David Rogers is an innovative composer, saxophonist, and improviser whose music draws deeply on the American jazz tradition and a range of global influences, from Appalachian folk songs to Malian guitar riffs. David has been hailed as a "visionary jazz and world-music saxophonist" (Hartford Courant) and “a relentless seeker with an eye beyond borders” (AllMusicGuide). His music, combining beautiful composed melodies and intricate counterpoint with fiery rhythms and improvisation, has been heard from jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall.
Hailing from Missouri, Rogers has lived extensively in Ghana (West Africa), where he spent two years living in the thatched huts of master musicians, studying native xylophone and fiddle traditions, and learning the drum language and oral history of the Dagomba talking drum.
Now based in New York and New Jersey, Rogers has composed for theater, dance, chamber music, jazz big bands, and symphony orchestra. But his primary musical vehicles are his two small ensembles that bridge jazz improvisation with genre-defying composition: Imaginary Homeland and Kairos.
Imaginary Homeland is an acoustic jazz quartet with a global view that encompasses talking drums, African rhythms, and fiddle music from Appalachia to the Sahara. The band’s sound, combining Rogers's keening saxophone playing with African-style fiddling and the aquatic pulse of a Ghanaian water drum, has been called “a fusion masterpiece” (AllAboutJazz).
David's newest band, Kairos, reinvents the jazz quintet with a mashup of influences from Ornette Coleman to David Bowie to Malian guitar grooves. Playful improvisation weds with canny composition, as Rogers's sax teams up with electric guitar, Fulani flute, and a powerhouse rhythm section.
In 2003, Rogers co-founded the artist-run record label Jumbie Records, promoting the music of innovative artists from the US, Ghana, Guinea, and Hungary. With his Jumbie partners, he produced AXF, North America's first ever festival of pan-African xylophone music. In 2008, with Bernard Woma, he composed the first-ever concerto for African xylophone and symphony orchestra. In 2011, the Albany Symphony will premiere their follow up "Gyil Yeru Concerto" by Rogers, Woma, and Mark Stone.