Jazz Pianist and Singer-Songwriter Amy K Bormet’s Tell Me What It’s Like Album Release Party at Blues Alley in Washington, DC
Strange Woman Records invites you to celebrate Amy K Bormet’s new release Tell Me What It’s Like with her trio. Fresh off a two-week residency in St Croix, the trio will perform freewheeling, storytelling songs from her new album, and a few favorites from previous releases. Amy is the creator and director of Washington Women in Jazz, and will be joined by Karine Chapdelaine on bass, and Angel Bethea on drums.
There are many ways to get to know a person, but none like hearing someone sing and play their own music. Whether people aim to present themselves truthfully or not, the voice never lies. And Amy K Bormet’s latest project “Tell Me What It’s Like” lets us know what’s been on her mind these last two years.
“Tell Me What It’s Like” is a beautifully intimate and audacious solo project for voice and piano. The album gracefully beckons us with its opening composition “Homecoming”. Reassuring like familiar furniture Bormet serenades us into the living room of this sonic adventure. And then right away she brings us into what mistakes and missteps have been made in the song “My Dear Friend”. While upbeat on the surface Amy reveals the sadness and longing of lost friendship. Moaning the melody away, it’s clear there’s no coming back to where we started.
Memories linger yet again as Bormet unveils another level of vulnerability in the song “Otella”. Through breathy calls and quiet yells reminiscent of singers like Bjork, “Otella” delves into the truth and isolation of mental illness and more specifically suicide. “Muddy and opaque I wade in the water of old cedar lake” Amy sings these lyrics with a desperate insistence. Her playing also materializes differently than on other tracks. It is demanding yet fragile. Before the last refrain we hear the deep and low pounding of her piano playing that calls to greats such as Nina Simone before Amy gives the last iteration of the melody. But it is tired, more tired than it even started. This song echoes in the silence after it has left.
However, we are brought back to solid ground with “Hymn of Revelation”. Here Bormet reveals her R&B and Jazz inflections. There is a spunk and uplift that emerges as this song opens up in the solo section. Despite the refrain “there’ll be no peace”, we hear light on the horizon bringing a kind of hope. Change is here and maybe that is better than peace.
It’s a good time to slow down with “Tell Me What It’s Like”, the title track of the album, which feels like it resounds just south of Appalachian mountains and female country music trios before spilling into ”Song About Us”. Amy returns to our favorite piano bar as she then leads us into the world with the promise of love.
Bormet bookends this album with themes of liberation and isolation with the final composition “Jealous of The Birds”. With swirling parts Amy reminds the listener of possibility and expansion through a round of voices and soloing piano. It is a dance of birds and the potential dance of bodies longing to escape the trappings of home and the struggles therein. There is a palpable longing in the lyrics “migrating to different routes close together, free”. Carefully Bormet wraps the listener up in this one last musical blanket before releasing us into the messy, loving and painful truth of living.
– Pyeng Threadgill
Great to be back in Ann Arbor and hanging with wonderful people last night. Thanks to Rachel Mazer and the Canterbury House for having us! We went unlimited bowling after the show with Ann Arbor superhero Ingrid Racine. Looking forward to next week’s alumni show!
Hitting Kalamazoo tonight with more great friends, Ashley and Benje Daneman!
Diev and I just spent a week in LA. He ate burgers and we hung out with my awesome west coast family while checking out some great music.
We are thankful to be home for thanksgiving with my ma, then heading to Michigan this weekend for a couple weeks of gigs and Dievendorf family. Chicago, Kalamazoo, and Ann Arbor are all on the agenda as we eat our way through the midwest.
Also, we are performing for a special 25th anniversary of the jazz and improvisation department concert at University of Michigan. GO BLUE! Sign up for my email list at amykbormet.com for the latest tour details! (And a free download!)
Dec 5–University of Michigan Jazz Alumni Concert with Dean Moore/Vincent Chandler
Thanks to you all for your support! Can’t wait to see all our midwestern fanboys and girls!
Here’s some photos you might have missed from our LA adventure:
|Found Nicole Mitchell at UCI, beautiful music!|
|Turkey and Carol took us to all the sights!|
|Outside of LACMA, a riff on the classic Jon Bormet streetlight photo.|
|Diev investigated USC|