Dan Gailey

Director, Division of Jazz Studies
Primary office:
122 Murphy Hall


M.M. University of Northern Colorado; B.M. Pacific Lutheran University

Dan Gailey saxophonist/composer/arranger, is the Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Music at the University of Kansas, where he directs Jazz Ensemble I and Jazz Combo I and produces the annual KU Jazz Festival.  Dan is the recipient of the 1996 IAJE Gil Evans Fellowship, an annual award which identifies an emerging jazz composer from an international field of candidates. Under his direction, the KU Jazz Studies Program has been the recipient of 19 DownBeat Student Music Awards, including Jazz Ensemble I's award as Best College Big Band in the United States or Canada in 1997. Jazz Ensemble I have appeared under his direction at IAJE Conferences in New York City, Atlanta and Boston, the 1992 Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, and the 2008 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Dan holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master of Music degree in Theory/Composition from the University of Northern Colorado. His compositions can be heard on numerous professional and college big band albums and are published exclusively through UNC Jazz Press. What Did You Dream?, his debut CD with the Dan Gailey Jazz Orchestra, was released in July 2010 on Origin/OA2 Records and features all original compositions.

Dan has been active as a freelance saxophonist in Seattle, Denver and Kansas City, performing with Kevin Mahogany, Eric Marienthal, Red Richards, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, and many others, and has appeared as a guest artist/clinician throughout the United States and Canada, and in Sweden. He is an original member of the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival All-Star Big Band, and has been commissioned twice to write new compositions for the band. Dan has directed numerous festival honor groups, including all-state jazz ensembles in California, Colorado, Washington, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Minnesota, and the 1996 NBA National Honors Jazz Ensemble.

Selected Awards & Grants


  • Downbeat Award, Winner, Best Blues/Pop/Rock Instrumental Group, College Division, 1994 (KU Jazz Fusion Combo).
  • Downbeat Award, Outstanding Performance, Best Jazz Big Band, College Division, 1994 (KU Jazz Ensemble I).


  • Downbeat Award, Outstanding Performance, Best Vocal Jazz Choir, College Division, 1993 (KU Jazz Singers).


  • Downbeat Award, Outstanding Performance, Best Jazz Big Band, College Division, 1992 (KU Jazz Ensemble I).
  • Downbeat Award, Outstanding Performance, Best Vocal Jazz Choir, College Division, 1992 (KU Jazz Singers).


  • Downbeat Award, Best Original Composition, Songs, College Division, 1987.
  • Downbeat Award, Best Blues/Pop/Rock Instrumental Soloist, College Division, 1987.


  • Downbeat Award, Best Original Composition, Songs, College Division, 1986.
  • Downbeat Award, Outstanding Performance, Jazz Instrumental Soloist, College Division, 1986.
  • Elevox Open Jazz Competition, Grand Prize, Best Original Jazz Composition, 1986.


  • Downbeat Award, Best Original Composition, Songs, College Division, 1985.

Selected Publications


UNC Jazz Press—Music for Large Jazz Ensembles:

  • Attack of the Tenor Titans
  • Big All Meets the Barnyard Gals
  • Bossa for Wayne
  • Funk-by-Numbers
  • Hey Mama, Your Samba’s on Fire
  • Just Below the Surface
  • Mendoza Line
  • Out of Town (arrangement)
  • Return of the Mid-Brain Revivalists—commissioned by Univ. of No. Colorado
  • Revenge of the Cow
  • Skydance
  • The Cheese That Time Forgot
  • The Meaning of the Blues (arrangement)
  • There Will Never Be Another You (arrangement)
  • Twice IN, Twice Out (for small jazz ensemble)
  • We Three Kings (arrangement)—commissioned by the KC Dream Factory
  • Widow’s Walk (arrangement)

UNC Jazz Press—Music for Vocal Jazz Ensembles:

  • Back to Life (arrangement)
  • Lone Jack (arrangement)—commissioned by the Univ. of No. Colorado
  • Rhythm-a-Ning (arrangement)
  • Still Warm (arrangement)


  • “Ella Fizgerald’s solo on ‘LemonDrop’: A Vocal Transcription” in Jazz Educator’s Journal, Sept./Oct. 1987.

Selected Recordings


  • KU Jazz Ensemble I, WYRGLY; director/producer.


  • The Kansas City Boulevard Big Band (Sea Breeze); composer/arranger/director/ producer.
  • UNC Jazz Lab Band I, Alive XV (United Musical Artists); “Widow’s Walk,” “Big All Meets the Barnyard Gals,” composer/arranger.
  • The University of Kansas Choirs, Vespers, producer.


  • Northern Arizona University, Year of the Cow (Sea Breeze); “Revenge of the Cow,” composer.


  • KU Jazz Ensemble I/Jazz Singers, GUARABE; director/producer.
  • Spirit of Kansas City Orchestra, SPIRIT; saxophonist.


  • UNC Jazz Lab Band I, Alive X: Off the Cuff; “Return of the Mid-Brain Revivalists,” composer.
  • The Kansas City Boulevard Big Band, Dreams Come True; “We Three Kings,” arranger/producer.
  • California State University-Fullerton Jazz Ensemble, Live at Montreux, “Hey Mama, Your Samba’s on Fire!” composer.


  • Axidentals/Sus 4, Hot 1990; “Lone Jack,” arranger/Yamaha WX-7 soloist.

Selected Professional Experience


  • Director, OBA/IAJE Oklahoma All-State Jazz Ensemble, 1995.
  • Clinician, UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival, CO, 1995, 1993, 1991, 1990.
  • Clinician, Central States Jazz Festival, Kansas State University, 1995, 1994.
  • Director, KMEA Kansas District I Honor Jazz Ensemble, 1994.
  • Director, KMEA Kansas District VI Honor Jazz Ensemble, 1994.
  • Director, MMEA Missouri West-Central District Jazz Ensemble, 1994.
  • Clinician, Wichita Jazz Festival, Wichita State University, 1994.
  • Director, Tri –State Honor Jazz Ensemble, University of Wisconsin, Superior, 1993.
  • Director, NMEA Nebraska All State Jazz Ensemble, 1993.
  • Director, KMEA Kansas District III Honor Jazz Ensemble, 1993.
  • Clinician, University of Oregon Jazz Celebration, Eugene, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1989.
  • Clinician, University of Portland Jazz Festival, Portland, OR, 1993.
  • Director, KMEA Kansas District V Honor Jazz Ensemble, 1992.
  • Clinician/Guest Artist, Hastings College Jazz Festival, BE, 1992.
  • Clinician, Central Missouri State Jazz Festival, Warrensburg, 1992, 1991.
  • Director, Minnesota MMEA All State High School Jazz Band, Minneapolis, 1992, 1991.
  • Clinician/Guest Soloist, Da Capo Big Band, Osthammar/Uppsala, Sweden, 1991.
  • Director, KMEA Kansas District I Honor Jazz Ensemble, 1991.
  • Clinician, St. Cloud State University Jazz Festival, St. Cloud, Minnesota, 1991.
  • Clinician, Guest Artist, Southwester Michigan College Jazz Festival, Dowagiac, 1991.
  • National Endowment for the Arts Tour, UNC Faculty Jazz Quintet, Rocky Mountain Region, 1987.
  • Clinician, Mile High Jazz Festival, Denver, CO, 1987.
  • Clinician, Colorado West Invitational Music Festival, Grand Junction, 1987.

Professional Performances

  • Matt Catingum, Professional Studio Musician.
  • Tom Kubis, Professional Studio Musician.
  • Bobby Shew, Professional Jazz Trumpeter.
  • Diane Schuur, Professional Jazz Vocalist.
  • Mavis Rivers, Professional Jazz Vocalist.
  • Jay Clayton, Professional Jazz Vocalist.
  • Rich Matteson, Professional Jazz Euphoniumist.
  • Bob Bowman, Professional Jazz Bassist.
  • Ed Soph, Professional Jazz Drummer.
  • Kansas City Boulevard Big Band, Kansas City, 1990-Present, numerous concerts/engagements throughout the Midwest, including:
  • 1995 Glenn Miller Festival, Clorinda, IA
  • 1994 Ottawa, KS, Concert Artists Series
  • 1994 Central Missouri State University Concert Series
  • 1993 Kansas City Jazz and Blues Festival
  • KU Jazz Workshop Faculty Combo, 1993-Present.
  • Crosswind, Kansas Area College Faculty Jazz Sextet, 1991-Present.
  • Topeka Jazz Festival All Stars, Topeka Performing Arts Center.


School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.