P O W E L L, W y o. - The Northwest College Jazz Festival is celebrating its 25th year by mixing things up a little. Instead of a Thursday-Friday-Saturday concert format, this year's event features recognized jazz performers in Monday afternoon and evening concerts on March 17.
Advance tickets are available now for both Sunny Wilkinson and the Bob Mintzer Band at the Cody Newsstand and in Powell at the Northwest College Bookstore and the Nelson Performing Arts Center. They can also be ordered online. Admission to the 4 p.m. Sunny Wilkinson concert is $15, and $25 to the Bob Mintzer Band 8 p.m. concert.
Vocal jazz celebrity Sunny Wilkinson returns to Northwest 18 years after her first appearance, when the festival was in only its seventh year. Called a "one of a kind" singer, Wilkinson has crooned with the Count Basie Band, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, Clark Terry, Mark Murphy, Milt Hinton, Curtis Fuller, and Edgar Winter and numerous others.
Television viewers will recognize her voice from commercials, jingles, the "Solid Gold" program and the theme song for "Saved by the Bell." She performs regularly at jazz festivals and clubs across the country and is assistant professor of jazz voice at Michigan State University. Her latest CD, featuring pianist Tom Garvin, is titled "A Gentle Time - When Sunny Meets Tom." It was released in the summer of 2007.
Northwest College's own Studio Singers will open for Wilkinson.
The mood turns instrumental when the Bob Mintzer Big Band takes the stage at 8 p.m. the same evening. Since 1991, Mintzer has produced 21 big band CDs released in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, in addition to the United States. Add to that another 18 albums featuring him in solo or small-group performances, 33 Yellowjackets CDs (a jazz quartet) and over 120 albums where Mintzer is featured as a guest performer with the likes of Steve Winwood, Bobby McFerrin, Buddy Rich, Mel Lewis and a host of others.
Mintzer has been nominated for 13 Grammy awards, both for his solo work and big band recordings, and his work with the Yellowjackets. His "Homage to Count Basie" won the Grammy in the best large ensemble category at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards in 2001.
Opening for Mintzer are the NWC Jazz Band and the Wyoming International Association of Jazz Educators Allstate Jazz Band.
For more information, e-mail Neil Hansen or call 307-754-6427 (toll free 800-560-4692, ext. 6427).
The Northwest Jazz Festival is supported in part by a grant from the VSA Arts of Wyoming, the Wyoming Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.