"I felt honored and overwhelmed when they announced us as winners," said Duane Smith, bandleader and trumpet player. "The musicians in this particular contest were awesome. They were very talented and seasoned musicians in their fields."
The Fuzz Band played a 15-minute set with an original instrumental song "Bliss", and both "Crossroads" and "Notmah" from the "Without Boundaries" album.
"I think having our own distinct sound and voice is what separated us from the competition," Smith said. "The other bands were excellent, but we added a unique element that I believe the judges and the audience noted."
The Aaron Broadus Group, Rick McLemore, Rodney McCoy & Deepocket, Brian Lenair and London's own Project the Beat were the other competitors. Jazz Fest officials announced that 160 various artists entered the Challenge.
The six finalists received $500 before competing for the grand prize of the first Capital Jazz Fest, which was sponsored by WHUR 96.3 FM, the Washington Post and Omni Media.
"We are extremely proud and hope that this open doors for us and other independent label artists," said Paul Saunders, CEO of Peach Fuzz Entertainment and the band's manager.
The Fuzz Band also earned Ninevolt Magazine's Virginia Music Award for Best R&B/Hip Hop Artists of the Year in February. Bass guitarist, John Stratford, also received the Best Bassist of the Year VMA. In December, The Fuzz Band was voted the No. 1 band in Virginia by 96X FM after competing with 49 other bands in a multi-genre competition.
The Fuzz Band performs every Wednesday at Fuzzy Wednesdays at Relative Theory Records in Norfolk and also every Friday at Alice Mae's Soulfood Restaurant in Norfolk. "Without Boundaries" is available at FYE and online at www.thefuzzband.com
For more information about the Capital Jazz Fest visit www.capitaljazz.com