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Interviews

Michele Rosewoman: Wearing Her Passion With The In Side Out

By Published: February 5, 2007

AAJ: That would be "Eshu Laroye" and "The ER."

MR: Brad Jones is on the bass. He's a great acoustic and electric player, who opens everything up or locks it in, whatever the moment calls for. Brad is solid, collaborative, supportive and fun to play with. He enjoys the magic of the moment and the interplay.



Derrek Phillips is on the drums. Brad and Derrek have been partners for a long time and they have a good lock. Derrek is very solid, supportive and versatile.

AAJ: What is the significance of the album's title?

MR: Well, I thought of the title from a number of different angles, and it seems to be a fully reversible statement. It speaks of that which I have taken in [influences] which is outwardly manifested [through recording].

What I have internalized doesn't add up to a middle-of-the road thing, and is somewhat "out" conceptually. Also, the more subtle grooves and underlying structures of the more stretched out tracks are the inside aspect of those tracks, and so the outside stuff has some inside aspects. And the inside stuff like "The Fineness Of," which is kind of straight-up funk, has an "out" quality because of David's approach on guitar.



In terms of production, Mark Shim's use of electronic sounds and some of his drum programming add some "out" or unexpected elements to the hard groove tracks, like "The Fineness Of," "Life is for Learning" and "Guapo Remix." I have always loved pocket and groove [funk]. So with this CD, it's out [to the public] that I love the inside stuff too. I know that's taking a risk, because the jazz setting is not always accepting of that element, however, a lot of jazz musicians first played R&B and funk, including myself. It is a part of what we love and do. Since The In Side Out is an independent production, I took the liberty of doing all the things that I love and tried my best to do justice to each idiom.

AAJ: Let's begin with "Cuerpolarity." It sounds like a taste of things to come.

MR: There is a certain suspense to that excerpt. By opening with this excerpt, the intention was to set up a feeling of anticipation and adventure. An adventure in the sense that each track to come is so different, as well as the unpredictable course that each track takes within itself.

AAJ: Yes, the repertoire is very diverse. What prompted you write, "Don't get mad at us, we love the funk ?

MR: I have encountered resistance in the past. I know that this is such a different idiom to put on the same recording, but where am I supposed to do it? Another reason that I wanted to do it is that Mark Shim has been working with me for six years and he knows my music inside out. He has some skills and creative abilities that no one is aware of. I liked the idea of offering him a context to further apply and develop his talents. I enjoyed collaborating with him. It's my music and sometimes I feel like it's always about me, me, me! So this gave Mark an opportunity to produce. Through his efforts I was able to strongly present another side of the music that I have always been into. Oops, guess it was about me after all! [laughter].

AAJ: In recordings such as Spirit (Blue Note, 1996) you included material by groups such as Earth, Wind & Fire. Who are some of the others that you admire?

MR: Vocal groups—I love the voice: Marvin [Gaye], of course. Curtis Mayfield, The Temptations, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Al Green, Sam Cook, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder. There are so many. It's natural for me to want to do more of the music I love. As for the R&B of today, I like Prince, D'Angelo, Maxwell and Floetry. I appreciate it when the musical setting is unique and it doesn't fall into a mold,

AAJ: Please define the term, "angular funk.

MR: For example, "Warm —referring to the parts of it that are not in 4/4. And the horn lines—which are poppin' and groovin'—are lopsided because they are super-syncopated and in seven.

AAJ: "Link sounds like a conversation between the old and new Quintessence. In fact, the concept of something old vs. something is the common thread. Your version of Marvin Gaye's "Life is for Learning is a good example of that.

MR: There are certain cuts that clearly reflect the fact that this is an evolution and extension of the ensemble—the next chapter. Link is one of them.

AAJ: Which tracks are you referring to?

MR: I keep thinking about an earlier period of Quintessence, when I wrote what I was hearing without worrying about how hard it was going to be to get it played. I did that with the recording, Contrast High (Enja, 1988 ). There is some complicated and extremely challenging material on that recording that I don't pull out too readily because I have to relearn it myself!



The tracks on The In Side Out that are an evolution of the previous Quintessence sound would be "Link, "Advance Dance, "Guapo and "The ER. "Link has a rhythmic impetus that is the basis for our interplay. We are exploring 6/4, which is a really mysterious meter because it's like a slow 6/8, and you can subdivide it many ways. Something about if feels really natural and I just sort of fell on it. I rarely come to stuff in a calculated way, there's a groove in there that feels good.



In the beginning it was mysterious and we all had to get to it and learn how to play on it, but then it got so comfortable that it sounds like we are playing completely free. But there is an underlying rhythmic and harmonic structure. That's a concept I like for Quintessence and that's why I need players that can flex. "Advance Dance is a based on a three-and-a-half meter, but I found a place where this meter could dance. I wrote this piece initially as a means of challenging myself to get to some odd-meter stuff that comes easy to a lot of younger musicians.



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