Renee Rosnes and Lizz Wright
from the 2003 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival

For the past eight years, the Kennedy Center has dedicated one weekend in early May as a celebration of the best and brightest female jazz artists. It's known as the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. This year, JazzSet attended the festival and sat in on two exciting musicians - veteran pianist Renee Rosnes, and newcomer vocalist, Lizz Wright.

Renee Rosnes

Renee Rosnes is a thoughtful and sophisticated pianist; her compositions are imaginative. A native of Vancouver, she came to New York in the mid-1980s and received great acclaim. She's performed with some of the jazz greats, including Wayne Shorter, J.J. Johnson, and Joe Henderson.

At the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, Renee performed a new composition entitled "Ice Light." She was inspired to write this piece for a new territory in Canada called Nunavut.

Lizz Wright

When Lizz Wright performed at Billie Holiday tribute concert in Chicago in 2002, nobody knew her name. Since then, however, Lizz Wright has established herself as a bright new face on the jazz scene. She sang pieces from her new album, Salt, at the Kennedy Center.

Celebrate these two ladies, and all women in jazz, this week on JazzSet!


Renee Rosnes
"Spring Is Here"
"Lucky to Be Me"
"Ice Light"

Lizz Wright
"Nature Boy"
"Afro Blue"
"Blue Rose"


  • Renee Rosnes' Official Web Site

  • Lizz Wright's Official Web Site
  • The Kennedy Center Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival

    Greg Hartman of Big Mo recorded the music, with Chris Weal and Tom McCarthy. Thanks to Derek Gordon and Kevin Struthers of Kennedy Center Jazz. Katie Simon wrote and produced this show with Becca Pulliam. Duke Markos is the technical Director. Ginger Bruner is the recording engineer at KNPR, Las Vegas. Mark Schramm is JazzSet's writer/producer. Our executive producer is Thurston Briscoe, III of WBGO-FM in Newark.