Concert starts at 7:00 pm EST
Doors open at 6:30
Double Concert - Ben Schmidt-Swartz/Lewis Achenbach & Meghan Stagl/mj Epperson
Tickets are $20 General, $10 Student. Seating is first come first serve. Doors open at 6:30 pm. We will NOT be offering alcoholic beverages at this event. No BYOB. You are welcome to bring in food however.
Concert made possible, in part, with support from the Esther and George Charitable Foundation, as well as the Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services through grants provided by the John, Anna, and Martha Jane Fields Memorial Trust Foundation and the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust Foundation.
Two Sets with Two projects: The first works feature the marriage of the sonic and visual arts, when the audience is invited into a site specific happening of artistic creation. And second set will be voice and bass featuring standards/singer-songwriter/originals.
Ben Schmidt-Swartz and Lewis Achenbach (Saxophone/Painter)
Meghan Stagl and MJ Epperson (Voice/Bass)
Ben Schmidt-Swartz - saxophones, flute and clarinet.
Ben is a self described member of Chicago’s avant-garde, free-jazz, and creative scene. Schmidt-Swartz released his first record “Mastermind”, co-lead by drummer Nelson Oliva. Schmidt-Swartz and Oliva went on an international tour with “Mastermind”, performing for enthusiastic audiences. Schmidt-Swartz later released a duo recording with AACM drummer Vincent Davis, “Live at Grace.” Most recently Ben has been working on solo performance and composition. He released “Self Quarentet” vols. 1 & 2 on Bandcamp during the Covid-19 pandemic. The work features original compositions as well as multilayered improvisations in which Ben plays saxophones, flute and clarinet.
Ben’s focus now is on solo playing, where he draws from a wide range of styles and techniques to create a unique aesthetic borrowing from the great tradition of solo saxophone from Coleman Hawkins, to Roscoe Mitchell.
Lewis Achenbach - visual artist
Acrylics on canvas, pastels on wood cradle and projected digital are his media/medium.
Artist Lewis Achenbach is pioneering new realities by practicing the discipline of documenting live performances, specifically creative music, jazz, contemporary classical, ambient and experimental endeavors. Lewis creates on-site, in-venue artworks that capture the frequency in the room. This practice has put Achenbach on a path of spiritual discovery that he shares through his formal Jazz Occurrence Project. A JazzO (for short) is a marriage of the sonic arts and visual arts, when the audience is invited into a site specific happening of artistic creation (the band plays and Lewis paints the music).
Lewis moved to NYC at 18, worked for Michael Sporn Animation Studios after graduating from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, moved to the Chicago Suburbs and has been creating live arts since 2012. A drummer once said, “you paint like I play”.
Lewis was the resident visual artist for the Jazz Institute’s XIIV Made In Chicago Festival (Poznan Poland) 2017 and has worked with institutions MCA Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, Hyde Park Jazz Society, NYC Winter Jazz Festival 2019. He has been written about by Howard Reich in the Tribune, Izzy Yellin In Downbeat and Neil Tesser in JAZZIZ magazine.
Meghan Stagl and MJ Epperson (Voice/Bass)
“Beautiful, unexpected… gives the song soul.”
- Cara Lieurance, WMUK
“… warm endearing vocals and [Epperson’s] complimentary bass playing weave together into their own arrangements of jazz standards”
- Dutcher Snedeker, WYCE
Meghan Stagl and MJ Epperson are a jazz duo based out of Kalamazoo, MI. The pair joined forces in 2016 when mutual interest was found in performing with only upright bass and vocals. They began to arrange several jazz standards, highlighting the stripped down instrumentation and creating a warm and intimate musical space. Since then, their repertoire has expanded to include pop, Brazilian, and folk music, including some originals. The two are now performing around the West Michigan area, and starting work on their second album.
Meghan Stagl - piano
Meghan has loved music since the tender age of 6, when she first started taking piano lessons. Born and raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, she continued her studies in music, participating in her high school orchestra and choir, and directing the student-led a cappella ensemble her senior year.
In college, Meghan continued her pursuit of music, and became interested in jazz, studying piano and voice with Steve Talaga, Edye Evans Hyde, and Dr. Brian Coyle. In recognition of her participation and leadership in numerous jazz ensembles, she received the Jazz Jury Award and the Senior Jazz Award, along with the Music Senior Seminar Award for her capstone research project. Meghan then attended Western Michigan University, where she obtained her M.M. in Jazz Performance. While there, she participated in the Downbeat-Award winning ensemble Gold Company along with numerous other groups, and has had the distinct pleasure of singing and studying with artists such as Peter Eldridge, Andrew Rathbun, Greg Jasperse, Keith Hall, Matthew Fries, Sunny Wilkinson, Tammy McCann, and Jeremy Siskind. Now Meghan lives in the Chicago area and has been playing with various groups such as Sam Pilnick's Nonet Project and Gustavo Cortinas Kind Regards.
mj Epperson - bass
Originally from Ann Arbor MI, Mattijane “mj” Brooks Epperson has spent over a decade composing and performing many kinds of music. Since playing cello in grade school orchestra at age 10, mj’s musical styles and interests have evolved into a wide variety of genres, including folk, jazz, electronica, ambient, house, new classical, post-minimalism, and much more. Now based out of Kalamazoo, mj has studied jazz and music composition at Western Michigan University with talented professors such as Lisa Coons, Richard Adams, Scott Cowan, Andrew Rathbun, and Jeremy Siskind. During her studies, mj was awarded multiple Downbeat Student Music Awards, including “Best Undergraduate Jazz Arrangement” in 2019 for her arrangement of “Stella by Starlight”.