CITY PULSE (LANSING, MICHIGAN) -- It’s been nearly 20 years since Speight left Michigan State University to teach at San Francisco State University and be closer to his native Australia. Since then, the pioneering co-builder of MSU’s jazz studies program has built up another academic beachhead on the Pacific and runs a busy schedule of gigs, usually for appreciative dot-commers in the Bay Area’s humming jazz scene.
Speight is a master of many styles, but is best known as an acolyte of bebop icon Charlie “Bird” Parker, whose blindingly fast, micro-melodic artistry is still being unpacked by generations of alto players.
“I love listening to it and playing it,” Speight said. “It’s just infectious.”