Musician, Composer, Bandleader, Recording Artist, Educator and Activist Roxy Coss has become one of the most unique and innovative Saxophonists on the scene. Winner of the 2022 Downbeat Critics’ Poll "Rising Star" category in Soprano Saxophone, an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, Jazziz Magazine listed her an “Artist to Watch," and she received the Hothouse Magazine & Jazzmobile “Tenor Saxophone” Award. She is the Founder and President of Women In Jazz Organization (WIJO), and serves on the Board of Directors for the Jazz Education Network (JEN). Roxy is currently a Jazz Faculty member at The Juilliard School. She is also an endorsing artist for P. Mauriat, Vandoren, and Keyleaves products.
Roxy has been a fixture on the New York scene for over a dozen years, and has also performed extensively around the world, including headlining major festivals and venues like the Newport Jazz Festival, Sopot Jazz Festival, Melbourne Big Band Festival, Winter Jazz Fest, BRIC Jazz Fest, Earshot Jazz Festival, Oregon Coast Jazz Party, San Jose Jazz Summerfest, Ballard Jazz Festival, Music Mountain Festival, Spokane Falls Jazz Festival, Midwest Clinic, The Appel Room at JALC, Jazz Standard, Jazz Showcase, Rockwood Music Hall, 55 Bar, The Django, The Nash, The Royal Room, Triple Door, Black Cat, Merriman's Playhouse, Side Door Cafe, South Jazz Parlor, Frankie’s, Vibrato, Red Poppy Art House, Cafe Stritch, Palace Theater, Libby's Jazz Club, Zinc Bar, Cornelia Street Cafe, and Smalls, among others. Her band, the Roxy Coss Quintet, has held residencies at New York City clubs including SMOKE Jazz Club and Club Bonafide. Roxy was also a featured guest musician on the television show Harry (host Harry Connick, Jr.) in 2017.
Roxy has six recordings out as a bandleader. Her latest, Disparate Parts, was released March 2022 on the Outside in Music label. It features her working band, the Roxy Coss Quintet, playing a suite of music composed by Coss, and two additional original compositions of Roxy’s, as well as originals from the other band members. This is the follow-up to their previous album, Quintet, recorded live in the studio (OiM) released in 2019. In 2018, Coss released her fourth album as a leader, The Future Is Female, follow-up to Chasing the Unicorn (2017), both on Posi-Tone. The Future Is Female received a 4.5-Star Review from both Downbeat and All About Jazz, and Chasing the Unicorn made the “Best of 2017” lists in Downbeat, Somethin’ Else Reviews, and Ken Franckling’s Jazz Notes. Past albums also include Restless Idealism on Origin Records (2016), and Roxy Coss (2010), her self-released debut and self-titled album.
Coss has performed and recorded as a side musician with Jazz greats and luminaries including Clark Terry, Louis Hayes, Rufus Reid, Billy Kaye, Houston Person, Gene Perla, Bill Charlap, Claudio Roditi, Jeremy Pelt, Willie Jones III, Geoffrey Keezer, Ken Peplowski, Mike Pope, Nate Smith and bands such as Darcy James Argue's "Secret Society", the Mingus Big Band, Birdland Big Band, and Steven Feifke's Big Band. She has been a member of The Diva Jazz Orchestra since 2010, including an Off-Broadway run with Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life. Past performance experience also includes appearances with Wynton Marsalis, Buster Williams, Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, Mulgrew Miller, Harry Allen, Steve Wilson, Mark Gross, Gary Smulyan, Harold Mabern, Jerry Vivino, and Eric Marienthal, among others.
Roxy is the Founder and President of Women In Jazz Organization, a collective of over 500 professional jazz musicians and composers who identify as women or gender non-binary. WIJO intends to help level the playing field, so that women and non-binary people have equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to the jazz community, leading to an improved and more rich, diverse, and successful art form. The organization is committed to honoring Black Americans as the creators of jazz. WIJO is largely a New York-based organization, with connections to other individuals and groups nationally and internationally. The organization aims to empower the individuals within, as well as come together to empower the larger community of jazz musicians who identify as women or non-binary as a whole. Members of the organization work to address inequalities in jazz culture to change the landscape of the current jazz scene. The organization also works to improve the perceptions and treatment of women and non-binary people in jazz from outside the jazz community.
Roxy is currently on the board of directors for the Jazz Education Network (JEN), and on faculty as a jazz ensemble coach and a jazz saxophone studio professor at The Juilliard School. She has also served as an Artist-in-Residence at Arizona State University's jazz department. As an educator, she has over 20 years of experience with students of all ages, leading a private instruction studio. She has been a featured guest artist, leading masterclasses, clinics, and workshops around the world, including at the Sopot Jazz Festival, Berklee College of Music, The New School, University of North Texas, Georgetown University, University of Manitoba, Western Michigan University, Purdue University, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ithaca College, Queens College, Trinity College, Portland State University, Northwestern, Colorado State University, Tucson Jazz Institute, The Jazz Academy of Music and Seattle’s JazzEd. Roxy has served as an adjudicator for festivals including the Northern Arizona University, Sleepy Hollow and Bellevue High School Jazz Festivals, and for competition programs such as the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra's Jazz Composition Competition and the Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition. She has performed extensively with teaching programs such as Jazz For Young People at JALC, Let Freedom Swing! at JALC, Jazz and Business Leadership Workshops at JALC, JazzReach led by Hans Shuman, and Generation Vandoren. Previous faculty positions include Jazz Faculty at The New School and Borough of Manhattan Community College, Adjunct Woodwind Teacher at Ramapo High School in NJ, Director of Jazz Ensemble at Beacon High School in NYC, and faculty at William Paterson University Summer Jazz Workshop, and New York Summer Music Festival.
As a composer, Roxy has compositions recorded on her six records released as a bandleader, as well as Jeremy Pelt's Face Forward, Jeremy (HighNote). She has collaborated with her mother, Seattle-based visual artist Mary Coss, to create the soundtrack entitled Eternal, for an exhibition at METHOD Gallery (Traces, 2015). She was also commissioned by the NYC-based Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company to write the score for Breaking, a one-man dance piece (2009), as well as Tribe, a full-length dance show choreographed on commission by the Holocaust Museum of New York City (2010).
Roxy first started playing piano at the age of five, where she learned the basics of music theory, composition, and ear training through the Robert Pace method. She picked up the alto saxophone at age nine, and fell in love with Jazz by eleven, playing tenor saxophone in her middle school jazz band under the tutelage of Robert Knatt. Roxy graduated in 2004 from Garfield High School, where she toured and performed internationally with the world-renowned GHS Jazz Ensemble, led by Clarence Acox. Roxy went on to William Paterson University, where she attended on a full scholarship, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2008, with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies/Performance. In 2011, she was chosen to participate in both the prestigious Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Residency Workshop at the Kennedy Center, and the acclaimed Steans Institute Jazz Program at the Ravinia Festival, where she worked closely with Rufus Reid, Curtis Fuller, Nathan Davis, George Cables, and David Baker. Roxy has also studied Saxophone privately with Rich Perry, Gary Smulyan, Donny McCaslin, and Mark Taylor, Composition with Rich DeRosa, Improvisation with Harold Mabern, Armen Donelian, and Bill Mobley, and Flute/Composition with Anne Drummond.
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