Dean Koba was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Eventually, he moved to Illinois to attend Northwestern University to study music and earn his bachelor's degree in percussion performance.
After completing his undergraduate degree, the drummer moved to the California and continued his studies at University of Southern California. There he received his master's degree in Music. He was a graduate assistant in the Jazz Studies department, teaching jazz history as well as offering lessons on the drums privately.
Koba has studied privately with the mainstay veteran Jeff Hamilton, who is associated with trio and small groups led by bassist Ray Brown, pianist Oscar Peterson and pianist-vocalist Diana Krall. Koba has also studied with Joe Labarbera, known for his work with Bill Evans trio and with vocalist Tony Bennett. While studying abroad, Koba performed in Italy, Denmark, and Germany.
Dean Koba continues to live in California and freelances as a performer in Los Angeles. He has been a percussion instructor at Long Beach City College since 2000 and has been a jazz drum set instructor at El Camino College since 2006. Koba has alo worked for Disneyland since 1990 alongside the Bayou Brass Band, Jambalaya Jazz Band, and the Royal Street Bachelors.
At this point, the drummer has a long list of musical associates with whom he has performed and recorded with including Benny Bailey, Bud Shank, Clayton Brothers, Bill Cunliffe, Bill Mays, Dee Daniels, Walter Norris, Gary Foster, Fareed Haque, Makoto Ozone, Roberta Gambarini, Jackie Ryan, Red Holloway, Greg Reitan, and Tamir Hendelman.
Acoustic Jazz Quartet, Acoustic Jazz Quartet (Naxos)
Acoustic Jazz Quartet, Organic (Origin)
Jeff Benedict, Standard Fare (Resurgent Music)
Brent Jensen, Stay Cool (Origin)
Brent Jensen, The Sound of a Dry Martini: Remembering Paul Desmond (Origin)
Christoph Luty, It's Good to Be Seen (Upright)
Greg Reitan, Some Other Time (Sunnyside)
Greg Reitan, Antibes (Sunnyside)
Greg Reitan, Day Break (Sunnyside)
Greg Reitan, Post No Bills (Sunnyside)
Various, Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival Soundtrack (Cleopatra)
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, It Feels Like ChristmasTime (Savoy)
Dean Koba plays Aquarian Drum Heads, Bosphorus Cymbals, Gretsch drums, Gibraltar Hardware and Innovative sticks.