Best New Jazz Showcase

Washington Women in Jazz Festival
Working the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival a few years ago, pianist Amy K. Bormet couldn’t help but notice how many local ladies were on the gig. Why couldn’t they headline their own festival? Bormet took the idea and ran with it. Last spring, she introduced an important new platform for women as acclaimed and busy as horn players Jen Krupa and Leigh Pilzer, as well as a needed boost for up-and-comers like drummer Lydia Lewis and singer Christie Dashiell. What was in its first year a monthlong summit on U Street NW has this year now bloomed into eight venues featuring more than a dozen female performers—including an all-woman big band, Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes, as well as most of last year’s “all-stars.” Anyone would be thrilled to have an exposition like the Washington Women in Jazz Festival; that it spotlights women, long treated as jazz’s also-rans, is a treasure.