MSU Welcomes Jazz Saxophonist for Residency

Tim Warfield Jr. swings into East Lansing through MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence Program, Feb. 29 to March 6.

Courtesy Tim Warfield Music. Photo by Steve Stoltzfus

Music aficionados can take an energizing leap into spring when a contemporary jazz saxophonist with a swinging pedigree visits Michigan State University College of Music for a weeklong residency supported by a $1 million endowment from the MSU Federal Credit Union

Jazz saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr. will be at MSU from Feb. 29 to March 6 where he will teach and work with students through the MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence program. While in residence, Warfield will instruct, perform and tour with MSU's Jazz Orchestra I during a seven-day 'gig' packed with workshops and campus concerts. Warfield and the jazz orchestra will also take to the road to visit music and jazz programs at public schools and academies in Royal Oak, Spring Lake, Alma and Detroit. See schedule below.

“Tim is a musician whose notoriety isn’t measured by who he’s played with, rather by who has played with him,” says Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies, Saxophone, and Improvisation Diego Rivera. “However, his lessons of life, dedication and artistry through music are among his most important teachings. His musicianship is surpassed only by his humanity and it’s apparent when students are in his presence.”

Tim Warfield, Jr. began studying the saxophone at age 9 and placed third at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in 1991. He has appeared on television and stage, including the Today Show and Ted Turner's Trumpet Awards, and with such notables as Donald Byrd, Michelle Rosewoman, Marcus Miller, Marlon Jordan, James Williams, Christian McBride, Winard Harper, Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Coles, Leslie Burrs, Isaac Hayes, Peter Nero, Shirley Scott, Jimmy Smith and Kenny Barron.

Warfield, Jr. has played on several Grammy-nominated recordings. His latest release, “Spherical: Dedicated to Thelonious Sphere Monk,” came out in March 2015 on the Criss Cross label. A native of York, Pa., Warfield, Jr. serves as artist-in-residence at Messiah College, and as adjunct music faculty member at Temple University in Philadelphia. He recently joined the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia under the direction of Terell Stafford. 

Warfield will perform with MSU Jazz Orchestra I, directed by Rodney Whitaker, at the Fairchild Theatre in the MSU Auditorium on Friday, March 4, at 8 p.m. The concert will also include performances from MSU Jazz Orchestras II and III.

“Jazz is all about working together as performers and about mentorship,” says Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker. “The MSU Federal Credit Union makes it possible for us to reinforce that tradition, and to provide our students with world-class experiences.”

General admission tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, free for students with ID or under 18, and are available from the College of Music box office—in person at the Music Building, Room 102, 333 W. Circle Drive or over the phone at (517) 353-5340, online at, or at the door one hour before the show.

Now in its third year, the innovative jazz residency program continues to attract high-level talent and serves as a model for jazz studies programs nationwide. Jazz Saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr. is the fourth of four critically acclaimed jazz artists in residence for the 2015-16 season. Residencies in 2015-16 included jazz trumpeter Brian Lynch in October, legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb in December, and jazz pianist Kenny Barron in mid-February.

Schedule: MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence Tim Warfield, Jr.

  • Monday, Feb. 29, Press Day: Detroit, Mich.
  • Monday, Feb. 29, Blue Monday, 6 p.m., MSU Professors of Jazz with Tim Warfield, Jr.
    Venue: MSU Federal Credit Union, 3777 West Road, East Lansing, Mich. (for members of MSUFCU)
  • Tuesday, March 1, Rehearsals and Workshops: Jazz Studies students at MSU College of Music
  • Wednesday, March 2, School Visit: Royal Oak High School
    Venue: 7 p.m., Royal Oak High School, 1500 Lexington Blvd., Royal Oak, Mich.
  • Thursday, March 3, School Visit: Spring Lake High School
    Venue: 7 p.m., Spring Lake High School, 16140 148th Ave., Spring Lake, Mich.
  • Friday, March 4, Performance: College of Music 
    Venue: 8 p.m., Jazz Orchestra I; MSU College of Music, Fairchild Theatre,
  • Saturday, March 5, School Visit: Alma High School, Alma, Mich.
    Venue: 7 p.m., Alma High School, 1500 N. Pine Ave., Alma, Mich.
  • Sunday, March 6, School Visit: Carr Center, Detroit, Mich.
    Venue: 7 p.m., Carr Center, 311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit, Mich.

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