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Amy K. Bormet, a D.C.-based pianist, accordionist, and occasional singer, was working last year at the Kennedy Center’s annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival and noticed something. “Half of the women in this festival, working in these orchestras and ensembles, were local D.C. people that I knew,” she says. “I saw this and started asking myself, ‘These are all great musicians. Why aren’t they doing their own stuff?”
With that in mind, Bormet began talking around Christmastime with Kelly Tesfaye, owner and director of Twins Jazz, about a showcase of the District’s female jazz performers. “The D.C. jazz scene can be kind of segregated,” Bormet says. “And there are all these great women on the scene, and I wanted to get them together, have them perform together, and see what happened.”
The result, scheduled to coincide with Women’s History Month in March, is the First Annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival. On Wednesdays in March, Twins will host two sets at 8 and 10 p.m. featuring two women as leaders. “Each woman is in charge of one set,” says Bormet, “but each one’s set will include the other. Since there are two women on the bill each night their sets are designed to include one another.” Scheduling is as follows:
March 2: Melissa Gardiner (trombone); Lena Seikaly (vocals)
March 9: Amy K. Bormet (piano); Karine Chapdelaine (bass)
March 23: Jessica Boykin-Settles (vocals); Leigh Pilzer (baritone and soprano saxophones)
March 30: Christie Dashiell (vocals); Sarah Hughes (alto saxophone)
Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door; however, full-series passes are available for $40, a ludicrously good deal.