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NWC News Desk

Hornheads and Groove Society headline March 26 Northwest Jazz Festival concert

Posted March 17, 2009

POWELL, Wyo. - The Thursday, March 26, Northwest Jazz Festival concert is one of those "back by popular demand" performances. The Hornheads and Groove Society, who performed to enthusiastic crowds at previous festivals, are back to headline the 7 p.m. concert held this year in the Cody High School Auditorium.

The award-winning Groove Society is a vocal jazz sextet ascending as one of the top stars on the world a cappella scene. In 2006 the group was named "Vocal Group of the Year" by the JPF International Music Awards, in addition to claiming Best A Cappella Album and Best A Cappella Song. A year later, Groove Society received the IAJE Award for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education at the International Association for Jazz Education convention in New York City.

The release of their debut CD generated airplay on major market jazz and National Public Radio stations from coast to coast and around the world. They have appeared at international jazz festivals across the mainland United States, Hawaii, and Canada, sharing the billing with or opening for artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, The Neville Brothers, Eddie Palmieri, Styx and many more.

The group's repertoire includes the full spectrum of jazz styles as well as rhythm and blues and popular music infused with extended jazz harmonies.

The Hornheads came together in the early 1990s when Prince wanted a five-piece powerhouse horn section to tour with him and the New Power Generation. On tour from 1991-94, and known as New Power Generation Hornz, the group performed for over 2 million concert goers in 20 countries.

During a lull in the mid-'90s when Prince wasn't recording as much, the section got together to keep in musical shape. After writing and expanding new pieces, they ended up recording them for a demo CD. The response was global and overwhelming. Since then, they've been on their own, performing as The Hornheads.

With music videos, television shows and a dozen Prince recording projects under their belt, the group has been sought after to perform or record with artists like Janet Jackson, Rod Stewart, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Louie Bellson, Ray Charles, Clark Terry, Sammy Davis Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Doc Severinsen, Burt Bacharach, Natalie Cole, Donny Osmond, Johnny Mathis, Michael Bolton, Trisha Yearwood, Lenny Kravitz, The Time and many others.

The Northwest Jazz Festival pre-show starts at 7 p.m. with the Northwest College Jazz Band I and Studio Singers. The Wyoming Allstate Jazz Choir takes the stage at 7:30 p.m., followed by the headline acts.

Tickets are $20 apiece. They can be purchased locally at the Nelson Performing Arts Center and Northwest College Bookstore in Powell, and at the Newsstand in Cody, or online.

For more information, e-mail Neil Hansen or call (307) 754-6427 or toll free (800) 560-4692, ext. 6427.

The Northwest Jazz Festival is supported in part by the Wyoming Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.