Women in Jazz "On the Radar"
The Washington Women in Jazz Festival is coming back for its third year, thanks to pianist, composer, bandleader, and all-around impresario Amy K. Bormet. Maybe the time has gone when, as Capitalbop.com put it, "this city's many expert female musicians too often fly under the radar – as is frequently the case in the male-dominated greater jazz world."
Or maybe not. Maybe there is still much need for a Women's History Month and a spotlight on the Washington Women in Jazz Festival every March, as well as the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams women in jazz event each May.
“We are digging deeper into women in jazz history with Leigh Pilzer's concert of early jazz women, while looking to the future and expanding our Young Artist Contest to a Saturday afternoon prime slot in the festival,” says Bormet. “We are also stretching into new instrumentation with cellist and composer Janel Leppin's chamber works at the Bohemian Caverns.”
The festival has a preview on March 4, with vocalist Integriti Reeves and Bormet on piano, at the American Art Museum. It has its main run during March 21-27, including the opening night with Miller and the WWJF All Stars: Sarah Hughes and Leigh Pilzer (saxophones), Melissa Gardner (trombone), Amy K. Bormet (piano), and Karine Chapdelaine (bass) at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, with other performances at various venues. Pianist Geri Allen, a Howard University graduate and former professor, and Bormet’s mentor, plays at the Atlas on March 27. See washingtonwomeninjazz.com for details.
“This year builds upon the foundations of the last two festivals and strengthens the greater jazz community of Washington DC,” says Bormet.
InPerson ... Carol Morgan
A blend of topnotch chops, a little wit, a lot of humor, a lot of swinging, some bebop and some free jazz and edgy jazz all made up the Carol Morgan Quartet’s entertaining set at the Atlas last month. Morgan is a New York-based trumpeter who plays hot and spicy but also swings with the best of them. She appeared with Matt Wilson, drums, Martin Wind, bass, and Joel Frahm, tenor saxophone. The group impressed an appreciative crowd with tunes like “Blue Boogie,” “Nica’s Dream,” and “Let’s Get Lost.”
InPerson … MAJF IV
Thanks to saxophonist and educator Paul Carr, the Howard University product who found time to deliver a blistering set of music one night with organist Pat Bianchi and friends, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival last month was big fun at the Hilton in Rockville. Top performances included those by pianists Larry Willis and Orrin Evans, vocalists Gregory Porter and Sharon Clark, saxophonists Tim Warfield and Bobby Watson, organists Joey DeFrancesco and Akiko Tsuruga, bluesman Linwood Taylor, the Howard University Jazz Ensemble, and groups including the Blues Alley Youth Orchestra and several high school bands.
Emy Tseng's CD, and Others
Check out “Sonho,” the debut recording by Emy Tseng, an area vocalist who specializes in Brazilian lullabies but also standards, and another debut by former Howard University Jazz Ensemble saxophonist Elijah Balbed, who blows some hot bop on “Checking In.” Then there is saxophonist Tim Warfield, who attended Howard and plays here regularly, whose new “Eye of the Beholder” CD was released late last month. Coming in May is a new CD, “It Was Beauty,” with pianist Orrin Evans, a big hit at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival.
March Highlights: Project Natale, March 8-9, Twins Jazz … Jacob Anderskov/Nordic Cool 2013, March 9, Kennedy Center … Carmen McRae-Jazz Master, March 10, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum … Paul Pieper Sextet, March 11, Blues Alley … Jimmy Bruno, March 12, Blues Alley … Shakers & Bakers, March 13, Atlas Performing Arts Center … Kristine Key, March 15, Westminster Church … Matthew Stevens, March 15, Bohemian Caverns … Anthony Nelson, March 15-16, Twins Jazz … Jack DeJohnnette, March 16, Kennedy Center … Eri Yamamoto Trio, March 17, Bohemian Caverns … Charles Lloyd, March 22, Kennedy Center … Shannon Gunn & The Bullettes/Washington Women in Jazz Festival, March 22, Westminster Church … DC Women in Jazz, March, 24, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum ... Geri Allen, March 27, Atlas Performing Arts Center … Lee Ritenour, March 28, Blues Alley … Thad Wilson, Allison Crockett, Tribute to Sarah Vaughan, March 29, Westminster Church … Brad Linde, March 29-30, Twins Jazz .…
March Birthdays: Benny Powell 1; Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Doug Watkins 2; Jimmy Garrison 3; Ricky Ford 4; Wes Montgomery 6; George Coleman 8; Herschel Evans, Ornette Coleman 9; Bix Biederbecke 10; Leroy Jenkins, Bobby McFerrin 11; Terence Blanchard 13; Quincy Jones 14; Cecil Taylor, Charles Lloyd 15; Tommy Flanagan 16; Nat King Cole 17; Harold Mabern, Charles Thompson 21; George Benson 22; King Pleasure 24; Ben Webster, Sarah Vaughan 27; Thad Jones 28; Michael Brecker 29; Freddie Green 31.
Steve Monroe is a Washington, DC, writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.