After completing his education in aerospace engineering, drummer, composer, and ethnomusicologist Dana Hall earned advanced degrees in music performance, composition, and arranging from William Paterson College and DePaul University. He is currently a distinguished Special Trustees Fellow completing his doctorate in ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago. In addition to leading his own ensembles internationally, Mr. Hall has professional performance and tour credits on six continents and extensive concert, club, and festival experience throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia with the ensembles of others. The list of exceptional artists that Mr. Hall has performed and recorded with includes Branford Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, MeShell Ndegeocello, Steve Wilson, Chick Corea, the Mingus Big Band, Joshua Redman, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Curtis Fuller, Joe Lovano, Horace Silver, Ray Charles, Benny Golson, Bobby Hutcherson, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Jackie McLean, Jimmy Heath, Maria Schneider, and Joe Henderson, among others. Mr. Hall leads a number of ensembles and projects including The Dana Hall/Nick Mazzarella Duo; The Dana Hall Quintet; Polyglot, a quartet devoted to creative improvised music; Black Fire, a project dedicated to the music of pianist Andrew Hill; spring, a dynamic musical endeavor featuring two multi-instrumentalist woodwind specialists, acoustic bass, and his own drums, cymbals, and mbira; and a new project, Black Ark Movement, premiering in September 2014 at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Former Artistic Director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and permanent member of The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Mr. Hall has for the last thirteen years been a member of the Terell Stafford Quintet, touring extensively with the group and featured on its last five recordings.
In November 2009, Mr. Hall celebrated the release of his own debut recording as a leader, Into the Light. Immediately upon its release, Into The Light was the most added and highest debuting new CD on the mainstream and college jazz charts and within a month was #8 on the JazzWeek Top-50 and #3 on the College Music Journal Top-40 Jazz charts. It also landed on the Best of 2009 lists of many major newspapers and magazines nationwide, including the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, and others. At the conclusion of 2009, Mr. Hall was recognized by the Chicago Tribune as a 2009 Chicagoan of the Year, acknowledging his outstanding achievements in the arts.
As an educator, Mr. Hall is currently the Director of Jazz Studies and a tenured Associate Professor of Music at DePaul University. There, he teaches courses in Jazz Studies and Ethnomusicology and serves as Coordinator of the Jazz Combo program. Professor Hall was formerly on the faculty of the Undergraduate College at the University of Chicago teaching courses in world music; at Columbia College Chicago, teaching private drumset instruction; and an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, teaching courses in jazz studies and ethnomusicology.
For more detailed and up to date information regarding Mr. Hall, please visit his personal website.
Photo Credit: Jacob Hand