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Yosemite Jazz Workshop Instructors

In addition to our host Rich Severson and his favorite bass instructor Todd Johnson the workshop has provided some world class jazz guitarists/instructors to mentor, encourage and inspire you while you're here.  Past guest instructors have included Pat Kelley, Mike Dana, David Becker, Mitch Holder, Tim May, Barry Zweig, Frank Potenza, Robert Conti, John Stowell, Brad Rabuchin and Steve Trovato


MIKE DANA  Mike has become our first choice instructor each year by popular demand.  A Grammy nominated music educator, Mike currently is the Director of Jazz Studies at Fresno (CA) City College where the jazz program there has developed a national reputation. He is in demand as a guest artist and clinician for jazz festivals and workshops throughout the U.S. and Asia.  Mike studied jazz guitar with legend Joe Pass, and his performance credits include Cannonball Adderley, Gary Burton, Clark Terry, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Shew, Ingrid Jensen, and Ernie Watts. He leads several groups including his own jazz trio, the Jazz Composer's Orchestra, and Bahia, a group focusing on Brazilian music.  Mike holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in composition from California State University Fresno. Mike also attended the Berklee College of Music, and is currently competing his Doctorate at Boston (MA) University.

2023 Guest Instructor

Bruce Forman is a seasoned jazz player with top-level skills as a leader, entertainer, and sideman. His teaching credentials include an Adjunct Assistant Professor at USC’s prestigious Thorton School of Music and his national music program called the JazzMasters Workshop, mentoring young students. Bruce is known for his soulful, lyrical melodies, inventive harmonies in a variety of jazz, blues, even country swing genres as well as shredding bebop at blistering tempos. Bruce is not only a great instructor and player but is quite a storyteller and comedian too, adding a new dimension to this year’s workshop.

2022 Guest Instructor

Ron Eschete  is the consummate master of the seven-string guitar. Whether he is playing bebop, ballads or blues he is a musically sophisticated guitarist who plays with grace and dignity. "Escheté is one of the finest jazz guitarists in L.A. – no small achievement in a region dense with superb players," says Jim Ferguson of Jazz Times. His deft and nimble fingers paint a spectrum of sound so rich that his voicings are often compared with those of a pianist. 20th Century Guitar likens his  sound to that of the great Bill Evans.

2018 - 2020 Guest Instructor

Pat Kelley  Recognized for his signature touch, harmonic dexterity, bluesy melodies and sense of rhythm, guitarist Pat Kelley has enjoyed a steady and successful career as a studio and touring musician, recording artist, composer, lyricist, producer, arranger, vocalist, recording engineer, publisher, and educator. As an integral part of the Thornton School of Music Guitar Faculty at the University of Southern California for the past twenty-two years, Pat has also helped guide many students to success as professional musicians. Two of Pat's books, Arpeggios for the Evolving Guitarist and Melodic Minor Guitar are part of the USC Thornton School of Music instructional series and are available from Mel Bay Publications. Pat has been on the guitar faculty for the Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Jazz Camp for two years and the University of Tulsa Summer Jazz Camp for the the past seven years.  

2016 & 17 Guest Instructors

DAVID BECKER Grammy-nominated guitarist, composer and producer David Becker has released 14 recordings, many topping the jazz and contemporary music charts. In 2005, Becker released a duo effort with guitar master Joe Diorio and has also performed with guitar greats Attila Zoller, Larry Coryell, John Abercrombie and Kenny Burrell. He has released three instructional books, Getting Your Improvising Into Shape, Playing in Shapes, and Rhythmic Motifs for Comping and Soloing.

2015 Instructors Mitch Holder and Tim May

Two of the most heard L.A. studio guitarist ever, Mitch Holder and Tim May.  These two world class players learned from the best, they were personal students of Howard Roberts.  Both have playing and recording careers spanning decades. Not only are they first chair recording musicians they are also great jazz players and are great teachers as well.  This is an opportunity of a lifetime to come to one of the prettiest places in the world and studying guitar with two of the best players of our generation.  I’ll also be there to help anyone with their particular needs.  Remember Michael J Fox playing Chuck Berry licks in Back to the Future? That was Tim May.  Ever heard of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen?  Mitch Holder was the guitarist on the show for 12 years.   


2014 Instructors Mike Dana and Frank Potenza