Amy K Bormet presents
The Washington Women in Jazz Festival
Ingrid Jensen, trumpet
Ellen Rowe, piano
Mary Ann McSweeney, bass
The Washington Women in Jazz Festival was created by DC pianist and vocalist Amy K Bormet to highlight female musicians that are often under represented in the male-dominated jazz scene. Now in it's second year, the festival is a highly successful and integral part of East Coast jazz community. This show is sponsored by Urban Governance Collaborative. www.urbangovernance.com
Ellen Rowe has been described as “that rare ‘triple threat’ of pianist, composer-arranger, and teacher” (Arizona Daily Star), a title that until recently kept her too busy to actually record an album under her own name. That situation has been thankfully rectified with the recent debut release of “Sylvan Way,” a dynamic work that combines standards and intriguing original compositions that soar with emotion and expression.
Bassist Rufus Reid states "Ellen Rowe has produced an excellent recording that showcases her immense talents as a composer and pianist. This CD definitely invites repeated listening. Enjoy “Sylvan Way,” as I have."
Ms. Rowe has performed at various jazz clubs and concert halls throughout the United States and has toured many parts of Europe and Australia. She has had the honor of appearing on Marian McPartland’s acclaimed NPR show "Piano Jazz" twice, with the most recent taping due to air in the spring of 2003. In 1991 the Ellen Rowe Trio garnered first place in the Hartford CT Advocate Readers’ Poll for Best Acoustic Jazz. In addition to leading her own trio and quartet, she is in great demand as a sideman, performing with a variety of artists including Kenny Wheeler, Ingrid Jensen, John Clayton, Tom Harrell and Jiggs Whigham. In keeping with the eclectic nature of her earliest musical influences, Ms. Rowe also continues to play classically, recently performing the Stravinsky Piano Concerto with the University of Michigan Wind Ensemble.
Her compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by a wide variety of jazz ensembles and orchestras around the world, including the legendary Village Vanguard Orchestra, the BBC Jazz Orchestra, the U.S. Navy Commodores, the Berlin Radio Jazz Orchestra and the big band DIVA. Her big band compositions are currently published by Sierra Music Publications.
Born in Ridgefield, Connecticut to musician parents, Ms. Rowe began playing the piano by ear when she was 4. “Being constantly surrounded by wonderful music in the house was an incredible gift,” she says. “I was hearing everything from Brahms trios and Beethoven symphonies to English folk music, musicals, the Beatles and Dave Brubeck.” Informed by her high school band director that she could not play in the school’s jazz band unless she started to study the art form more seriously, she embarked on her first formal piano lessons with jazz pianist and pedagogue John Mehegan. She comments, “I was so fortunate to be able to work with John. He had been a part of the New York scene in the ‘40s and ‘50s and was one of the very first people to put together a methodical approach to studying improvisation.” Becoming aware of and listening to such jazz luminaries as Bud Powell, Bill Evans, and Horace Silver at the age of 14 had an extremely powerful impact on the young pianist.
After working with Mehegan for four years, she entered the Eastman School of Music in 1976, where she continued her studies with Bill Dobbins and Rayburn Wright. While attending Eastman she had her first significant professional success, winning the Kansas City Womens’ Jazz Festival Combo Competition with her jazz quintet “Joyspring.” The group subsequently performed at that festival as well as at the New York City Womens’ Jazz Festival. The Kansas City Star reviewed the performance and praised Ms. Rowe as a “gifted composer and pianist who can move with ease from thumb-popping funk to straight ahead bebop.” It was during this time period that she also acquired her first professional arranging experience, writing orchestral features for Marian McPartland and Gene Bertoncini as well as big band features for Red Mitchell and Bob Brookmeyer.
Ms. Rowe is currently on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music, where she is Associate Professor of Jazz Piano, Chair of the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, and directs the University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble. Her music resounds at once with melodic depth and compelling intensity, defining Ellen Rowe as a formidable talent poised to take her place among the top jazz artists of today.
Born in Vancouver and raised in Nanaimo, Canada, Ingrid headed east after receiving a number of scholarships to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since graduating in 1989, her life has contained a whirlwind of musical activities. From her early days playing in the subways of New York, to establishing herself as a leader and soloist in a wide array of musical genres, Ingrid has made her mark.
Her three CD's for the ENJA label and her latest CD, At Sea, won her nominations from the Canadian Juno Awards, including an award in 1995 for Vernal Fields.
Her performances as a leader and as a featured soloist have taken her around the world from Canada to Japan, Australia, South America, South Africa, the Caribbean and to almost every country in Europe and Scandinavia.
Jensen can be heard with the Grammy winning Maria Schneider Orchestra, the IJQ with Geoffrey Keezer, Project O, Nordic Connect and a number of New York-based bands. She has received rave reviews and a strong reputation among critics and peers. In 2003 she was nominated, for the second time, alongside trumpeter Dave Douglas for a Jazz Journalist Association Award in New York and is seen yearly in the top five of the Downbeat Critic polls in the Talent deserving wider recognition category.
Ingrid was featured on Gil Evans' Porgy and Bess at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, under the direction of Maria Schneider and was also a guest in the festival's "Tribute to Woody Shaw and Freddie Hubbard", alongside Terence Blanchard, Eddie Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson and Kenny Garrett. Some of the many musicians she has performed and or recorded with include; Steve Wilson, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Dr.Lonnie Smith, Marc Copland, Bob Berg, Gary Thomas, Gary Bartz, Jeff Hamilton, Bill Stewart, Terri-Lynn Carrington, Geri Allen, Geoffrey Keezer, Billy Hart, George Garzone, Chris Connor, Victor Lewis, Clark Terry, Frank Wess, Badal Roy, Mike Clark, Jason Miles and Global Noize, Dr.Billy Taylor and the DIVA Big Band. She also performed on SNL with the British soul star, Corrine Bailey Rae and played a number of gigs with comedian/actor/singer Dennis Leary with special guest, Peter Frampton. Ingrid was also a featured soloist with singer Madelaine Peyroux as part of the Tribute to Billie Holiday project in Brazil which included bass legend Ron Carter and piano virtuoso, Mulgrew Miller. Recent gigs and recordings include: The Playboy Jazz Festival with the Bill Cosby All- Stars, The Mosaic project with Terri-Lynn Carrington, Esperanza Spaulding and Geri Allen and The Juno award winning Christine Jensen Orchestra.
Ingrid was on staff at the Port Townsend Centrum Jazz Workshop for five consecutive years and from 1990 until 1992 held the professor of Jazz Trumpet chair at the Bruckner Conservatory of Music in Austria. Currently, she is an artist-in-residence on the trumpet faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Jensen continues to fill her schedule with an astonishing array of artistic creativity as a performer and educator. In addition to performing, she conducts master classes, clinics, and workshops around the world.
Mary Ann McSweeney was born and raised in Aptos, California. She began playing the piano at age five, and began studying the violin when she was eight. She performed the Haydn Piano concerto, the Grieg piano concerto and Rhapsody in Blue on piano while playing concert master on
violin and taking up jazz bass. She was chosen to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival at age 16 with the All Star Big Band fronted by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis.
She has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Konitz, Joanne Brackeen, Dave Liebman, Lewis Nash, Holly Hoffman, Larry goldings, Gil Goldstein, Rick Margitza, Mike Wofford, Frank Wess, Dennis Makrel, Renee Rosnes, Bucky Pizzarelli,Vic Juris, Mike Le Donne, Bucky Pizzerelli, Victor
Lewis, Howard Alden, Ken Peplowski, Stacy Rowles, Diva and Maiden
Voyage. She also has worked with famous conductors such as Leonard
Bernstein, John Williams and Lalo Schifrin.
She has recently traveled to Europe performing at the Sexial Jazz
Festival in Portugal with her Quintet. She just completed a 10 day tour
with Lee Konitz in Spain. She has also traveled throughout Europe with
David Krakouer’s “Klezmer Madness.” Mary Ann McSweeney’s Quintet was
invited to play for the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy
Center in Washington D.C.
McSweeney can be seen playing bass with vocalist Lea Delaria on the
PBS special Live at the Newport Jazz festival. On Lea Delaria’s Warner
Bros. latest C.D.release McSweeney’s arrangement of the Patti Smith
song “Dancing Barefoot,” is the first track.
Avenue Q Swings was recently performed at Birdland and the Lucille
Lortel Theater to raise money for the Jazz Foundation and the Greenwich
Music school. These were songs from the Tony award winning musical
Avenue Q arranged by McSweeney.
Mary Ann McSweeney has two C.D.‘s Thoughts of You and Swept Away on
the Sparky 1 Record Label.