Washington Women in Jazz Festival V

All Around the Town, a High Five For Bormet

The Washington Women In Jazz Festival, fifth annual edition, is back this March with events all around the area.  See www.washingtonwomeninjazz.com.

The Washington Women in Jazz Festival celebrates five straight years of ever-expanding artistry and also Women’s History Month. Brought to us again by the talented Amy K. Bormet, impresario, musician and bandleader, this year’s festival has shows in all quadrants of the city and also out at Montgomery College in Rockville.

 “The fifth annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival is filled with new voices on the east coast jazz scene, and a special exchange with the Swedish Women in Jazz Festival,” said Bormet. “I'm so thrilled as the festival continues to expand, throughout the city and the entire month of March!”

Bormet, Leigh Pilzer, Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes, Jessica Boykin-Settles are some of the familiar performers back this year, but more sounds of all types will also be featured, like Ensemble Volcanic Ash, Bormet’s trio with strings and young artist Taylar Lee with the Savannah Harris Trio.

“The exciting band Raw Sound Sweden will be joining us as we celebrate the visibility of women in music around the world. My new band Ephemera will be performing on a double bill with them in DC [March 8 at the House of Sweden] and then this coming fall in Sweden,” said Bormet. 

“Burning New York trumpeter Carol Morgan will be performing at the … [Hill Center] on Capitol Hill [March 18].  There are tons of great performances, masterclasses, and discussions this year, check out the full calendar and see what's happening near you: …  www.washingtonwomeninjazz.com.”



Speaking of women performers from around the globe, the show by Somi at Blues Alley March 9 promises to be special in its own right. Born in Illinois to parents from Rwanda and Uganda, with a childhood spent in Zambia, Somi calls her music New African Soul, with the influences of icons like Nina Simon and Sara Vaughan adding to her vocal style along with legendary Africans including Miriam Makeba, Cesaria Evora and Sade. 

Her impressive 2014 recording, “The Lagos Music Salon” is a startling, richly colored blend of dynamic vocals and expert musicianship. It shines on “Love Juju,” “Ginger Me Slowly,” “When Rivers Cry” and several other tunes showing off Somi’s earthy vocals which range to soaring soprano flights. See www.somimusic.com.

Besides the WWIJ Festival performers and Somi, other shows this month feature Ethel Ennis and Sharon Clark with dates at the Montpelier Arts Center in Laure,l and Cassandra Wilson at the Kennedy Center.


InPerson … Karen Lovejoy

Our own siren of sweet and sassy, bluesy jazz, Karen Lovejoy entertained a large crowd at the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly last month, opening for Phil Wiggins’s folk blues show with a fine reading of standards “Afro Blue,” “Call Me, “Let’s Fall in Love,” and the highlight, a charming, heartfelt “Honeysuckle Rose.” Her band The Lovejoy Group was in a solid groove all night, especially Herb Smith on saxophone and Tony Herrod on guitar.


March highlights: Somi, March 9, Blues Alley … Wade Beach, March 9. Arts Club of Washington … Univ. of Md. Jazz Bands, March10-11, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center … Howard “Kingfish” Franklin, March 10, 17, 24, 31, Bohemian Caverns … Mark Meadows, March 11, 18, 25, Strathmore Mansion … Ethel Ennis, March 12, Montpelier Arts Center/Laurel … Sharon Clark, March 13, Montpelier … Shannon Gunn & the Bullettes, March 13, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Michael Thomas Quintet, March 13-14, Twins Jazz … Pete Muldoon Sextet Album Release Party, March 15, Bohemian Caverns … John Lamkin Favorites Quintet, Marcy 16, Blues Alley … Amy K. Bormet, Carol Morgan, Leigh Pilzer/Tribute to Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, March 18, Hill Center Bucky Pizzarelli, Ed Laub, March 18, Blues Alley … Marty Nau, March 19, Twins Jazz … Ron Kearns Quintet, March 20, Montpelier … Steve Davis/Allyn Johnson/Paul Carr, March 20, An Die Musik/Baltimore … Listening Party/Thelonious Monk, March 21, Kennedy Center African Lounge … Jessica Boykin-Settles/Billie Holiday Life and Music, March 21, Smithsonian Anacostia Museum … Jazzforum/International Sweethearts of Rhythm, March 23, UDC Recital Hall … Cassandra Wilson/Tribute to Billie Holiday, March 27, Kennedy Center … Kristin Callahan, March 27, Germano’s/Baltimore … Chuck Redd & the Youngbloods, March 27, Westminster … Jazz Night at the Movies/Coleman Hawkins, March 27, Westminster … Jason Moran/Monk at Town Hall 1959, March 28, Kennedy Center … Allyn Johnson Trio, March 31, UDC Recital Hall …


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 freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at steve@jazzavenues.com or @jazzavenues.

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