Skip navigation links

April 8, 2021

Annual Jazz Spectacular to bring two days of high-energy entertainment

The MSU Jazz Studies program brings an exciting line-up to an annual tradition this spring as Grammy-nominee and vocalist Carmen Bradford, jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis and jazz drummer Jeff Hamilton anchor the Annual Jazz Spectacular Festival. Jazz fans can stream the weekend of high-energy free events through the College of Music Livestream channel April 16-17.

A slate of engaging interviews with Bradford, Faddis and Hamilton will kick off the festival on Friday afternoon, followed by two livestream performances. The MSU Jazz Octets gets things rolling with virtual performances Friday evening led by graduate students under the direction of MSU Jazz professors Randy Napoleon and Diego Rivera. The Friday finale features Bradford in a virtual concert with the MSU Jazz Orchestra, directed by Rodney Whitaker and Michael Dease.  

On Saturday, jazz fans and aspiring musicians from across Michigan are invited to participate in two workshops led by Faddis and Hamilton. Festival events culminate with an evening concert featuring the Jeff Hamilton Trio with the MSU Jazz Orchestra and MSU Jazz Octets, capped by a special “Best of” presentation of past performances from award-winning regional high school jazz bands from previous Jazz Spectaculars.  

The nearly 40 year-old Annual Jazz Spectacular Festival is generously sponsored by Leonard and Sharon Tabaka. Visit the College of Music’s website for more information about the line-up of free online concerts, video presentations, workshops and discussions.

About the guest artists: 

2019 Grammy Nominee Carmen Bradford was born in Austin, Texas and raised in Altadena, California. Bradford grew up with music in her home and in her heart. Bradford followed in the footsteps of her great family legacy as the daughter of jazz legends Bobby Bradford and Melba Joyce.

Jon Faddis began playing the trumpet when he was 8-years old. He toured and recorded with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band for four years, and studied at the Manhattan School of Music during that time. By the age of 20, he had become widely acclaimed by the press — Dizzy Gillespie declared him “the best ever — including me!” Faddis has become known throughout the world as one of the most innovative and inspiring jazz trumpeters of our time. Faddis was an MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence in 2013–14. 

Jeff Hamilton grew up listening to his parents' big band records and at the age of eight began playing drums. He attended Indiana University and later studied with John Avon Ohlen. He got his first break playing with the New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and joined Lionel Hampton’s Band that led to becoming a member along with John Clayton, of the Monty Alexander Trio. Hamilton was a MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence in 2013–14. 

Schedule for the Jazz Spectacular Festival 

Friday, April 16, 1–10 p.m. EST 

  • 1 p.m. interview with Carmen Bradford 
  • 3 p.m. interview with Jon Faddis 
  • 5 p.m. interview with Jeff Hamilton 
  • 8 p.m. concert featuring MSU Jazz Octets 
  • 9 p.m. concert featuring guest artist Carmen Bradford 

Saturday, April 17, 2–10 p.m. EST 

  • 2 p.m. jazz drums workshop with Jeff Hamilton 
  • 4 p.m. jazz trumpet workshop with Jon Faddis  
  • 7 p.m. concert: guest jazz ensemble Jeff Hamilton Trio, MSU Jazz Orchestras and Octets and “Best of” high school jazz band competitors 

Media Contacts