A brilliant array of artists headline MSU Jazz for a third consecutive year.

Stars aligned for the third consecutive year as the MSU College of Music welcomed a brilliant array of jazz performers to teach, mentor, and perform for the 2015-16 MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program thanks to a $1 million endowment from the MSU Federal Credit Union.

“The unparalleled gift from the MSU Federal Credit Union puts MSU on the map as a center of jazz education, innovation, and study,” says James Forger, dean of the MSU College of Music. “The Credit Union’s generosity and vision helps ensure that American Jazz will thrive and be a treasured, living art form for generations to come.”

The innovative residency program continues to attract high-level talent and serve as a model for jazz studies programs nationwide. The 2015-16 residency program featured legendary and critically acclaimed musicians from the jazz scene, including Brian Lynch, Jimmy Cobb, Kenny Barron, and Tim Warfield, Jr.


Trumpeter Brian Lynch kicked off the residency in October, followed by drummer Jimmy Cobb in December. Opening the spring semester were pianist Kenny Barron in February followed by saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr. in March. The star-studded lineup provided MSU students and local and regional school communities a rare opportunity to listen to and learn from legendary greats who have contributed to landmark recordings and have been recognized as Jazz Masters by the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Every where I go and everyone I meet asks how we are doing what we're doing,” says Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker. “The gift from the MSU Federal Credit Union makes it possible for us to bring in amazing talent and attract the best and the brightest students and faculty. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, and allows our program to model excellence.” 

Ensembles of the MSU Jazz Studies program toured with the Jazz Artists in Residence from locations reaching to Ludington and Traverse City in northern lower Michigan and spanning east and west to regional communities of Grand Rapids and Detroit.

The MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program represents the largest-ever investment in the College’s curriculum and provides one-on-one instruction, collaboration, and performance opportunities with some of the world’s best jazz musicians.

A total of twelve artists have participated in the residency since its inaugural 2013-14 season. Guest artists in addition to the 2015-16 season include: Antonio Hart, saxophone; Jon Faddis, trumpet; Jeff Hamilton, drums; Christian McBride, bass; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Peter Bernstein, guitar; Vincent Bowens, saxophone; and Tim Froncek, drums.

“Arts and culture are key components of strong, vibrant communities where people want to live, work, and play,” says April Clobes, president and CEO of the MSUFCU. “This gift to the College of Music helps build that framework, and provides exceptional opportunities for students and our community to experience jazz—one of our nation's greatest artistic treasures.”

MSU’s Jazz Studies program was founded in 2001 and excels in community outreach, engagement, and performance opportunities. Musically active faculty help strengthen college programming and instruction in blues-based jazz through professional connections, chart-topping recordings, and frequent performances across the U.S. and abroad.

See MSU Federal Credit Union Board of Directors Report

2015/16 MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence Program

October 5 – 11, 2015
Brian Lynch
, jazz trumpet 
Trumpeter Brian Lynch is a vital force and legend within the hardcore, straight ahead, and Latin Jazz communities. 

November 30 – December 6, 2015
Jimmy Cobb
, jazz drums
Legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb is the elder statesman of all the Miles Davis bands.

February 8 – 14, 2016
Kenny Barron, jazz piano
Honored by The National Endowment for the Arts as a 2010 Jazz Master, Kenny Barron mesmerizes audiences with his elegant and infectious rhythms.

February 16-20, 2016 
Tim Warfield, Jr.
, jazz saxophone
Tim Warfield, Jr. began studying the saxophone at age 9 and placed third at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in 1991.