MSU’s Bebop Spartans

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Michigan State University’s Bebop Spartans, along with special guest, world-renowned trumpet player, composer and educator, Michael Phillip Mossman returns to Ludington High School Peterson Auditorium on Sat., Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m., as a part of West Shore Community College’s Performing Arts Series.

The next generation of great American jazz musicians is represented in this spectacular ensemble from MSU. Improvisation, bebop, swing, blues, and soul are just a few genres of this American art form that the Bebop Spartans will be performing.

Michigan State University has become a national powerhouse of jazz education. Under the direction of Professor Rodney Whitaker, MSU has recruited some of the world’s finest young jazz musicians.  The Bebop Spartans, MSU’s jazz big band, is a culmination of Whitaker’s talent.

This year’s guest artist Michael Phillip Mossman brings to his music an unparalleled depth and breadth of experience. Mossman, professor and director of jazz studies at the Copland School of Music at Queens College (NYC), has been active on the international scene since the age of 17. 

After stints as lead trumpet with the Machito Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Mossman became the musical director of Blue Note Records' group, Out of the Blue, with whom he recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Zawinul, Slide Hampton, Benny Carter, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, and the Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, and Count Basie orchestras among many others.

Mossman has also been a key performer in Latin jazz performing and recording with Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Chico O'Farrill, Ray Barretto, Daniel Ponce, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Paquito D'Rivera, Bebo Valdez and Michel Camilo.

He has performed with and conducted classical and contemporary classical pieces with a number of orchestras throughout the world.

Mossman was nominated for a 2013 Grammy award for "Best Instrumental Arrangement" for his Afro-Latin Ellington Suite and he has composed and arranged music for the films “Bossa Nova” and “Chico and Rita” which was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award.

A masterclass/clinic featuring the Bebop Spartans and Mossman will be held at 2 p.m. at Ludington High School.  This masterclass/clinic will include a one-selection performance from local high schools and a musical critique from one of the most respected jazz musicians in the world.

Due to a generous $1 million donation to the MSU School of Music Jazz Department from the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, the MSU Bebop Spartans are able to travel to three Michigan locations accompanied by world-renowned guest artists and the college is one of MSU’s three annual performance locations.  

“I am very proud of the partnership the college has developed with both Michigan State University’s jazz department and Wharton Center for the Performing Arts.  Every year our audiences provide a warm reception for MSU’s artists which in turn, keep them coming back year after year,” says Ted Malt, WSCC Director of Performing Arts and Professor of Music Studies.

“This performance is very special in that our audiences get to witness a true musical spectacle consisting of 19 of the best young jazz musicians in the country, an incredible guest artist, and the entire MSU jazz faculty,” Malt adds.

An afterglow jam session will be held at the Jamesport Brewing Company, 410 South James Street in Ludington, starting at approximately 10 p.m.  There is no cover charge for this event, however early seating or reservations are highly recommended.

Tickets for this event can be purchased online or by calling the WSCC Box Office at 231-843-5507, which is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Relations