Interview: Jazz Band ARTEMIS Debuts at Jazz At Lincoln Center This Fri & Sat

We spoke with music director & pianist Renee Rosnes ahead of the band's debut on May 31-June 1

By: May. 29, 2024
Interview: Jazz Band ARTEMIS Debuts at Jazz At Lincoln Center This Fri & Sat
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Acclaimed jazz band ARTEMIS will be making their Jazz at Lincoln Center debut this week. The band, which was recently awarded the 2024 Mid-Size Ensemble of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, and also named 2023 Jazz Group of the Year by the 88th Annual DownBeat Reader’s Poll, will play four sets at the Appel Room on Friday May 31 and Saturday June 1, 2024. (Sets will be at 7 and 9:30 pm on both nights; tickets are available on JALC’s website).

The band is led by music director and pianist Renee Rosnes, with Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, Alexa Tarantino on alto saxophone and flute, Nicole Glover on tenor saxophone, Noriko Ueda on bass, and Allison Miller on drums. The band is also all-female, something worth celebrating in the heavily male-dominated jazz world.

Don Was, the President of Blue Note Records, discovered them in 2018. He said, “I was among the thousands of fans attending the Newport Jazz Festival who had their minds blown by ARTEMIS. Although each individual member of this supergroup is a bona fide jazz titan, these incredible musicians dwell in the rarefied air of bands whose whole is greater than the sum of its already sublime parts. Their musical conversation is sophisticated, soulful and powerful, and their groove runs deep.”

I spoke to Renee Rosnes about the upcoming shows this week, and the history behind Artemis. Read our conversation below.

What’s the history behind ARTEMIS?

In 2016, a European promoter asked if I would be interested in helping him assemble and lead a band to perform two concerts––at the Paris Philharmonie and the Luxembourg Philharmonie––in celebration of International Women’s Day. I chose musicians that I admired and respected, most of whom I already had a relationship with. It included four of the members of what is now ARTEMIS. Those initial concerts were very successful and so there was a desire to do more together. During the summer of 2017 the band, which now included drummer Allison Miller and bassist Noriko Ueda, made a 14-city tour of Europe. We quickly realized that we had something quite special: a natural, organic chemistry.  Our audiences seemed noticed it too. It was at the conclusion of the tour that we decided to make it official and brand the band with a name: ARTEMIS.

How would you describe the musical concept of ARTEMIS?

Artemis masterfully bridges the rich history of jazz with a bold, modern sound. Our most recent recording, “In Real Time (Blue Note),” showcases compositions crafted specifically for and by the members of the band. We also perform original arrangements that offer new perspectives of works by such legends as Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Billy Strayhorn, among others. Our collective aim is to create music that resonates with depth, playfulness, and intimacy…music that makes people feel something.

The band is really looking forward to our debut performance in the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. It’s a gorgeous venue overlooking Columbus Circle and is really conducive to consummate music-making.

What’s coming up next for ARTEMIS?

This summer, the band is gearing up for a whirlwind tour, performing at festivals in Rochester and Cleveland, then heading overseas to festivals in Spain, Switzerland and France before returning stateside in early August to perform in Westport, CT, and finishing up at the Newport Jazz Festival. Later in August, we’ll channel this momentum into the studio where we will record our third album for Blue Note Records.

Tickets to the May 31 and June 1 shows are available on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s website.

Learn more about ARTEMIS on their website.


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