City Jazz Festival

Happens every Spring!

27th Anniversary Edition!

You can now purchase your tickets to the City Jazz Festival!

Since its inception in 1991, the City Jazz Festival has grown to an event hosting dozens of student jazz groups from throughout California, performing in three different venues at Fresno City College. The emphasis has always been on education. A panel of jazz educators critiques the students’ performances, and they attend a variety of workshops presented by some of the greatest professional jazz performers in the country. Scholarships to the Berklee College of Music, FCC, and many summer music camps are awarded to outstanding student performers. The event culminates with a performance by the featured guest artist, accompanied by the FCC Jazz Ensemble. Here are a few facts and figures based on the 20 year history of the festival:

  • Over 850 student jazz groups have participated
  • Over $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded
  • Featured guest artists have included a who’s who of jazz:
    • Saxophonists: Eric Marienthal, Bob Mintzer, Ernie Watts, Tom Scott, Tim Ries, and Bob Sheppard
    • Trumpeters: Wayne Bergeron, Bobby Shew, Ingrid Jensen, and Gilbert Castellanos
    • Guitarists: Anthony Wilson and Mark Whitfield
    • Drummers: Jeff Hamilton and Steve Houghton
    • Trombonists: Conrad Herwig and Andy Martin
    • Vocalists: Tierney Sutton, Gretchen Parlato, Kevin Mahogany, Kristin Korb, Sara Gazarek, and Sunny Wilkinson
    • Mark Levine and the Latin Tingle
    • New West Guitar Group

Download the Application Entry_form_and_info_letter_2017.pdf

Flyer Jazz_Studies_at_FCC_2017.pdf


City Jazz 2017

This year’s festival will include two days of student jazz performances, plus clinics and workshops, and an exciting Awards concert featuring guest artist Antonio Hart.

Thursday, March 23

  • Student performances from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Clinics and workshops (times TBA)
  • Awards Concert featuring Antonio Hart, FCC Jazz Ensemble, Festiival All-Stars Concert (FCC Theatre, 7:30 p.m.)

Friday, March 24

  • Student performances from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Clinics and Workshops (times TBA)

Schedule of Performances - coming soon

Director Information - coming soon

Jazz at FCC

City Jazz is part of a strong jazz studies program offered at Fresno City College, directed by festival founder and jazz ensemble director Mike Dana. FCC’s jazz program is the most diverse in central California, and has earned a national reputation. Performance groups include the Jazz Ensemble, Latin Jazz Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Jazz Combos. Courses in jazz improvisation, theory, history, and arranging are also offered. Faculty members include Mike Dana, Larry Honda, George Ramirez, Julie Dana, Craig VonBerg, and Nye Morton. In addition to the festival, the jazz program at FCC has brought many other performers to perform at work with students. These include the New West Guitar Group, the Langston Hughes Project, guitarists Nguyen Le, Frank Gambale, and John Stowell, the University of North Texas 1:00 Lab Band, and many more.

Featuring Guest Artist Antonio Hart

Antonio Hart has been long recognized as one of the most talented instrumentalists of his generation. In his 20 years as a professional musician he has performed and recorded with many jazz greats, including Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Hargrove, Nancy Wilson, Nat Adderley, McCoy Tyner, and Dave Holland.

Hart’s study of Jazz began at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with Bill Pierce, Andy McGhee and Joe Viola. The three teachers gave him the foundation he needed to develop into a professional musician. He made many friends at Berklee, but the most important was Roy Hargrove. They spent three years touring the world and recording Hargrove’s first three records. Hart considers Hargrove to be his brother in life and music. He featured Hargrove on his first recording “For The First Time”.

After graduating from Berklee, Hart also worked on a Master’s Degree at Queens College. There he had the opportunity to learn from the great Jimmy Heath and Donald Byrd. Hart felt blessed and honored when Mr. Heath produced his second recording “Don’t You Know I Care.” His 1997 release, “Here I Stand” earned Hart a Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.” He has performed on over 100 recordings, including seven CDs as a leader. His most recent CD, “All We Need,” is on Chiaroscuro Records.

Antonio has also been recognized as an important jazz educator. He is on the music faculty at Queens College in New York, and teaches at workshops and clinics throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He feels very blessed to have the balance of teaching, as well as traveling around the world. In his off time, he practices martial arts, and listens to other styles of music for inspiration. Hart is constantly trying to honor his many teachers by continuing to study music and teach to the best of his ability.

For more on Antonio Hart, visit

Download the Application

Contact Information:
Mike Dana -
Fresno City College Music Department
1101 E. University Ave.
Fresno, CA. 93741
559.442.4600 x.8463


Bob Athayde

Bob Athayde is a legendary Bay Area educator and jazz performer (piano and trumpet.) He received his Bachelors degree in Music from California State University, Hayward, and has been a faculty member at Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, CSU East Bay and St. Mary's College. He is Director of Music Education at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, CA. which includes 2 jazz bands (five time DownBeat Magazine award winners, including 2016), 5 concert bands and one chorus.

Bob has been featured as a guest artist/clinician at the CSU Stanislaus Jazz Festival, Berkeley Jazz Festival, and the Sitka Jazz Festival in Alaska as performer/clinician, playing with such well known artists as Paquito d’Rivera, Steve Turre, Kristen Korb, Ira Nepus, John Santos, and John Clayton. Since 2008, Bob has also performed and given clinics at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho where he has become known as “The Interviewer”. These interviews have included such greats as Hank Jones, Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Diane Reeves and Jimmy Heath. He is also the Director of the Lafayette Summer Music Workshop (now in its 19th year).

Bob is an active performer, playing solo piano, duo, trio, and large ensemble engagements throughout the Bay Area. He has also recorded two of his own CDs: “First Takes”, and “A Second Look”. Bob has performed with his family on NPR on the program, “The Amazing Athaydes”.

Vern Sielert

Vern Sielert is Professor of Trumpet and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Idaho. From 2001-2006 he was Director of Jazz Ensembles at the University of Washington, and has also served on the faculties of Baylor University, Illinois State University and Millikin University. He holds BM degrees in jazz studies and music education, and a MM degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas, and a DMA in trumpet performance from the University of Illinois. AT UNT, Vern was also a member of the One O'Clock Lab Band, which has recorded several of his compositions and arrangements.

Vern’s first CD, From There To Here on Pony Boy records was released in 2007. He can also be heard on recent recordings by the Jessie Smith Jazz Orchestra, Unhinged Sextet, Convergence, the Dan Gailey Jazz Orchestra, Matt Olson, the Bob Curnow Big Band, and Phil Kelly’s Northwest Prevailing Winds. His compositions and arrangements have been performed by prestigious ensembles, including the Count Basie Orchestra and the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors. His works are regularly heard in high school and university jazz ensembles across the country and have been recorded by professional groups in the US, Canada and Japan.

Vern is also an active clinician, adjudicator, and all-state director, and has appeared at schools and jazz festivals throughout the US and Canada. His jazz trumpet solo transcriptions have appeared regularly in the Journal of the International Trumpet Guild since 1998. He is the director of the annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, and will host the 2017 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition at the University of Idaho.

Kristen Strom

Kristen Strom (saxophone, flute, vocals) has been a mainstay on the Bay Area music scene for nearly two decades, acclaimed for beautifully rendered melodies, exceptional tonality, and accomplished musicianship.

In addition to leading her own ensemble, the Kristen Strom Quintet, she is an integral part of some of the San Francisco Bay Area's leading bands. She has performed with many well-known artists, including Manhattan Transfer, Roberta Flack, Johnny Mathis, Jimmy Heath, Steve Turre, Pamela Rose, and Jon Faddis.

In addition to her solo albums, Intention and Sojourn, she has recorded more than 40 CDs with various jazz and pop artists, including the international jazz group Crossing Borders, John Worley and Worlview, Ed Johnson and Novo Tempo, Wally Schnalle, Tammy L. Hall, The Jim Norton Collective and poet Paul Zarzyski, and four albums with The Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra.

Her touring schedule has included performances across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. San Jose Mercury News says of her most recent album, Sojourn, “It floats, swings, and touches on samba, and each track has a gem-like solo by the leader.” Kristen is the saxophone instructor and Director of Jazz Combos at Santa Clara University, is on the faculty of the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and is the Director of South Bay Summer Jazz Intensive.

For more info, visit

Rob Tapper

Rob Tapper is Associate Professor of Trombone and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Montana, where he coordinates the UM Jazz Festival, the UM Jazz Artist Series, four big bands, seven small groups, an undergraduate Jazz Degree and trombone studio.

A relentless advocate for music education, Rob was awarded a Washington State "2008 Teacher of the Year Award”, was inducted into the WMEA Hall of Fame (2012) and has also received a Spokane Arts Commission “Contributions to Education” Award.

As an active performer and teacher in both classical and jazz idioms he has performed, adjudicated and recorded at many festivals, concert halls and conferences in orchestral, jazz and commercial settings around the United States, Europe and Canada. Rob is currently Principal Trombone in the Missoula Symphony. Rob has degrees in Music Education (UNH) and Jazz and Commercial Media (Eastman) and is a Getzen clinician and plays Getzen trombones exclusively

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