MICHIGAN STATE’S EXTENDED WINNING STREAK
MICHIGAN STATE’S PLAN TO EXTEND THEIR WINNING STREAK
Michigan State Department of Jazz Studies is on a tear. With a series of non-competitive actions Rodney Whittaker has succeeded in outflanking complacency in Michigan’s music scene. Michigan State is not alone in creating dynamic jazz programs for Southeastern Michigan. Detroit’s jazz programs for youth include Wayne State, Michigan, Eastern, Oakland, the Detroit Symphony, and the Detroit Jazz Festival. Young musicians know that our schools are continuing to turn out fully formed and ready to go jazz artists. We are rich in programs with some of the best teachers in the world. In the past I have often referred to Detroit as the place where jazz went to school. It still is.
MICHIGAN STATE JAZZ STUDIES
Michigan State’s Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker, one of America’s highest regarded bass players, is also one of the country’s highest regarded educators. Perhaps because of Rodney’s influence internationally, the MSU Jazz Studies Program that he heads is attracting students from around the world and is drawing nationally and internationally renowned faculty members from the highest ranks of the jazz community.
Courses at MSU are taught through master classes, private studies, and studio classes.
Guest artists to the program have included Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Jeff Hamilton, Jimmy Heath, Ingrid Jensen, Frank Morgan, Eric Reed, Cyrus Chestnut, Jon Faddis, Jimmy Cobb, Carl Allen, Vanessa Ruben, Jeremy Pelt, Antonio Hart, Walter Blanding, Andrew Speight, Andre Hayward, the Tia Fuller Quartet, and other jazz greats.
DETROIT’S GREAT TRADITION OF MENTORING
Students and faculty frequently participate in community residencies throughout Michigan and conduct workshops, concerts, and master classes with children in various public schools in Lansing and Detroit through the College of Music’s outreach and engagement program.
MSU has run their Community Music School in East Lansing for more than twenty years, where they enroll an average of 3,000 students annually and partner with 24 other programs. Rodney Whittaker is also spreading the magic of jazz to Detroit’s young people where their program is taking root and growing.
I know that Detroit’s influence on music has historically come from it’s powerful tradition of passing the torch of knowledge from generation to generation. It is our strength. I also know that it requires a steady supply of earnest teachers. Guys and gals with the chops who want to continue the tradition and are willing to give of their time. The quality of the mentors has always been the key. I have had the privilege to watch and listen to these great artists demonstrate and explain their craft to wide eyed kids. Incredible moments where everyone is winning.
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE
MICHAEL DEASE, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF JAZZ TROMBONE AT MSU
Michael Dease is one of those who is both contributing and benefiting from the programs at Michigan State University.
Michael brings some massive creds with him.
He was part of the historic first class of jazz students at The Juilliard School where he earned both his Bachelors and Masters degrees. He soon was recognized as a brilliant soloist and sideman and remains a sought after two-time Grammy award winning bass trombonist with today’s leading jazz orchestras. He has played with the likes of Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Charles Tolliver, Rufus Reid, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. He deserves his worldwide recognition.
Dease is a passionate and effective teacher He is now an East Lansing resident where he teaches jazz trombone, jazz improvisation and conducts jazz orchestra in the Michigan State University College of Music Jazz Studies program. Many of Michael Dease’s current and former students have already won success in the music world.
Now we are the winners.. Michael will be playing at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café with his cohorts all this week.