Biographies

 

Rose and Night 4 smallerRose & the Nightingale is four powerful New York based multi-instrumentalists and improvisers: Jody Redhage (voice, cello, compositions), Leala Cyr (voice, trumpet), Sara Caswell (violin, mandolin), & Laila Biali (voice, piano). The band’s warm sound of three part vocal harmonies, intricate arrangements, and burning solos has proven to cut through to a deeper level of connection with audiences.  The band’s current project, Spirit of the Garden, inspired by Botanic Gardens, blurs the boundaries of jazz, folk, world, and chamber music.  The performance integrates poetry about gardens and nature as the lyrics to the songs, as inspiration for improvised interludes, and as thematic threads through the concert.  Rose & the Nightingale live performances have proven to uplift audiences with the power of the quartet’s fiery rhythmic energy, sublime harmonies, lyrical beauty, and staggering talent.  Onstage, the band is a great demonstration of female strength.

Jody, Leala, and Sara met while touring to five continents over 14 months with Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society.  Laila had recently settled in New York after extensive touring with Sting, Chris Botti, Paula Cole, and Suzanne Vega.  Leala is currently in Esperanza’s Radio Music Society band.  Jody has played with a host of people from Jay-Z and Beyonce to Neil Diamond, and Sara often tours with Gene Bertoncini and solos with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.  The four band members are having an exciting time developing a new and fresh sound as Rose & the Nightingale.

Members of Rose & the Nightingale have performed internationally on five continents, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Barbican in London, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Chicago Symphony Hall, and at the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals including the North Sea (Holland), Montreal (Canada), Montreux (Switzerland), Newport (Rhode Island), San Francisco, and Cape Town (South Africa) Jazz Festivals, and Tokyo’s Blue Note.  In 2012, Rose & the Nightingale performed the first ever concert at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, the first concert in 12 years at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, at Descanso Gardens in Los Angeles, and at San Diego’s Water Conservation Garden.  2013 season highlights included the official release of Rose & the Nightingale’s debut album Spirit of the Garden on Sunnyside Records May 7, concerts at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., at Mount Auburn in Cambridge, MA, and a performance overlooking the Puget Sound for the 25th anniversary of Bloedel Reserve on gorgeous Bainbridge Island, WA.  As winners of a Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Grant, in May 2014 Rose & the Nightingale partnered with Green Bay Botanical Garden, the Wisconsin International School, and the University of WI Green Bay for an exciting week of concerts, master classes, and Rose & the Nightingale’s unique Poetry Takes Flight Through Song Workshop, culminating in a final concert in which 100 K-8 students performed new songs collaboratively composed alongside Rose & the Nightingale at Green Bay Botanical Garden.

Rose & the Nightingale’s Poetry Takes Flight Through Song Workshop is an exciting interdisciplinary and collaborative educational opportunity for students ages 4 through college. Participants write nature haikus inspired by their local botanical gardens, and work with Rose & the Nightingale to transform their original poems into the lyrics of new songs, collaboratively composed.  Participants learn the basic techniques of composition and songwriting, and participate in a final concert as percussionists, spoken-word artists, singers, or instrumentalists, performing alongside Rose & the Nightingale.

INDIVIDUAL BIOGRAPHIES:

Rose and Night 8 Jody Redhage, cellist, composer & vocalist, is a passionate advocate of creative new music and chamber music, and has been called “a new music dynamo…Redhage is cultivating a growing repertoire of indie art song that breaches genre boundaries and makes for stirring listening” (MusicWorks magazine).  Praised for her “exceptional technical command,” (Steve Smith, Night After Night), Redhage has premiered over 100 works, including almost 30 that she has commissioned for her voice, cello, and electronics from some of today’s most talented composers.  An active composer herself, she writes for Rose & the Nightingale, and pursues solo projects in which she sets the poems of living American poets as the lyrics.   ”Adventurous cello songstress Jody Redhage” (Time Out NY) is a member of Best New Artist Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society band, performing 120 concerts across five continents since 2010 at venues including the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals, London’s Barbican, Paris’s Olympia Theater, and a week at the Village Vanguard in December 2013.  As a busy freelance cellist, Redhage has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Merkin Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Whitney Museum of Art, and Mass MoCA, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits.  Notable collaborations include performances across a broad spectrum of genres with members of the Tokyo String Quartet, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Neil Diamond, Sufjan Stevens, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Meatloaf, the Roots, Clay Aiken, Enya, Duncan Sheik, Chromeo, Guster, Sara Bareilles, and Moira Smiley’s VOCO.  Jody has appeared on TV playing on The View, the CBS Early Show, The Today Show, The Rockefeller Christmas Spectacular, Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The David Letterman Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and BET’s Mo’Nique Show.  Her own compositions, as well as works from her CDs, are aired often on NPR stations, including WFMU and WNYC’s Evening Music, New Sounds, and Spinning on Air.  She has performed on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series and for Holland and France’s NPR stations.  Jody works often as a recording session player, and has recorded for Sesame Street, and on many CDs, commercials, and films.  Her recent solo album of music for her voice, cello & electronics, “Of Minutiae and Memory,” (New Amsterdam Records) was rated #8 of 2011 by Textura Magazine, and was album of the week on NYC’s classical station WQXR’s Q2.  Jody has won grants from the Hertz Foundation, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and the NY State Council for the Arts.

Rose and Night 10Violinist Sara Caswell  is fast becoming one of today’s foremost jazz violinists through her technical facility and gift for lyricism. Recognized as a “Rising Star” in both the 2013 and 2014 DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll and as one of the top jazz violinists in both the 2011 and 2012 JazzTimes Readers’ Poll, Sara leads two groups (the Sara Caswell Quartet and the Caswell Sisters Quintet), has released two highly-acclaimed CDs (First Song and But Beautiful), and in 2013 released a new CD with her sister, jazz vocalist Rachel Caswell, entitled Alive in the Singing Air featuring jazz pianist Fred Hersch.  Additionally, Sara regularly performs with Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Roseanna Vitro, mandolinist Joe Brent’s 9 Horses, clarinetist David Krakauer’s The Big Picture, and the genre-defying quartet Rose & the Nightingale. During 2010-11, she toured five continents with 3-time Grammy-winning bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding in support of Spalding’s CD Chamber Music Society. Sara has also toured with Grammy-winning violinist Mark O’Connor‘s American String Celebration and violinist Darol Anger’s Four Generations of Jazz Violin, soloed numerous times in Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops Orchestra, and performed or recorded with such artists as Regina Carter, Gene Bertoncini, Alan Ferber, Oscar Penas, Ike Sturm, Fabian Almazan, Nadje Noordhuis, Lynne Arriale, Charlie Byrd, and Skitch Henderson.  Sara’s formidable teaching experience includes the Manhattan School of Music College and Precollege Divisions, the Mark O’Connor String Camps, the Jamey Aebersold  Summer Jazz Workshops, the Indiana University String Academy, and a private studio.  She has also given numerous jazz string improvisation workshops and masterclasses and is involved with JEN (Jazz Education Network), MENC (National Association of Music Education), and ASTA (American String Teachers Association).  Raised in a musical family, Sara began playing violin at age 5, studied with two legendary giants (Josef Gingold ~ classical, David Baker ~ jazz), made her orchestral debut at 15, earned degrees from Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music, and amassed over 100 awards in the jazz and classical competition worlds. Jazz educator, author, and critic Dr. Herb Wong says: “A gifted starbright talent of the first magnitude, Sara is a top tier member of the young generation of major voices.”

laila smallerLaila Biali, piano & voice.  It is the ultimate task given to the musician, whether as singer or instrumentalist, to create a unique signature or fingerprint that is instantly recognizable as their own. What is surprising and delightful in Laila Biali is that both as vocalist and pianist she accomplishes this with equal aplomb. She is an exciting and unique talent, and I admire her greatly. - Sting

Award-winning Canadian Jazz pianist, vocalist and songwriter Laila Biali has toured with Chris Botti, Paula Cole and Suzanne Vega, and recorded with and supported Sting. She takes the best of pop, rock, classical, world and soul, informs it with her expertise in Jazz, and weaves it into her musical arrangements. Laila has presented her music at prestigious venues spanning five continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Peru’s El Festival Internacional de Lima, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Her latest studio recording, Tracing Light, received a JUNO nomination for “2011 Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year” and her most recent release, Live in Concert, was named one of the “Best Albums of 2013” by Downbeat Magazine.  Upcoming projects include two new albums slated for release in 2014: a pop-oriented co-production with her husband, Ben Wittman, and a new jazz project debuting original material co-written with various award-winning songwriters.  Laila is also a member of the all-female New York based neo-Classical crossover quartet, Rose & the Nightingale, whose members tour with Grammy award-winner Esperanza Spalding. Her accolades include “SOCAN Composer of the Year” and “Keyboardist of the Year” at Canada’s National Jazz Awards.  She currently divides her time between New York City and Toronto.

Rose and Night 9Leala Cyr, voice & trumpet, is fast becoming one of the most sought-after jazz vocalists of her generation, with a unique and deft ability for stunning vocal improvisation, as well as being a solid trumpet player with a warm, golden tone, making her a rare “double threat.”  A Wisconsin native, Leala knew she wanted to be a jazz vocalist the first time her mother played Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable” album in the early 1990s.  While a student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Leala was voted Best Jazz Vocalist in a Downbeat magazine poll.  She is currently a member of Grammy winning Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society and Radio Music Society bands, both as a vocalist and trumpeter.  Leala has toured internationally to five continents and has performed at the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals, including the North Sea, Montreux, Montreal, Monterey, and Cape Town Jazz Festivals.  Highlight performances of 2011 included playing Rock in Rio, Brazil’s largest music festival, where Leala played in legendary Milton Nascimento’s band for a crowd of 75,000 and a televised audience of millions.  Other 2011 TV performances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The David Letterman Show, and for the South American TV network GLOBO.  Leala resides in the New York city area and is currently recording an album with Brazilian artists Milton Nascimento, Ricardo Vogt and Pedro Bernardo, expected for release in 2015.