Vocalist Jamie Broumas has been a connoisseur of jazz since the day she met Duke Ellington. A fourth grader at Louise Archer School in Vienna, Virginia at the time, she recalls the special day when the school’s music teacher, Philmore Hall, invited Ellington and his trio to perform at the school. Because Hall was Dizzie Gillespie’s trumpet teacher, he moved in the important jazz circles of the 60s and had no difficulty convincing his friend to share his musical wealth with those fortunate Fairfax youngsters.
Over the years, Broumas has carved out a career with a voice critics call “one of Washington’s best-kept secrets.” Buoyed by the success of her most recent CD, “Wild Is Love,” she is tempering her role as mother to college-bound children for a full-time foray into the jazz scene. She will next be heard in concert on December 1 at the Music Center at Strathmore, where she is the Artist in Residence Mentor for the 2010-2011 season. Later in May, she and her band will appear at Blues Alley.
She regards her band as the best in the business with Steve Rudolph out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on piano, Michael Bowie on bass and Harold Summey on percussion.
Rudolph, a recording artist and producer, has performed with Louie Bellson, Paquito D’Rivera, Terry Gibbs, the Mills Brothers, Buddy Morrow and a host of other jazz greats. Bowie trained with Betty Carter and Keter Betts before backing Manhattan Transfer, Abbey Lincoln, Joe Williams, Della Reese, Ricky Skaggs, Isaac Hayes and many major artists. His interests range from performing in every musical genre to educating on both public school and university levels. Summey, a member of the U.S. Army Band, won the Sixth Annual Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition for drums in 1992 and teaches Jazz Percussion at George Mason University.
Backed by these masters of their craft, Broumas is in her element. A graduate of Vassar College, where she studied classical voice and majored in music history and theory, she delved into jazz ensemble work at Berklee College of Music before joining the Grammy-nominated vocal group Rare Silk.
Along the way, she has been soloist with such jazz musicians as Cyrus Chestnut, Herb Ellis and Charlie Young and was a founding member of Washington’s Mad Romance, an ensemble in the Manhattan Transfer mode. As the Artists in Residence Mentor at Strathmore, she looks forward to spending the year guiding five emerging musicians to create an education program and premiere their own newly commissioned work.