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
Hi all! I just got back from a great trip to New York, looking at the beautiful leaves in Prospect Park and working on casting a new project for the Kennedy Center. This is a beautiful time of year, I am always down for pumpkin spice and everything nice.
However, we’re moving into a precarious season for live music, I’ve already had cancellations for indoor concerts in 2022. Many venues have closed their doors, and others have drastically cut their budgets. Although I love to work as a performer, I have spent more and more time composing music and recording. I continue to develop new music daily and I want to share it with you.
I am looking for support from my community, which has led me to join AMPLED. AMPLED is a co-operative platform that is co-owned by the artists. This aligns with my values, and gives me an outlet that is not controlled by facebook overlords, but by a community of devoted musicians.
So please join me on AMPLED for new songs, thoughts, and prompts about creativity. I can’t wait to share this space with you.
Debuting a fun project with Kim Bursic where she paints and I play. We met over zoom when I signed up for her “sketch to paint” class. We’ve had so many great conversations about process and movement, and I am thrilled to have this recording of our first duo together.
Debuts 9/28 at noon. Grab a sandwich and check it out!
8/27 & 28 Learn to skateboard and then jam out with us for On Deck: Women shredding through boundaries Festival! Kennedy Center with Washington Women in Jazz (in-person and streaming)
9/4 Lake Anne Jazz Festival (Reston, VA) with Washington Women in Jazz
Premeires Friday 7/16 at 8pm EST/5pm PST
I asked Melinda to meet me halfway. We improvised in the sunshine in front of a lighthouse in havre de grace. Neither of us had been there before, and we hadn’t seen each other in the flesh since February 2020. Melinda brought cameras (and snacks because she is always prepared for a picnic), and I brought a little microphone. We played for awhile without any preconceived notions (just the motion of the ocean). Then we added more. More violins to harmonize with the dogs, more voices to harmonize with ourselves, more synths to harmonize with the boats, and videos of the dog/ourselves/boats.
If you are free tonight (or in the future since the internet is elusive and apparently timeless) tune in and get a piece of the peace we felt.
I am thrilled to say—Washington Women in Jazz Festival is back! March 6-29, 2021. Full details here:
Read our more about this year’s festival with CapitalBop.
See you there!