The West Shore Community College Performing Arts Series will feature Michigan State University’s Bebop Spartans, along with special guest, Grammy nominated Jazz vocalist, Carmen Bradford on Sat., Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m., at Center Stage Theater.
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 the 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 comes from a long lineage of great jazz. It was only natural that Bradford would follow in the footsteps of her great family legacy, being the daughter of legendary trumpeter/composer Bobby Bradford and world-renowned vocalist/composer Melba Joyce. Her grandfather Melvin Moore sang with Lucky Millender and Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band in the 1940’s, and sang with the Ink Spots, making Carmen the third generation of incredible musicians. She has carved out a place in music history for herself and is playing an integral role in the jazz world.
She has performed and/or recorded with: Wynton Marsalis, Shelly Berg, John Clayton along with the Clayton Hamilton Orchestra, Nancy Wilson, Doc Severinsen, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Patti Austin, Byron Stripling, Dori Caymmi, George Benson, Lena Horne, and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few. Carmen performed on two Grammy Award winning albums with the Basie band in the 1980’s and later collaborated on a third Grammy Award winning album, “Big Boss Band,” with guitarist George Benson in 1991.
On occasion, Bradford has loaned her talented voice to stage productions and the music of Hollywood films. She sang on the soundtrack for Oprah Winfrey’s “Beloved,” and recently starred in the title role of Duke Ellington’s Folk Opera “Queenie Pie” at the University of Texas, Butler School of Music.
Bradford is currently Director of the Jazz Voice Department, and a Roots, Jazz, and American Music faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music..
Due to a generous $1,000,000 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 the Michigan State University’s jazz department. Time and time again our audiences provide a warm reception for MSU’s artists which in turn, keep them coming back,” says Ted Malt, WSCC director of performing arts and professor of music.
“This evening 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 10:30 p.m. There is no cover charge for this event, however early seating or reservations are highly recommended.
For more information on all of the performances and to purchase tickets, visit the college’s web site at www.westshore.edu/performingarts.
Customers can also call 231-843-5506, or stop by the box office located in Schoenherr Campus Center. Visa, Mastercard, and Discover credit cards are accepted.