The Michigan State University Professors of Jazz shine brightly in “Better Than Alright,” a two-CD pack released in 2012. Many of the tunes are from three new suites written by the Professors themselves and offer a fresh look at how jazz – America’s music – has been influenced by different cultures. Add to the suites, four swinging, bluesy, and lyrical jazz pieces written or arranged by the group and the result is this wonderful mix.
CD 1 tracks
1. Nueva York, comp. Diego Rivera DiggyJazzMusic (ASCAP) 6:08
2. Here Today, comp. Reginald Thomas Glad Tidings Music 7:09
3. Turquoise, comp. Etienne Charles T Bump Music (ASCAP) 5:49
4. The Teacher, comp. Rodney Whitaker Rod-Whit Music (BMI) 7:39
5. O’Moderno, comp. Diego Rivera DiggyJazzMusic (ASCAP) 8:30
6. Doin’ the Thing, comp. Etienne Charles T Bump Music (ASCAP) 6:21
7. Big Four, comp. Rodney Whitaker Rod-Whit Music (BMI) 10:42
CD 2 tracks
1. Broadway, comp. Byrd/McRae/Woode Intersong U.S.A., Inc. 6:41
2. Holiday Blues for My Baby, comp. Mardra Thomas Glad Tidings Music 6:58
3. On a Quiet Night, comp. Reginald Thomas Glad Tidings Music 6:52
4. Echos of Anansi, comp. Etienne Charles T Bump Music (ASCAP) 4:31
5. Robert’s Lament, comp. Rodney Whitaker Rod-Whit Music (BMI) 8:37
6. Sombras del Pasado, comp. Diego Rivera DiggyJazzMusic (ASCAP)
7. 3 Note Blues, comp. Etienne Charles T Bump Music (ASCAP) 5:55
Michigan State University Professors of Jazz
Members of the jazz faculty in the Michigan State University College of Music, this “hard-bop” band performs music from the jazz canon, including standards, jazz classics, and original compositions. Its artistic director, Rodney Whitaker, is director of the Jazz Studies program at MSU. Members of the Professors of Jazz – Etienne Charles, trumpet; Michael Dease, trombone; Randall Gelispie, drums; Diego Rivera, saxophone; Reginald Thomas, piano; and Whitaker – perform internationally, nationally, and locally. For more information about the Professors of Jazz, contact the MSU Jazz Studies program at (517) 432-6449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This CD project was made possible by Michigan State University College of Music with generous support from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. Guest artists performing with the Professors of Jazz: Perry Hughes, guitar, and Mardra Thomas, vocals. Produced by the Michigan State University College of Music.