February 17, 1999
MEDIA CONTACT: Marjorie Seipt, 509/372-7231
MICHAEL POWERS GROUP TO PERFORM AT WSU TRI-CITIES FEB. 26
        TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Northwest jazz great Michael Powers and his touring group will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Washington State University at Tri-Cities Auditorium as part of the university's Black History Month celebration.
        Sponsored by the Associated Students of WSU Tri-Cities, the concert is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.
        Along with guitarist Powers, the group's members are Garey Williams, drums; Paul Richardson, keyboards; and Douglas Barnett, bass/vocals.
        Powers, who describes his music as "contemporary instrumental," was born in New York City in 1960, but grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. His musical career began as therapy, when at 15, he took up strumming the guitar to strengthen his wrist after a skateboard accident.
        Later that same year, after graduating from Berkeley High School, he moved to Seattle and frequented local jam sessions, developing his style by playing with all types of bands: jazz, rock, blues, R&B and Top 40. He was influenced by a diverse group of musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Charlie Parker, George Benson, Stanley Jordan, Miles Davis and Kevin Eubanks.
        Powers has produced five full-length releases. His self-produced and self-distributed debut album, "First Time Out," won the 1989 Jazz Album of the Year Award from the Northwest Area Music Association, beating out such popular figures as Kenny G. He received even broader recognition as a NAMA nominee for 1990 Northwest Artist of the Year and went on to win Best Northwest Electric Guitarist in 1991 and the Earshot Golden Ear awards for best Northwest Jazz Group (Electric) in 1991, 1993 and 1994.
        On stage, Powers has shared billing with Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Diane Schuur, Gladys Knight and the Pips, David Benoit and the Yellowjackets, among others.
        The WSU Tri-Cities campus is located just north of Hanford High School in Richland.
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