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Last night’s “gala show” of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival was worthy of its elevated status on the festival agenda. Festival organizer Amy K. Bormet—-interviewed by Mike West last week—-put together an all-star sextet featuring guitarist Mary Halvorson (pictured above), drummer Allison Miller, saxophonist Sarah Hughes, trumpeter Jaimie Branch, bassist Karine Chapdelaine, and Bormet herself on piano. Bormet, Miller, Hughes, and Chapdelaine all have D.C. connections of one kind or another.
For this show, the sextet played 1 to 2 compositions by each of its members over the course of two sets. In between sets, they played a live score to a silent film by Monica López-González. The result was a delightfully eclectic show that ran the gamut from high-energy melodicism to abstract impressionism. Halvorson and Bormet’s raucous compositions in the first set were highlights for me, but for adventurous listeners—-and Union Arts was packed with them last night—-there was something for everyone.
See 22 photos from the show in the full slideshow.