Online home of trombonist, composer, and educator Michael Dease

Michael Dease was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia - the “Deep South,” and played the saxophone and trumpet before choosing the trombone at age 17. In 2001, Dease moved to New York City to become part of the historic first class of jazz students at The Juilliard School, earning both Bachelors and Masters degrees, and quickly established a reputation as a brilliant soloist, collaborator, and bandleader.  

Reaching Out (Posi-Tone, 2018), Dease’s newest release, connects his past with his future while honoring his idols and teachers. The album also sends messages of discovery of older lesser-known compositions and everyone work- ing together to become stronger. As a bandleader, this is Dease’s fifth album for Posi-Tone and eleventh of his career, and features label mates Walt Weiskopf, Ralph Bowen, Behn Gillece, and Peter Brendler. Upcoming young musi- cians Luther Allison and Zach Adleman also contribute their phenomenal musical skills on piano and drums. 

Dease recently won the 64th Annual Downbeat Magazine Critic's Poll for Rising Star Jazz Trombonist, the 2017 Best Jazz Trombonist from NYC's Hot House Magazine, and is a sought-after and three-time Grammy award winning lead, section and bass trombonist with today’s leading jazz orchestras. His experiences include bands led by Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Charles Tolliver, Rufus Reid, WDR Big Band, NDR Big Band, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. However, it is on the frontline of quintets and sextets led by master musicians like The Heath Brothers, Winard Harper, Renee Rosnes, Bill Charlap, Claudio Roditi, and Lewis Nash, where Dease has revitalized the trombone’s image. Not content to simply improvise, Dease arranges and composes for many different bands and constantly adjusts his tone and timbre to add just the right flavor to the music.

Dease’s unique blend of curiosity, hard work, and optimism, has helped him achieve worldwide recognition, including awards from ASCAP, The International Trombone Association, Yamaha, Eastern Trombone Workshop, New York Youth Symphony, among others. Dease was recently profiled in Cicily Janus’ book, The New Face of Jazz: An Intimate Look at Today’s Living Legends (Random House).  His experience in the studio led him to produce several recording sessions for emerging artists, often composing and writing liner notes for the releases.     

A recipient of the prestigious MSU Teacher - Scholar award in 2018, Dease’s singular talent has made him an effective teacher, resulting in invitations, master classes and residencies at the University of North Texas, Temple University, New World School of the Arts, UNC Chapel Hill, and among many others. He currently teaches jazz trombone and improvisation at the Michigan State University College of Music, and has also served as faculty at Queens College - CUNY, The New School and Northeastern University. Consistently in-demand around the world as a summer workshop jazz educator, Michael Dease serves as Director of the Jazz Institute at Brevard, part of the storied Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.  Many of Dease’s current and former students are enjoying successful careers in New York City and around the world.

Considered an informed, but forward-thinking musician, Dease learned the craft from trombone legends Wycliffe Gordon, Joseph Alessi and master teacher Dr. John Drew. His associations have run the entire spectrum of musical experience: Alicia Keys, Paul Simon, Jon Batiste, Aretha Franklin, Jon Mayer, The Temptations, Paul Schaffer and the CBS Orchestra, Elton John, Neal Diamond, Illinois Jacquet, Slide Hampton & The World Of Trombones, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, WDR Big Band, George Gruntz, Billy Harper, and numerous others. 

Michael enjoys spending every possible minute with his extraordinary wife and Professor of Percussion at MSU Gwendolyn Dease and their daughter Brooklyn.  He is also an aspiring painter, sports car enthusiast, amateur coffee snob, Star Wards scholar, 80's horror movie aficionado and enjoys scooting up and down the Michigan highways in his Porsche Boxster Cabriolet.  

View Michael's All Music Guide entry here for a partial listing of his sideperson credits and discography.

Michael Dease Copyright 2016