Truncated MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program still had an amazing year.

Leading jazz artists steeped in tradition and revered for blazing new horizons once again shared their talents and drive with students across Michigan as the MSU Jazz Artist in Residence program celebrated its seventh year at Michigan State University beginning in fall 2019.

Launched in 2013, the pioneering residency program imports high-level talent to spend a week mentoring MSU jazz studies students and K-12 students at schools and academies across the state. Coordinated by the MSU College of Music and supported by a $1 million endowment by the MSU Federal Credit Union, the program follows the jazz tradition of established musicians passing on their knowledge to aspiring musicians, while enriching often resource-strapped jazz programs in urban and rural communities. The dynamic 2019-20 lineup of working musicians, educators and composers included artists Tanya Darby, Kenny Washington, and Bruce Barth. Terell Stafford, scheduled as the fourth artist of the year, was postponed due to the pandemic, but he returned as the first artist of 2020-21.

Jazz trumpeter Tanya Darby was the first to visit MSU in 2019-2020 for a weeklong residency. The established performer and educator performed with MSU Jazz Studies and traveled statewide from Monday, Oct. 7, to Sunday, Oct. 13. Darby is a veteran member of renowned groups, large ensembles, jazz orchestras and big bands including the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Roy Hargrove Big Band, DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Michel Camilo Big Band, Rufus Reid Large Ensemble and Manhattan Jazz Orchestra. Her high-energy style keeps her in demand as a performer, master clinician and educator, and as an adjudicator at numerous festivals. She is currently chair of the brass area at the Berklee College of Music.

Following Darby, drummer Kenny Washington and pianist Bruce Barth jazzed up the winter in separate, weeklong residencies. The MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program represents the largest-ever investment in the College’s jazz program and provides one-on-one instruction, collaboration and performance opportunities with some of the world’s best jazz musicians. The impressive lineup over the years has included:

  • Year One 2013-14: Saxophonist Antonio Hart, Trumpeter Jon Faddis and Drummer Jeff Hamilton
  • Year Two 2014-15: Bassist Christian McBride, Trombonist Robin Eubanks, Guitarist Peter Bernstein, and Michigan icons Saxophonist Vincent Bowens and Drummer Tim Froncek
  • Year Three 2015-16: Trumpeter Brian Lynch, Drummer Jimmy Cobb, Pianist Kenny Barron and Saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr.
  • Year Four 2016-17: Guitarist Russell Malone, Bassist Rufus Reid, Clarinetist-Saxophonist Anat Cohen and Trombonist Conrad Herwig
  • Year Five 2017-18: Trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman, Drummer Harvey Mason, Pianist Helen Sung and Saxophonist Steve Wilson
  • Year Six 2018-2019: Saxophonist Melissa Aldana, Guitarist Mark Whitfield, Bassist Mimi Jones and Trombonist Steve Davis

Each year, artists in residence travel with MSU’s jazz ensembles to give 16 performances across the state in support of jazz programs at non-profit organizations and at middle and high schools. All combined, the residencies of the 24 artists to-date included workshops, concerts, events and outreach to more than 29,000 students and adults in communities across Michigan.

Read more about the success of the 2019-2020 activities in this article on the MSU College of Music website.