary jazz and Afro-Cuban folkloric music, which has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, Chamber Music America, and more. Her recordings have topped charts and garnered critical acclaim, and she has performed with Latin and jazz greats such as Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Daniel Ponce, Jimmy Heath, Reggie Workman, Billy Hart, Freddie Waits, and many others in all over the world.

This workshop will have two parts: first Michele will work with participants to develop their own creative expression through rhythm, original composition, and improvisation. She will show how simple melodies and lines, created by participants, can be developed and shifted rhythmically to create more interest and possibility. In the second part of the workshop, Michele will talk about and demonstrate how she makes Afro-Cuban rhythms a foundation for arrangements and compositions including how one can translate them into parts for different instruments in an ensemble.

Audience: This clinic is aimed at musicians who have some proficiency on their instrument but will also be of interest to audience members interested in Jazz and Latin music who would like to learn more about how musicians improvise and develop composition and arrangements.

This course will be conducted live via video conferencing. A computer or other device with a webcam and microphone and a reliable internet connection is required. Log-in information will be sent to students before the workshop.

Please bring blank staff paper and pen or pencil to this workshop. Blank staff paper can be downloaded or printed online here. Any additional scores or materials will be shared with participants ahead of time.



For four decades, pianist/composer/educator Michele Rosewoman has expanded the horizons of jazz while remaining firmly rooted in tradition. A fearless bandleader and mentor, many have cited that working with Rosewoman made an indelible mark on their artistic development as musicians, composers and bandleaders.

To date, Ms. Rosewoman has released 9 recordings as a leader on Blue Note, Enja, SoulNote, Toshiba-EMI and her own label, Advance Dance Disques. Her long-standing Quintessence ensemble (with 5 highly acclaimed releases to date) has consistently brought together the most inventive voices in jazz (Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, Miguel Zenon, Steve Lehman, Steve Wilson, Mark Shim; Robin Eubanks, Lonnie Plaxico, Brad Jones, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tyshawn Sorey, Liberty Ellman). Her New Yor-Uba ensemble, which debuted at NYC’s Public Theatre in 1983, presents an uncompromised synthesis of contemporary jazz and traditional Cuban folkloric music, uniting master musicians from both worlds.

Having celebrated 30 years with a 2013 double disc release that garnered the #1 NPR Latin Jazz Recording of the year award, New Yor-Uba now celebrates 35 years of evolution with their latest recording, “Hallowed”– a ground-breaking project released November 1, 2019-to stellar reviews in major publications including JazzTimes, JazzIz, Downbeat and #3 NPR Latin Jazz Recording of the Year.

Born in Oakland CA, Michele Rosewoman began playing piano at age 6 and was deeply influenced by the great jazz pianist/organist Ed Kelly. Early studies in percussion and Cuban folklore profoundly impacted her approach as a pianist and composer.

Rosewoman moved to New York in 1978 and has performed with many renowned New York-based jazz and Latin artists including Julian Priester, Jimmy Heath, Billy Harper, Julius Hemphill, Baikida Carroll, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid, Reggie Workman, Freddie Waits, Gary Bartz, James Spaulding, Billy Hart, Carlos Ward, Billy Bang, Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Chocolate, Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios, Roman Diaz, Daniel Ponce, Pedrito Martinez, Nicky Marrero, Andy Gonzales and many others.

Her innovative projects have received critical acclaim and prestigious grants. Highlights include major support from the National Endowment for the Arts (1983) giving birth to her New Yor-Uba ensemble, and an ASCAP/Meet the Composer Commission for Emerging Composers (1984) awarded by Dizzy Gillespie, Marian McPartland and Lester Bowie. This award culminated in a new work premiered by the 40-piece Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra plus quintet of improvisers at the Cooper Union Great Hall, NYC and the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, NY. Over the years, Rosewoman received Chamber Music America New Works Creation and Presentation Commissions (2015, 2008, 2006, 2003). In 2016, Rosewoman became a Latin Jazz Grammy Winner as pianist and composer for her creative contribution to Arturo O’Farrill’s ALJO release, “Cuba, the Conversation Continues.”

Ms. Rosewoman has presented her various ensembles at jazz festivals, concert halls, clubs and universities throughout the world. Currently, she is a board member at Chamber Music America and remains an active and dedicated educator, conducting intensive workshops and residencies in a variety of settings. She teaches piano and composition privately and has held past and current positions at NYU and the New School, and serves on faculty of The Jazz House Kids in Montclair, NJ, teaching theory, piano, composition and ensemble.


Special thanks to our partners: Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble and MisterLatinJazz