Arts Desk

Jazz Setlist, September 1-7: Labor Day Swings

Amy K. Bormet

Thursday, September 1
If you know your D.C. jazz, you almost certainly know pianist Amy K. Bormet. She's the backbone of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra; the architect of this year's inaugural Washington Women In Jazz Festival; a favorite accompanist for a variety of leaders, bands, and styles; a surprisingly accomplished singer; and one of the funniest people in town. What you may not know is that she's a formidable composer and arranger, too. That's certainly what you'll find if you give a listen to her new self-released album, Striking: It's an expertly played, handsomely sung record of mostly her own work (and a few standards) that shows not only her technical chops but a remarkable ear for harmony—and, more subtly, a delectable rhythmic sense and precision. Relevantly, you should also know guitarist Matt Dievendorf, a remarkably tasteful and cerebral guitarist who's at his best on the bossa nova tunes that he and Bormet (his spouse) love. But they do a lot more together, and have promised to show off quite a bit of it in a duo set. 8 and 10 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $10.

Friday, September 2
Mose Allison is at Blues Alley all weekend. I wrote about the iconic pianist in this week's dead-tree edition. Read it here. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. through Sunday at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25.

Wednesday, Sept. 7
Nnenna FreelonNnenna Freelon is intense. She's so intense that, frankly, it's a little uncomfortable at first. Her eyes burn into you as she gazes from the stage, and her smile is huge and bright in a way that's both alluring and unsettling. When she starts to sing, though, she's got you in the palm of her hand. It's like watching a stage hypnotist: She's mesmerizing, with her clear-yet-sandy voice and outsize presence onstage. There's even an entrancing quality to her banter; it's knowing, familiar, and amusing. So impressive is her gift that we can literally say that her voice has healing powers: Freelon directs hospital workshops titled "Her Babysongs," teaching new mothers the power of the human voice to promote health and neurological developments in infants. Here, however, she celebrates the release of her new album Homefree. 7:30 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. $20-$40.

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