GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Leading jazz artists steeped in tradition and revered for blazing new horizons will share their talents and drive with students across Michigan as the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence program kicks off its seventh year this October.

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 include artists Tanya Darby, Kenny Washington, Bruce Barth and Terell Stafford.

“Jazz is an art form built on teaching and sharing,” said Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker“Our jazz residency program is devoted to ensuring young musicians thrive by providing opportunities for them to directly learn jazz style and technique from experienced, working artists. We’re also preserving the past and ensuring the future by providing a time-tested means of passing along the language of jazz to the next generation.”

Jazz trumpeter Tanya Darby will be the first of four scheduled artists coming to MSU for week long residencies, two per semester each academic year. 

The established performer and educator will be with MSU Jazz Studies and traveling 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.

During her residency, Darby will mentor College of Music students and perform for the public. She will also visit high schools and art academies statewide, accompanied by MSU Jazz Orchestra I, the College’s premier student jazz ensemble. Darby performs with MSU Jazz Orchestras I, II and III on Friday, Oct. 11, 8 p.m., at Fairchild Theatre, in the MSU Auditorium.

“Tanya is sure to kick-off our seventh season with finesse, enthusiasm and style,” said Whittaker. “She’s a natural born educator and mentor. Plus her amazing portfolio of experience with large jazz ensembles, orchestras and big bands is an ideal match for our blues-based program.”

Following Darby, drummer Kenny Washington, pianist Bruce Barth and trumpeter Terell Stafford will jazz up the winter and spring through separate, week long 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.

Artist Schedules

Jazz Artist in Residence: Tanya Darby, trumpet

Residency Schedule Overview

October 7-13, 2019

Tanya Darby’s skill as a trumpeter keeps her in demand. The California native has been a member of several jazz orchestras and big bands, toured with artists like Dianne Reeves, Clark Terry and Gladys Knight, and performed with Aretha Franklin in a special on NBC. Darby performs regularly and chairs the brass area at Berklee College of Music.

  • Monday, Oct. 7, Press Day, MSFCU Blue Monday at MSUFCU Headquarters
  • Tuesday, Oct. 8, Rehearsals and Workshops at MSU
  • Wednesday, Oct. 9, Byron Center High School, Van Singel Center, Byron Center
  • Thursday, Oct. 10, MSU Community Music School-Detroit, Detroit
  • Friday, Oct. 11, MSU Fairchild Theatre with MSU Jazz Orchestras, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 12, Ludington High School, Peterson Auditorium, Ludington
  • Sunday, Oct. 13, Charlevoix High School, Charlevoix

RELATED VIDEO:

MORE on 13 ON YOUR SIDE:

►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Love My West Michigan? Check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.