City Jazz Festival

Happens every Spring!

29th Anniversary Edition!

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

Purchase City Jazz Festival Tickets

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 28 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

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City Jazz 2019

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

Thursday, March 21

  • Student performances from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Clinics and workshops (times TBA)
  • Awards Concert featuring Josh Nelson with the FCC Jazz Ensemble, and the Josh Nelson Group  (FCC Theatre, 7:30 p.m.)

Friday, March 22

  • 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 jazz ensemble director Paul Lucckesi. 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 Josh Nelson

Born and raised in Southern California pianist-composer-bandleader Josh Nelson has performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan, John Clayton, George Mraz, Jeff Hamilton, Dave Koz, Joe Chambers and Peter Erskine.

Nelson toured with legendary vocalist Natalie Cole for six years and continues to tour with vocalists Gaby Moreno, Freda Payne, Alicia Olatuja, Sara Gazarek, accordionist Richard Galliano, saxophonist Tom Scott, multi-instrumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and violinist Christian Howes. He taught jazz for four years at Soka University and more recently at Cal State University Northridge. In 2006, Nelson was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. 
His debut album as a leader,  2004’s Anticipation, garnered attention while his 2007 followup, Let it Go, was hailed by Jazz Times, All About Jazz and Jazz Review as a fully-realized breakthrough album. Nelson’s next album, 2009’s I Hear a Rhapsody, had him re-imagining Jerry Goldsmith’s “Theme From Chinatown,” Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Here’s That Rainy Day” and Elliott Smith’s “Everything Means Nothing To Me” while contributing seven affecting originals.

With 2011’s sci-fi influenced Discoveries, Nelson introduced his Discovery Project, an immersive multi-media presentation combining video, performance art, light and art installations with his original music.


  • Mike Galisatus (College of San Mateo)
  • Gary Pratt (CSU, Northridge)
  • Jessika Smith (Prairie Mountain School, Oregon)
  • George Stone (Cuesta College)
  • Tina Raymond (Los Angeles City College)
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