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Published: Thursday, 2/9/2006

All-female jazz group opens Owens' Black History Month observance

Formed out of the lively Detroit jazz scene in the 1980s, the all-female jazz group Straight Ahead presents a historical journey in blues and R&B to kick off Owens Community College's celebration of Black History Month.

The event, scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. Saturday in Owens' Center for Fine and Performing Arts in the Mainstage Theatre is titled "Blues Women of the 20th Century."

The group, which includes vocalist Audrey Northington, flutist Althea Rene, pianist Eilen Orr, bassist Marion Hayden, and drummer Gayelynn McKinney, is recognized for its eclectic and soulful approach to creating music.

The local performance will include music from artists such as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, and Aretha Franklin, interspersed with witty musical jokes and historical narratives aimed at appealing to audiences of all ages, said Barbara Barkan, Owens operating manager for the Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

Straight Ahead performs at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at Owens Community College. Tickets, $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, and $10 for Owens students, are available from the Owens box office or www.stagetix.com. Information: 567-661-2787.

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