Mel Graves Jazz Fund


The Mel Graves Fund was created to assist Jazz Studies students with their education at Sonoma State University. Mel Graves, bassist and jazz educator, taught at Sonoma State University from 1982 until his death in 2008. As head of the Jazz Studies program, Mel taught jazz bass, theory, and improvisation, directed the jazz ensembles and performed with the SSU Faculty Jazz Ensemble.

Mel composed more than one hundred jazz compositions, including a two-hour suite for 10-piece ensemble entitled Out of the Past—Into the New, (2006) which he described as a culmination of his life's work. He maintained long musical associations with Denny Zeitlin, George Marsh and Mose Allison and performed with Joe Henderson, Odean Pope, Dewey Redman, James Newton, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Larry Coryell, Jerry Hahn, Tom Harrell, Kenny Werner, Steve Smith, Eddie Harris, Roscoe Mitchell, Ray Anderson, Art Lande, Bennie Wallace, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts, John Tchicai, Carl Allen and many others.

Mel also recorded more than forty CD and vinyl record projects, some of which include Steve Smith, Eric Crystal, Randy Vincent, Bob Afifi, George Marsh, the Turtle Island String Quartet, Thomas Buckner, Smith Dobson, and Jon Crosse.