3-Minute Interview: Amy Bormet, founder of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival

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Local,Music,People,3-Minute Interview,April Burbank

Bomet is a jazz pianist, vocalist and composer. She is a member of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and founded the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, which recently wrapped up its third year.

What prompted you to start the Washington Women in Jazz Festival?

I wanted to push women to the forefront of the jazz scene in D.C. ... I think that women have a very special ability to bring the community together, and also there's just so many phenomenal female jazz musicians that I know in this area. A lot of times, women aren't seen as typical jazz musicians, so that's a major reasoning.

Why might some women not typically attend a jazz concert?

I never really experienced groups of women coming, and I feel like that's because they don't have women on the stage. There's no proof of that, but I think they want to come and see women and identify with the women on the stage. ... [The festival] is kind of a unique and special way of attracting those groups of women to come out.

Are there women that you look up to in the history of jazz?

Obviously, men were a lot more free to perform and to be out late at night playing music. ... There's been really since the beginning a lot of women -- not just singers. There have been a lot of women writing and arranging for bands. One that a lot of people know is Mary Lou Williams -- we have the Mary Lou Williams Festival at the Kennedy Center.

Have you encountered a strong community for jazz in D.C.?

Especially in the last five years, there's been a resurgence of interest in the D.C. jazz scene. ... A lot of the local colleges, you know, Howard University and UDC and Maryland, have great jazz programs -- and a lot of those students are choosing to stay in D.C. instead of moving up to New York. ... I think it's really flourishing right now.

- April Burbank

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April Burbank

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