New York-based drummer, composer, and bandleader, Curtis Nowosad, has developed a reputation as a highly-skilled, versatile, and forward-thinking musician. A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Curtis became recognized as the face of the new generation of jazz players in Winnipeg, playing in a variety of situations, as well as lending his talents to other genres. He has performed in club and concert settings with such world-class jazz musicians as Stefon Harris, Miguel Zenón, George Colligan, Anthony Wonsey, Dave Douglas, and Steve Wilson. He also recently recorded with NEA Jazz Master, pianist Kenny Barron, at Systems Two in Brooklyn, NY.
His debut album, The Skeptic & the Cynic, released in late 2012, spent two weeks at #1 on the!earshot Canadian Jazz Charts. The album showcases original compositions alongside Curtis’ arrangements of songs by Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, 2pac, and Black Star. The powerhouse band features Jimmy Greene on tenor saxophone, Derrick Gardner on trumpet, and Steve Kirby on bass, along with special guest and two-time Grammy nominee Taylor Eigsti on piano. In May, Curtis’ Quartet, featuring Gardner, Kirby, and pianist Will Bonness, will be embarking on a Canadian tour, in support of the album.
A recipient of several awards and scholarships, Curtis recently performed at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, as a recipient of the Keep an Eye Jazz Award. He has twice been selected to participate in the Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead residency at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and in 2012, he attended the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music at the Banff Centre. He is currently a graduate student and Fellow of the Jazz Institute at Manhattan School of Music, where he studies with world-renowned drummer, John Riley, and plays in various ensembles, including the Grammy-nominated MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Bobby Sanabria. He holds a Bachelor of Jazz Studies from the University of Manitoba, where he mentored with master drummers Terreon Gully and Quincy Davis.
Curtis can be heard on several other recordings, including Erin Propp’s WCMA-winning/JUNO-nominated Courage, My Love, Ali Fontaine’s APCMA-winning, self-titled debut, Neil Watson’s Move!, Oshima’s The Age of Shapes, The Lytics’ They Told Me, and Keith Price’s Gaia/Goya, and Breakfast of Champions, as well as Farewell 274: Winnipeg’s Jazz Community Celebrates Aqua Books, a live compilation album that he produced and released on his Know-a-sad Music label.
He is also active as an educator and clinician, working with private students, high school bands, and jazz camps, as well as teaching for two years in the University of Manitoba’s Bridge program, which provides music education to inner city students, many of whom are new Canadians. He previously hosted his own radio show on 101.5 UMFM called Tomorrow Is the Question! He has also curated several jazz and world music series at Aqua Books in Winnipeg.