Announcing: 2016 Jazz Spectacular Series

Jazz Spectacular offers three days of jazz music, dancing, legendary guests.

The Jazz Studies area in the MSU College of Music presents its 36th Annual Jazz Spectacular Thursday, April 14 - Saturday, April 16 in four venues across the MSU campus. The festival kicks off with a performance by four MSU Jazz Octets with guest drummer Louis Hayes, followed by a swing dance with live music by the BeBop Spartans Jazz Orchestras. On Saturday, a regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band competition takes place, and that evening, a finale concert with the winning high school band of the day, Jazz Orchestras and guest artist Hayes will be happening.

Special guest artist Hayes, a Detroit native, grew up surrounded by music. He began playing the drums at the age of 10 and has since performed with artists like Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Sonny Rolling, JJ Johnson, Ravi Shankar, and Freddie Hubbard. He has received several awards including The DownBeat New Star Award, Spirit of Detroit Award, and United States House of Representatives Special Tribute Award.

“Jazz Spectacular has been an integral part of the Jazz Studies area at MSU for 36 years,” says Rodney Whitaker, university-distinguished professor of jazz bass and director of jazz studies. “It is an effective and energetic way to bring students—both at the college and high school levels, professionals, and the community together through jazz and swing.” The festival is a great way to get high school students on campus to see what kind of opportunities they can pursue in music after high school, and the swing dance is always a fan favorite, Whitaker continues. “We are all really looking forward to having the legendary Louis Hayes join in the festivities this year.” 

Media Release (PDF)

36th Annual Jazz Spectacular Schedule of Events

Thursday, April 14
Jazz Octets I, II, III, IV concert with Louis Hayes, jazz drums
7:30 p.m. Cook Recital Hall, Music Building
Tickets: $10, $8 seniors, free for students

Friday, April 15
Swing Dance with music by Jazz Orchestras I, II, III
8 p.m. Demonstration Hall
Tickets: $10, $8 seniors, free for students

Saturday, April 16
Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Regional Competition
8 a.m. – 6 p.m. MSU Union Main Lounge, FREE

Saturday, April 16
Jazz Spectacular Finale Concert with Louis Hayes, jazz drums, and MSU Jazz Orchestras
8 p.m. Fairchild Theatre, MSU Auditorium
Tickets: $25, $20 seniors, $15 students

Jazz Spectacular is generously sponsored by Jeff Williams and Joy Whitten.

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