Mike Dana


Mike DanaBio submitted by Mike Dana
Mike Dana attended California State University, Fresno, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1975, and a Master’s degree in 1991 (both in music/composition.) He also attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and studied privately with jazz guitar legend Joe Pass. He began his teaching career at the Roosevelt School of the Arts in Fresno, where he founded the first high school classical guitar program in central California. In 1990, he took over the position as Director of Jazz Studies at FCC. In 1999, he also assumed the duties of Department Chair.

Under his direction, the jazz program at FCC has developed a national reputation. The Jazz Ensemble consistently earns top honors at major jazz festivals. 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.

Mike has extensive experience as a studio guitarist, arranger, composer, and producer. As a session guitarist, he has played on hundreds of albums, produced dozens more, and has been a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) for many years. He has played in the pit orchestra for the touring companies of Fiddler On The Roof, Hello Dolly, A Chorus Line, and more. He continues to be active as a performer, leading his own jazz trio, playing with “After Dinner Mints”, and serving as the regular guitarist in the band at Northwest Church. His jazz guitar 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, choral, TV commercials, and of course jazz. His compositions for jazz ensemble have received excellent reviews in the IAJE journal and are widely performed across the United States. They are published by Matrix Music, Heritage Press, and Walrus Publishing. His advertising clients include Bank of America, Pepsi, Safeway, the Big Fresno Fair, the Fresno Bee, and hundreds more.

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. This ensemble was selected to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education conference in January 2005.

At FCC, Mike teaches the following courses:
• Jazz Ensemble
• Jazz Theory
• Advanced Jazz Improvisation
• Jazz Arranging
• Jazz History and Appreciation