Michigan State University’s Be-Bop Spartans, a 22-member student jazz orchestra, will perform selections from their repertoire of jazz, soul, swing, blues, and gospel on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. at Fricano’s, 1050 W. Western Ave. in Muskegon.
Special guest artist will be jazz drummer Kenny Washington, who has compiled an enormous discography, performing on dozens of sessions by many prominent jazz figures, including Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton.
The event, which begins at 3 p.m., is sponsored by the Muskegon Community College music program. Tickets are $5 general admission and free for any student with ID. Tickets will be sold at the door.
The Be-Bop Spartans are conducted by internationally renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist, Rodney Whitaker. A Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at MSU, Whitaker has built one of the nation’s leading jazz degree programs and performing faculty. Over the past 25 years, he has performed and toured with more than 100 legendary performing jazz artists.
Comprised of Jazz Orchestra I students, the group’s instrumentation includes saxophone, trombone, trumpet, bass, drums, piano, and guitar. The members frequently participate in community residencies throughout Michigan and conduct workshops, concerts, and master classes with children in various Michigan public schools through the College of Music’s outreach and engagement program.
This ensemble has been featured at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Detroit International Jazz festival, Notre Dame Jazz festival, Elmhurst Collegiate Jazz Festival, University of Trinidad & Tobago, the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, and has toured Japan. Students also have the unique opportunity to work, perform, network with and be mentored by jazz artists of the highest caliber who come to campus for four one-week residencies funded by an endowment from the MSU Federal Credit.
For more information, contact the MCC Arts and Humanities Department at (231) 777-0324.