MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence

Jazz luminary Brian Lynch shares trumpet mastery through MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program.

Brian Lynch performs with the MSU Professors of Jazz during the MSU Federal Credit Union’s Blue Mondays concert series. Photo by Jessica Cowles
On stage, left to right, at the Blue Mondays jazz concert: Randy Napoleon, Brian Lynch, Rodney Whitaker, Etienne Charles, and Michael Dease. Photo by Jessica Cowles.
MSU Federal Credit Union President and CEO April Clobes, addresses the audience during the Blue Monday jazz concert. Photo by Jessica Cowles.
Brian Lynch conducts a workshop for the MSU Jazz Studies department. Shown left to right playing with Lynch are Joe Vasquez, Walter Cano, Francesca Romero, Alex Larionov, and Zack Adleman.
Brian Lynch performs with MSU Jazz Orchestra 1 during their visit to the Shabazz Academy in Lansing, Mich.
Etienne Charles and Brian Lynch at the Blue Mondays concert just after performing Freddie Hubbard's solo together on the song "Birdlike."
Left to right, Brian Lynch, Gerand McDowell, Rodney Whitaker, and Randy Gelispie, perform live during WKAR's Current State radio program.
Brian Lynch with Cory Kendrick, piano, and Rodney Whitaker, bass perform at Fox 2 studios in Detroit.

Etienne Charles knows a thing or two about the trumpet. So when it came time for the MSU assistant professor of jazz trumpet to recommend a musician for a weeklong residency program through the MSU College of Music Jazz Studies program, one name rose to the top of his list: Brian Lynch.

“Brian Lynch is a trumpeter of the highest caliber,” says Charles. “He plays with fire and grace, and has a beautiful spirit and a brilliant mind. I knew he would be perfect for our students.”

Lynch visited the university Oct. 5-11 as part of the third year of the Jazz Artist in Residency program made possible through a $1 million endowment from the MSU Federal Credit Union. The Grammy Award-winning trumpeter was the first of four critically acclaimed artists this academic year to mentor and perform with jazz students at MSU, as well as with students at schools, colleges and academies in Lansing and in western and southeastern Michigan. Lynch’s packed residency also included public performances at the MSU Federal Credit Union and Fairchild Theatre on campus.

Lynch has emerged as a vital force in the hardcore, straight-ahead and Latin Jazz communities through his long tenures with Afro-Caribbean pioneer Eddie Palmieri and bebop maestro Phil Woods. An honored graduate of two of the jazz world’s most distinguished academies—Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and the Horace Silver Quintet—he has collaborated with jazz artists such as Benny Golson, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Charles McPherson; Latin music icons such as Hector LaVoe and Lila Downs; and pop luminaries like Prince. Lynch has released 19 critically acclaimed CDs, received multiple Grammy nominations and has been awarded numerous grants, including one from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“He’s also a very well-respected teacher,” says Charles. “He’s extremely clear and definitive in his instruction. He’s very thorough and breaks exercises down in tempo and in length so students maximize their learning.”

MSU Jazz Studies senior Walter Cano says he was thrilled when he heard Lynch was coming to campus, and related a similar observation about the trumpeter’s ability to share, listen and advise on technique.

“He was very kind and willing to answer questions, and he specifically helped me out after one concert,” says Cano, who plays trumpet. “He also shared a lot of stories about playing with some legendary bands and performers. He painted a vivid picture of what it’s like to be coming up with titans of music.”

Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker says that bringing jazz luminaries like Lynch to MSU puts the College on the map as a center for jazz study and tradition, and supports the College’s initiatives to engage students and communities statewide through music education and performance.

“We’re extremely grateful to the MSU Federal Credit Union for a gift that propels us toward the highest standards of excellence,” says Whitaker. “Because of their generosity, we’re able to bring jazz masters to campus year-after-year, and support the traditions and evolution of a great American art form.”

The MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program represents the largest-ever investment in the College of Music’s curriculum. The 2015-2016 program features a blazing line-up of critically acclaimed musicians from the international, national, and regional scene, including Trumpeter Brian Lynch, Drummer Jimmy Cobb, Pianist Kenny Barron, and Saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr.

WKAR’s Current State radio interview

Audio courtesy WKAR

Fox 2 Detroit morning news program

Link to October 4, 2015 television interview

Recap: On the Road with Brian Lynch

While an MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence in October, jazz trumpeter Brian Lynch took to the road with Jazz Orchestra I as part of MSU’s efforts to bring jazz performance and education to Michigan high schools, music academies, and colleges.

Destinations and highlights:

  • West Shore Community College . . . 50 students attended an outreach concert for more than 275 community members, and a jam session for 200 students and community members.
  • Byron Center High School . . 70 students participated in workshops and an outreach concert for more than 500 community members.
  • Shabazz Public School Academy . . . 195 students attended an outreach concert for the academy and community members.

What people said:

“Every year, we are fortunate to be one of the stops for the MSU BeBop Spartans. This experience is not only one of high musical integrity, but also serves as a point of information for students who are interested in continuing their education at a four-year university. The MSU BeBop Spartans, with the generous support of the MSU Federal Credit Union, have touched the lives of many people north of the ‘I-96 border,’ and specifically those of the Mason, Oceana, and Manistee Counties. We look forward to a continued collaboration and would like to thank everyone involved in making this experience happen for our surrounding communities.”

–Ted Malt, Director of the West Shore Community College of Performing Arts and Professor of Studies

“Once again, we are in awe of the experience that Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra One brings to our school every year! The guest, Brian Lynch, was wonderful with our students.  We are very grateful for our relationship with MSU.”

–Marc Townley Band Director Byron Center High School

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