Aug 13, 2020
Brian Hamada. (

Fresno State Jazz instructor Brian Hamada dies at 58

Well-known Fresno State jazz instructor and local musician Brian Hamada died on Aug. 10 following a long battle with cancer. He was 58.

Hamada taught jazz drumset and jazz history at Fresno State. He was known in the Fresno music community for about 30 years. Hamada performed with or instructed a lengthy list of the community’s top jazz and pop musicians. He also backed up touring artists like Andrea Bocelli, Don Ho, Bob Hope and Dick Contino.

He recently served on the advisory committee for the new Valley Music Hall of Fame, where he helped develop nomination criteria and a list of potential nominees in the jazz category.

Hamada’s family has established the Brian Hamada Scholarship Fund in his memory. It was his wish before he died in order to support jazz performance majors at Fresno State.

Donations can be made online at or by mail to the College of Arts and Humanities development office at 2380 E. Keats Ave., M/S MB99; Fresno, CA 93740-8024. Checks should be made out to the Fresno State Foundation and “Brian Hamada” should be noted on the memo line.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Aug. 22 at the United Japanese Christian Church at 136 N. Villa Ave. in Clovis, followed by a celebration of life event on Sept. 2 at 4 p.m. at the Fresno Buddhist Temple, Family Dharma Center at 2690 E. Alluvial Ave. in Fresno.

Hamada is survived by his wife, Lori Wall Hamada, a daughter Madeline and son Evan.

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