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Oct. 5, 2020

MSUFCU Jazz Artist- in-Residence program goes virtual, retains dynamic flair

Terrel Stafford jazzes up start to eighth season in early October.

A prominent jazz artist with impressive chops as an educator will share his talents and knowledge as the MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program streams performances and hosts interactive virtual sessions for the start of its eighth year.

New York-based jazz trumpeter Terell Stafford will kick off the dynamic 2020-21 lineup of working musicians, educators and composers with a residency that combines virtual and socially-distanced elements. Considered among the best in the business, Stafford was originally slated for March 2020, but rescheduled to bring his lyrical, expressive style to campus after MSU switched to remote teaching and performance during the pandemic. Stafford will be in residence at MSU from Oct. 5–9.

“Our jazz residency program is devoted to ensuring young musicians thrive by giving them opportunities to learn jazz language, style and technique from experienced, working artists,” said Rodney Whitaker, director of jazz studies. “Mentoring will look a little different this year, but our visiting artists are so exceptional that their artistry and teaching will remain highly personal and energizing. Terell Stafford is a gifted musician and teacher, and the absolute perfect artist to start this unusual season.”

Since 2013, the pioneering residency program at the MSU College of Music has brought high-level talent to engage with MSU jazz studies students and K-12 youth from all across Michigan. Because of the pandemic, artists will deliver performances, workshops and educational sessions through webinars and video conferencing.

Sessions will be tailored for different audiences throughout the visit, including MSU jazz studies students, high school students, students at the MSU Community Music Schools in East Lansing and Detroit, and the general public. The residency culminates with a video performance of the guest artist with MSU Jazz Orchestras that is free and open to the public via the college’s Livestream and YouTube channels on October 9.

Coordinated by the MSU College of Music and supported by a $1 million endowment by the MSU Federal Credit Union, the residency program follows the jazz tradition of established artists and teachers passing on their knowledge to aspiring musicians. The program also enriches financially challenged school districts through jazz workshops, webinars and virtual visits with artists in residence and the MSU Jazz Studies program.

Stafford is the director of jazz studies and chair of instrumental studies at Temple University, founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet, and managing and artistic director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. He attended the University of Maryland and Rutgers University on the suggestion of Wynton Marsalis. At Rutgers, he joined Bobby Watson’s group, Horizon, and later McCoy Tyner and the Latin All-Stars.

Since the mid-1990s, Stafford has performed with Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, Jimmy Heath Quintet and Big Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band. He has played in bands led by Cedar Walton, Sadao Watanabe, Herbie Mann and Matt Wilson, and appeared on "The Tonight Show," "Rosie O’Donnell Show," "You Bet your Life" and on NPR’s "Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center."

His debut album, "Time to Let Go" (Candid 1995), was followed by numerous award-winning releases. He appears on over 130 albums, and on TV and film scores including "A Bronx Tale" and the documentary "Treme: Untold Story of Black New Orleans."

Now in its eighth year, the MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence program attracts high-level talent and serves as a model for jazz studies programs nationwide. All combined, the residencies of the 26 artists to-date included workshops, concerts, events and outreach to more than 35,000 students and adults at non-profit organizations, middle and high schools and communities across Michigan.

Stafford is the first in the versatile line-up of MSUFCU Jazz Artists in Residence currently scheduled for the 2020-21 season, followed by jazz guitarist Dave Stryker in December, jazz trombonist, bassist and MSU alumna Marion Hayden in November, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon in February, and saxophonist Charles McPherson in March.

Stafford will be facilitating and performing over three days through virtual outreach activities, many open to the public. The signature event open to the public features Stafford with the MSU Jazz Orchestras at 8 p.m. , Friday, Oct. 9.

Performances with the MSU Jazz Orchestras will be recorded remotely and presented for viewing through a broadcast on the college’s Livestream and YouTube channels. Additional public-facing virtual activities through Stafford’s residency include question and answer sessions with the artist and webinar discussions of jazz concepts based on recorded examples.

Virtual sessions not open to the public include an instrumental workshop, jazz pedagogy class and an improvisation class for MSU Jazz Studies students. Sessions will be recorded and released to high schools and jazz academies post residency.

Patrons and donors who have enjoyed the talents of faculty, students and visiting artists are encouraged to show their support of music during this challenging time. Please consider donating what you would have spent for season tickets or to attend a concert by clicking here to submit your secure online gift: https://givingto.msu.edu/gift/?sid=9401

For more information about donating or sponsoring events this fall, email music.giving@msu.edu or call the College of Music Advancement Office at 517-353-9872.

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