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Washington Women in Jazz Festival

Last year’s in-person Washington Women in Jazz Festival was canceled due to COVID-19. This year, the event is back virtually, with shows throughout the month. Pianist and vocalist Amy K. Bormet started the festival in 2011 after being frustrated by not seeing enough female jazz musicians getting bookings. Bormet, who went to high school at Duke Ellington School of the Arts and has a master’s degree in jazz studies from Howard University, has curated the festival since the beginning. This year, it includes local performers’ gigs as well as a series of Saturday pre-recorded concerts featuring artists from Central and South America that she is calling the “Worldwide Women in Jazz Festival.” Interestingly, Bormet did not find Uruguayan saxophonist Patricia López (performing March 20) herself; López discovered the WWJF and Bormet online, and they musically bonded. López, who started the Mujeres de Iberoamérica jazz organization, will be leading her own band through her brand of improvisation-based but tuneful horn-led sounds. Chilean clarinetist Luz Cuadros (who performs March 27) and her band are also fond of occasional warm melodies. Additionally, Bormet will showcase some of the D.C. artists who were at the first festival in 2011 or were scheduled for last year’s cancelled event. On March 15, singer and Howard University Assistant Professor Jessica Boykin-Settles, known for her classic 20th-century rooted approach, will be dueting with Karine Chapdelaine, a Canadian bassist who came to D.C. to get two master’s degrees at Howard University and has stayed in the area since. Bormet will do a solo show on March 22 and broadcast a duet with D.C. saxophonist Leigh Pilzer on March 24. On March 29, the festival will finish with Bormet’s favorite part, an Emerging Artist Showcase that this year includes Howard and NYU students from the Key of She jazz organization, which works with young female and nonbinary musicians. The schedule of events and registration are available at washingtonwomeninjazz.com. Prices vary.