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Dec. 4, 2020

MSU College of Music brings jazz to the holidays

Annual concert to provide festive cheer with a special holiday video presentation

Jazz lovers can swing into the holiday season by streaming a selection of modern jazz tunes and Christmas classics curated by the MSU Professors of Jazz. The 13th annual “A Jazzy Little Christmas” will feature video selections from the past of this popular holiday tradition through the College of Music. The special “Best Of” edition is free to the public and premieres at 8 p.m.,  Saturday, Dec. 12 on the MSU College of Music Livestream Channel, and is available in real time or through on-demand viewing after the premiere. 


The MSU Professors of Jazz features seven jazz faculty members from the College of Music. Prior to COVID-19 and public health measures related to live music, the ensemble performed several times a year at benefits, clinics and concert halls — including Orchestra Hall, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. 


Members of the “hard-bop” MSU Professors of Jazz include: Etienne Charles, trumpet; Xavier Davis, piano; Michael Dease, trombone; Randy Gelispie, drums; Randy Napoleon, jazz guitar; Diego Rivera, tenor saxophone; Rodney Whitaker, bass. Additional MSU artists in the video concert includes trumpeter Alphonso Horne, and trombonist Eric Miller. 


“The Best of A Jazzy Little Christmas” will feature popular renditions of holiday favorites specially arranged for jazz and with some of the jazz professors’ own improvisational twists. Curated selections for the 2020 program include: “Joy to the World”, “Silent Night”, “This is Christmas”, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, “I’ll be Home for Christmas”, “Jingle Bells”, “Christmas Time is Here” and several other memorable selections. 


“Every member of the Professors of Jazz simply loves this concert and celebrating the season through these very special pieces,” said Bassist Rodney Whitaker, ensemble director and director of MSU jazz studies. “All these pieces come with special memories — both for us and for our audience. Our hope is to bring cheer and warm hearts every year, and especially during this unusual and emotional time.” 


“A Jazzy Little Christmas” is part of the Showcase Series generously sponsored by the MSU Federal Credit Union. This concert is generously sponsored by Wolverine Development Corporation, Joseph Maguire and Brenda Sternquist. 

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