Instructor - Jazz Studies
Fine Performing and Communication Arts
Mike Dana attended California State University, Fresno, where he earned a Bachelors degree in 1975, and a Masters degree in 1989 (both in music/composition.) He also attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and studied privately with jazz guitar legend Joe Pass. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation from Boston University.
In 1990, he became Director of Jazz Studies at Fresno City College. Under his direction, the jazz program at FCC has developed a national reputation. The Jazz Ensemble consistently earns top honors at major jazz festivals, and many students have gone on to complete their degrees at institutions like Cal Arts, Berklee, University of North Texas, and USC. Others have gone on to careers as professional musicians. Mike continues to be in demand as a guest artist, clinician, and teacher for jazz festivals and summer workshops throughout the western U.S.
In the fall of 2004, Mike founded (and serves as musical director of) the Fresno Jazz Composers Orchestra, an ensemble made up of the finest jazz musicians and educators in central California. The JCO was selected to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education conference in January 2005.
Mike has extensive experience as a studio guitarist, arranger, composer, and producer. As a session guitarist, he has played on hundreds of albums, and produced dozens more. He continues to be active as a performer, leading his own jazz trio and quartet. His credits include performances with Cannonball Adderley, Gary Burton, Clark Terry, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts, Arturo Sandoval, and many others.
Mike has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, musical theater, choir, TV commercials, video games, and of course jazz. His compositions for jazz ensemble have received excellent reviews and are performed throughout the world. These are published by Kendor, UNC Jazz Press, Heritage Press, and Walrus Publishing.
In addition to directing the FCC Jazz Ensemble and the JCO, Mike co-directs the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and teaches jazz history, theory, arranging, improvisation, music business, and Finale notation software.