FRESNO, CA (5/23/16) – The Milestones Summer Jazz Concert Series has expanded from two nights to three and will take place on Tuesday through Thursday, June 14-16 at the Milestones facility at 3385 E. Shields Ave.

Tuesday, June 14 will feature the Matthew Yeakley Organ Trio with Walter Smith III. Yeakley is an LA-based guitarist who has been described as one of the Los Angeles jazz scene's most exciting and creative guitarists. He joins forces with keyboardist Sam Barsh, drummer Aaron McLendon and saxophonist Walter Smith III, widely regarded as one of the rising stars on the national jazz scene.

On Wednesday, June 15 Ryan Dragon’s Kid Songs will perform. Dragon is a trombonist and a fixture on the LA jazz scene and avant-garde community. Making up the remainder of Kid Songs is pianist Kei Akagi, best know for his work with the Miles Davis band in the late 1980’s, east coast saxophonist Mike Bjella, drummer Aaron McLendon and bassist Richard Giddens, a Fresno native.

Thursday, June 16 will feature trombonist Francisco Torres. Torres is the musical director for the Grammy-winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. He is also a member of several other jazz orchestras including Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Monkestra, Clare Fischer, and Bill Cunliffe.

All of the above mentioned jazz artists will also provide educational workshops at the Milestones Youth Jazz Workshop Summer Jazz Camp that will be held in Fresno the week of June 13. Francisco Torres will serve as the camp’s artist in residence. The Milestones Summer Concert series is made possible through the generous support of PG&E.

All three concerts begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available available at and are priced at $15 for adults, $12 for JazzFresno members and $10 for students for each show. A ticket for all three shows is $30.

Awards Concert featuring Rebeca Mauleón, the Fresno City College Jazz Ensemble (Mike Dana, dir.,) Latin Jazz Ensemble (George Ramirez, dir.,) & City Jazz Festival All-Stars.

$15 general/$12 Seniors/JazzFresno members/$10 student (w/ID)

Tickets for the evening awards concert available for purchase online. FCC Box Office: (559) 442-8221

The 26th annual City Jazz Festival returns to Fresno City College on Thursday, March 31th, 2016.

The event features performances by student groups during the day, plus a special evening awards concert with Latin Jazz pianist/educator/author Rebeca Mauleón with the Fresno City College Jazz Ensemble, the Latin Jazz Ensemble, and the Festival All-Stars. Admission to the daytime student performances (7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.) is free; tickets for the 7:30 p.m. awards concert in the FCC Theatre are $15 general, $12 senior/JazzFresno member, and $10 student.

For more information about the City Jazz Festival, contact Mike Dana at (559) 442-4600 ext. 8463 or visit

Rebeca Mauleón

Jazz Ambassadors

The Jazz Ambassadors
is the official touring big band of the United States Army. Formed in 1969, this 19-member ensemble has received great acclaim at home and abroad performing America's greatest original art form, jazz.

Concerts by the Jazz Ambassadors are programmed to entertain all types of audiences. The band’s diverse repertoire includes big band swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland, vocals, and patriotic selections, many of which are written or arranged by
members of the Jazz Ambassadors.

The Jazz Ambassadors has appeared in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, and throughout Europe. Recent notable performances include concerts at the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Jazz Education Network Conference, and an appearance on The Colbert Report. Gordon Goodwin, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts, and the Dave Brubeck All-Star Quintet are just a few of the outstanding jazz artists who have shared the stage with the Jazz Ambassadors. The band has been featured in joint concerts with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Pops, the Colorado Pops Orchestra, and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. The band’s rigorous touring schedule and reputation for excellence has earned it the title “America’s Big Band.”

This concert is FREE, but you must register for tickets online:

Washington Union High School Auditorium, 6041 S Elm Ave, Fresno, CA 93706

February 19-20, 2016 - Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall

Saturday February 20, 2016; 8:00 p.m.


“... this is a band, not just an assembly. It should play more often in New York.” - The New York Times

Although it may appear Walter Smith is a young gun on the scene at age 33, he is widely recognized as an adept performer, accomplished composer, and inspired educator. Smith’s debut recording as a leader was released in March of 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and features many of the brightest young jazz talents. With his fresh sound and compelling original compositions, Smith is consistently called as a sideman in some of jazz’s developing and gifted bands including Ambrose Akinmusire’s Quintet, Christian Scott’s group, and the Sean Jones Sextet. Originally from Houston, TX, where he attended Houston’s HSPVA, Smith now resides in the Los Angeles, CA area. When not on the road, Walter utilizes his Music Education degree from Berklee College of Music, Master’s Degree from Manhattan School of Music, and Graduate Certificate in Performance from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to enlighten the next generation of jazz students. In the jazz tradition, Smith has developed under the wings of many of the music’s greats. Walter is/has been a member of several legendary groups (recording and touring) including the Terence Blanchard Quintet, Eric Harland’s 'Voyager' band, Roy Haynes 'Fountain of Youth' band, Jason Moran’s 'Big Bandwagon,' and the Christian McBride 'Situation' band. Smith has performed all over the world participating in numerous international festivals as well as famed venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. In addition, he has shared the stage and/or appeared on recordings with many jazz notables including Roy Haynes, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Lovano, Walter Beasley, Terri Lynne Carrington, and a host of others. To date, Walter has appeared on over 75 recordings that are released worldwide.

$15 general/$12 Seniors/JazzFresno members/$10 student (w/ID)

Tickets available online:
Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall
2770 E. International Ave.
Fresno, CA 93720

Featured Saturday Night Concert:

• Sat. February 20 : Walter Smith Group
Clovis North High School
Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall
2770 E. International Ave.
Fresno, CA

Tickets: $15; $12 Seniors & JazzFresno Members; $10 Students.

About the San Joaquin Valley Jazz Festival

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Performances all day - both days)
Tickets: $10 one day festival pass; $15 two day festival pass (does not include night concert)
$30 VIP pass (both days admission and Saturday night concert)
Student groups from throughout California perform and receive workshops from some of the finest jazz educators in the country.

Monday December 7, 2015, 7:30 p.m. - Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater


$22 general / $18 JazzFresno members & seniors / $14 students w/ID




JCO RR flyer 2015The Jazz Composers Orchestra will perform its final concert of the year on Monday, December 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater in Fresno’s Tower District.

Fans of the “JCO” know the band for its adventurous and original music. This season’s concert continues that tradition, with premieres from Joe Lewis, David Aus, and Mike Dana, along with music from Ellington to Stevie Wonder. The evening’s concert will also feature the addition of four French Horns, vocalist Bob Bergthold, and the JCO Singers.

The Jazz Composers Orchestra is an all-star 19-piece ensemble directed by Mike Dana, head of the jazz studies program at Fresno City College. The roster (below) reads like a “who’s who” of jazz in the Valley. Members include music faculty at FCC, CSU Fresno, and many other valley schools. All play professionally as well, and have performed with an impressive lineup of jazz and pop artists.

Read more: Fresno City College Jazz Composers Orchestra Annual Holiday Concert