AMMAduo began in 2014 with the collaboration of pianist/vocalist Amy K Bormet and bassist/vocalist Maggie Hasspacher in Los Angeles. Their melodic compositions, which include song cycles of poetry, acapella robot ballads, and upbeat tunes, have roots in folk, jazz and contemporary classical music.
AMMAduo first performed in July 2014 at the Boston Court in Pasadena as a part of the WORK series by Wild Up, of which Hasspacher is a member. The summer of 2016, Bormet hosted the duo at her Summer Concert Series at Robert Harper Books in Washington D.C., under the flagship of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival. In fall 2016, Hasspacher brought the duo to Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, MI where they also began a recording of Bormet’s Gwendolyn Brooks Song Cycle and Hasspacher’s Three Hollander Poems, to be released in late 2017.
“Amy K Bormet’s song cycle, based on the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, resonated in a different kind of way. Its virtuosity was not visibly foregrounded, but rather tucked behind a more personal display. Bormet, who accompanied Hasspacher on piano for a few of the poems, tailored her songs so well to Hasspacher’s talents that (I admit) I thought they were Hasspacher’s own. Hasspacher’s voice is breathy and intimate in its lower register, but straight-toned and full of ping in its higher reaches. Bormet embraces the duality, charting melodies which leap expressively from one to the other. But Hasspacher’s singing voice is not the only one featured in the cycle: the bass line is equally active. The push and pull of bass against voice, in fact, is one of the things Bormet did best. Sometimes the bass acts as a foil for beautifully rendered suspensions and appoggiaturas (that’s when the voice leans into and then out of dissonance). Sometimes it does its own thing. Most of the time, however, it playfully weaves filigree around echoes of the voice melody, enriching its contours. Like a Klimt portrait, the subject dissolves into ornament only to be revealed in a new, more resplendent light.”
– The Artificialist