Dana Hall has been an important musician on the international music scene since 1992, after having left aerospace engineering for a life in music. He holds 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. He has performed, toured, and/or recorded with such luminaries as Branford Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Curtis Fuller, Joe Lovano, Horace Silver, Benny Golson, Marcus Belgrave, Bobby Hutcherson, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Jackie McLean, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Maria Schneider, and Joe Henderson, among others. Former artistic director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and permanent member of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, 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 four recordings. He also leads a number of ensembles and projects, including the Dana Hall Quintet; the Dana Hall/Nick Mazzarella Duo; Polyglot, a quartet devoted to creative improvised music; Black Fire, a project dedicated to the music of Chicago-born composer and pianist Andrew Hill; Spring, a musical endeavor featuring woodwind specialists Geof Bradfield and John Wojciechowski, acoustic bassist Clark Sommers, and his own drums, cymbals, and mbira; and a project called Black Ark Movement, which was premiered in 2014 at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Hall’s debut CD as a leader, Into the Light, featuring his quintet, was released to great critical acclaim.
As an educator, Dana Hall is a professor of music and the director of jazz studies at DePaul University, where he teaches courses in jazz studies and ethnomusicology in addition to serving as coordinator of the Jazz Combo program. Hall formerly was 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 at Urbana-Champaign, teaching courses in jazz studies and ethnomusicology.
Dana Hall uses and endorses Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, Remo drumheads, and Promark drumsticks.