P O W E L L, W y o. - Monday, March 17, is the best day of the year to catch the most jazz action at Northwest College in Powell. The annual Northwest Jazz Festival is celebrating its 25th year in back-to-back concerts packed with national and local talent.
The music starts early when schools and colleges from across the Rocky Mountain region converge on campus to perform and learn.
The concerts for the public get underway at 4 p.m. in the Powell High School Auditorium when jazz crooner Sunny Wilkinson hits the stage with her special brand of vocal artistry.
Called a "one of a kind" singer, Wilkinson has performed with the Count Basie Band and a host of other jazz legends. Northwest's own Studio Singers will open for Wilkinson, giving a preview of their spring repertoire. Admission is $15.
The Bob Mintzer Big Band concert follows at 8 p.m. With 13 Grammy award nominations under his belt and numerous international recordings, Mintzer has personified the sound of contemporary jazz in America. The versatile saxophonist, however, is just as comfortable performing solo with a symphony as he is with small jazz groups and his big band. A sampling of the variety of his musical artistry can be viewed on YouTube by searching "Bob Mintzer." With nearly a hundred videos of the versatile sax player posted on the site, there's little doubt about his popularity among jazz aficionados across the country. Mintzer's big band is a 17-piece ensemble based out of New York City.
Opening for the Bob Mintzer Big Band is Wyoming's International Association of Jazz Educators Allstate Jazz Ensemble and the Northwest College Jazz Band. Admission is $25.
The Northwest Jazz Festival is supported in part by the Holiday Inn of Cody, and by grants from VSA Arts of Wyoming, the Wyoming Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Advance tickets are available for both concerts at the Cody Newsstand in Cody and in Powell at the Northwest College Bookstore and the Nelson Performing Arts Center.
Click here and follow the jazz festival link for more details about the festival.