Throughout its eight-decade history, Blue Note Records has been celebrated as a home for the leading voices in jazz. The label continues that tradition with the release of the self-titled debut from ARTEMIS, the supergroup comprising seven of the most acclaimed musicians in modern jazz. Featuring pianist and musical director Renee Rosnes, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, clarinetist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, bassist Noriko Ueda, drummer Allison Miller, and featured vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, ARTEMIS conjures a powerful collective voice from this septet of visionary bandleaders and composers.
The band initially assembled at Rosnes’ behest for a European festival tour three years ago. “I chose musicians whom I respected and wanted to make music with,” the pianist says, “and after performing together, I realized that we had a brilliant chemistry. We decided to explore the possibilities of what might develop over time. That’s how ARTEMIS was born.”
The group is distinctive not only for bringing together seven singular artists, each renowned for their own remarkable solo career; but for its multi-generational and globe-spanning line-up, with members hailing from the US, Canada, France, Chile, Israel, and Japan.
“Each member of ARTEMIS is a unique character which is what a band needs – versatility,” says Cohen. “That’s what makes life interesting and that’s what makes music fascinating – the personalities.”
“The Greek goddess Artemis is an explorer, a torch bringer, a protector of young children, and a goddess of the hunt,” explains Jensen, who conceived of the band’s name. “I feel that her character is indicative of the energies and wide array of musical tapestries that ARTEMIS the band brings to the stage as we take our music to the moon, the stars, and beyond.”
Despite its relatively brief existence, ARTEMIS has already been featured in Vanity Fair and on NPR’s Jazz Night in America, and has performed on some of the country’s most iconic stages, from Carnegie Hall and the Tisch Center for the Arts at 92Y to the Newport Jazz Festival.
“On a sunny August afternoon in 2018, I was among the thousands of fans attending the Newport Jazz Festival who had their minds blown by ARTEMIS,” says Blue Note President Don Was. “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.”