Rosengren first played professionally at age 19, as a member of the Jazz Club 57, and two years later in 1959 he played in the Newport Jazz Band. Roman Polanski's collaborator Krzysztof Komeda used Rosengren in the performance of his jazz score for Polanski's film Knife in the Water (1962). Rosengren recorded a string of critically acclaimed albums in the 1960s and 1970s, including Stockholm Dues (1965), Improvisations (1969), and Notes from Underground (1974). He played in a sextet led by George Russell in the 1960s in Europe. Later in the decade he moved from hard bop into post-bop experimentation, playing with Don Cherry; in the 1970s, as a member of Sevda led by trumpeter Muvaffak "Maffy" Falay, he began working with elements of Turkish and Middle Eastern music. He also formed his own big band in the 1970s.
In the 1980s Rosengren worked frequently with American Jazz musicians, including Doug Raney, George Russel, Don Cherry and Horace Parlan. Among his activities in the 1990s include an album of songs from Porgy & Bess.
Chris Mosey, a jazz critic from AllAboutJazz, said in his review of Rosengren's CD I'm Flying (2009): "All in all, I'm Flying is a worthy Golden Record." Jack Bowers, also writing for AllAboutJazz, wrote in his review of the same album: "Rosengren, for his part, is a model of elegance and consistency, inspiring his companions without stealing their thunder. Together they comprise a tight-knit and consistently engaging foursome. Besides blowing superbly, Rosengren wrote seven of the album's twelve selections. – Rosengren rides their talents like an Indy car driver, and the result is an exemplary team effort that is as stylish as it is rewarding."
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- Bombastica! with Lars Werner (Jazzland, 1960)
- Stockholm Dues (Columbia, 1965)
- Improvisations (SJR, 1968/9)
- Notes from Underground (Harvest, 1974)
- Bernt Rosengren Quartet with Bobo Stenson (1975)
- Bernt Rosengren Big Band with Horace Parlan & Doug Raney (Caprice, 1980)
- Surprise Party (SteepleChase, 1983)
- Live! (1983)
- Summit Meeting (1984)
- The Hug (1992)
- Porgy & Bess (1996)
- Bernt Rosengren Octet plays Evert Taube (Arietta, 1999)
- Bernt Rosengren Tentet plays Kurt Weill (Arietta, 2000)
- Inside Pictures – A Tribute to Lars Gullin, Vol. 2 (2002)
With Lester Bowie
- Gittin' to Know Y'All (MPS, 1969)
With Don Cherry
With Arne Domnérus
- Face to Face, Dragon, 1999
With Krzysztof Komeda
- Knife in the Water, 1962
With George Russell
With Tomasz Stańko
- Litania: Music of Krzysztof Komeda (ECM, 1997)
- "Bernt Rosengrens's Albums at Almusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- "Chris Mosey's May 2010 Article in AllAboutJazz". allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- "Jack Bowers October 2009 Article in AllAboutJazz". allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- Gyllene Skivan Award Rosengren Wins Five Gyllene Skivan Awards in Sweden