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School of Music


Quick Stats

Mike McMullen
Office: Capistrano 448

Courses/Areas Taught
  • Jazz Arranging
  • Jazz Band
  • Saxophone (jazz)
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Professor Mike McMullen

Mike McMullen is a professionally working musician with over 45 years as a performer, composer, arranger, and educator. He has worked throughout North America, Europe, and Scandinavia, in a wide variety of musical settings.

Mike’s beginnings playing clarinet in school bands has become a lifelong study of music. While he was stationed at the 6th Army Presidio Band in San Francisco, he studied jazz saxophone with Joe Henderson, classical flute with Mong Pil Kim, and spent much time in the jazz clubs and at jam sessions. Mike was awarded a NARAS Scholarship to study composition and arranging with Dick Grove in Los Angeles. Mike also studied studio woodwinds for 7 years with Phil Sobel, and rounded his experience and education with conducting, orchestration, and film scoring.

In addition to his work with the Jazz Studies program at Sac State, Mike currently leads his own jazz groups, collaborates on intriguing creative projects, performs in the pit for California Musical Theater downtown, and works with Sacramento Jazz Orchestra. As an educator, past activities and roles include work with Mondavi Center jazz education, Director of Jazz Ensembles at UC Davis for 11 years, 15 years adjunct instruction at ARC, the 1986 founding and directing the Newpark Jazz Program in Dublin, Ireland, and 3 years on staff at the Dick Grove School in Los Angeles.

In performance Mike spent 17 years as a founding member of the Capital Jazz Project in Sacramento. Among his many jazz groups as a leader, most notable was Pastoria, a 10 year Brazilian jazz collaboration with vocalist Ellen Demos, first based in LA, and then Dublin and London. He also spent much of the 1980’s touring and recording with 4in1, the first truly modern jazz group in Ireland. Aside from his work as a leader, Mike has performed in concert, toured, or recorded with a long list of jazz artists. Among them are Ray Charles, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Bobby Shew, Manhattan Transfer, Doc Severinsen, Natalie Cole, Bobby Hutcherson, Kenny Wheeler, and Moacir Santos.

Commercially, Mike has backed artists Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Johnny Mathis, Frankie Valle, Joan Rivers, Wayne Newton, Tony Orlando, The Moody Blues, and the Temptations. He worked as an arranger, conductor, and performer with radio orchestras in Ireland, Denmark, and Belgium; and in Los Angeles for Arab American Television, Hanna Barbera, and as the house bandleader on the TV show Taxi in 1983/84.