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Sat, Nov 25


Merrimans' Playhouse

Affinity Trio

Affinity Trio creates an intimate ambience with a strong rhythmic groove. Their repertoire includes standards from the Great American Songbook, original music, and bebop.

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Affinity Trio
Affinity Trio

Time & Location

Nov 25, 2023, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Merrimans' Playhouse, 401 E Colfax Ave, Suite 135, South Bend, IN 46617, USA


About the Event

TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student.

"Jacobson, York, and Schaub are masters of sound, touch and feel. This outing showcases them in a drumless trio format which allows for all three of their gorgeous sounds to be heard with clarity. It's a swinging record that will keep you on the edge of your seat." - Dan Nimmer, pianist with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis

"I am so enjoying listening to the new trio project from my good friend Eric Jacobson! His fluent, clear-toned trumpet playing is complemented perfectly by the swinging piano of Pamela York and the firm bass playing of Clay Schaub. The cohesion and empathy that this trio has built up over a long period of playing together on a regular basis really shows in their treatments of the standards and jazz classics featured on this recording. Highly recommended!" - Brian Lynch, Grammy Award Winning trumpeter and band leader

Eric Jacobson - trumpet

Clay Schaub - bass 

Pamela York - piano


Affinity Trio consists of Eric Jacobson on trumpet, Clay Schaub on bass, and Pamela York on piano. Individually, they have worked with some of the biggest names in the jazz world: Benny Golson, Phil Woods, Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton, Bruce Barth, Brian Lynch, Greg Tardy, Frank Morgan, etc.

The trio has held a regular Monday night residency at the Mason Street Grill in Milwaukee, Wisconsin since 2021. Performing without a drummer, Affinity Trio creates an intimate ambience with a strong rhythmic groove. Their repertoire includes standards from the Great American Songbook, original music, and bebop. 

Affinity Trio's debut recording, release Hindsight, is now available on Origin Records.

Jazz trumpeter Eric Jacobson is quickly gaining a national reputation. He is in high demand as a performer, teacher, and clinician. Majoring in Music at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater from 1993-1997, Eric studied trumpet with Dr. Frank Hanson, and Grammy Award winning Jazz Director Steve Wiest. Since then, Eric has performed with Grammy© Award Winners Phil Woods, Benny Golson, Brian Lynch, Tito Puente Jr., and Eric Benet. Eric is a top call trumpeter for high-profile gigs in Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago. Eric performs in the windy city at the Green Mill, Jazz Showcase, Winter's Jazz Club, and Andy's Jazz Club with some of the top Chicago groups including The Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Chicago Yestet, Bakerzmillion, and Mark Colby's Quintet. In 2019 and 2021, Eric toured the east coast leading his own group in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, D.C., Philly, and New York. This group featured world-class musicians Bruce Barth and John Swana.

Eric also stays busy in the recording studio. His CD, Combinations was released in 2018 under Grammy Award winner Brian Lynch's jazz label Holistic Music Works. Jazz critic Scott Yanow gave the album a 4-star review in Downbeat and wrote, “Combinations, [is] trumpeter Eric Jacobson's third CD as a leader.... This is a major straight ahead jazz release that is certain to gain much attention." Discover, by The Eric Jacobson Quintet, was released in 2022 under the Origin Record Label, and features Eric Jacobson on trumpet, Bruce Barth on piano, Dennis Carroll on bass, George Fludas on drums, and Geof Bradfield on tenor sax. A second CD by the Chicago jazz sextet BakerzMillion, with Eric on trumpet, was released in June of 2022 on the Delmark Records label.

Eric is as dedicated to teaching jazz as he is to playing jazz. 

A testimonial from Brian Lynch, Two-time Grammy© Award Winning Trumpeter: "Eric is the real deal! a truly world-class jazz trumpeter with a gift to inspire, motivate and teach students of all ages with dramatic results. By sharing his own passion for the music with his students, he instills that "fire in the belly" that makes great musicians; and in instilling a love of practice and a robust work ethic, he equips his students with the tools to excel for a lifetime. And most importantly, he provides a compelling example of excellence for his students by his own brilliant playing. The word is out in the jazz world about the accomplishment of Eric Jacobson as both player and educator, and he's making that world a better place with his great work!"

Clay Schaub is a jazz bassist who performs and teaches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Clay has been playing music professionally for over 20 years, including five years on the New York City jazz scene, where he regularly worked with Michael Kanan, Greg Ruggiero, Gregory Tardy, Bob Mover, Sam Taylor, and countless others. An in-demand bassist in the Midwest, Clay performs over 250 engagements each year. He draws on this experience in his first method book, Build Walking Bass Lines in 14 Days: Jazz and Blues Bass Lines for Upright and Electric Bass. Clay is a faculty member of the Milwaukee Jazz Institute and a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. As an educator, he has been a guest clinician for the University of Wisconsin, the University of New Mexico, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and many others. He is also a recipient of the Downbeat Award for Outstanding Big Band Arrangement. He finds great joy in playing bass, composing, teaching, and raising a family.

"Listening to the music of Pamela York is like having a conversation with her.

Canadian-born jazz pianist, composer, and vocalist, Pamela audaciously invites her audience to enter her life for a moment in time—for she is also a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend.

To Pamela York, what matters most is connecting with people as she tells a story through her music, either through one of her three CDs—Blue York (2000), The Way of Time (2006), or Lay Down This World: Hymns and Spirituals (2012)—or in a live performance.

It all began with her grandmother’s piano. The powerful sound of an aging British upright piano may have been neglected in the basement, but it changed the life of a wide-eyed 8-year-old—especially after her parents surprised her with a piano of her own at their home in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Classical piano training commenced. Several years later, she began to learn to play by ear during the Saturday jam sessions of a friend’s parents: country rock musicians who lived in Pamela’s neighborhood. During high school, her ear became enthralled with the sounds of jazz, especially Bill Evans and her fellow Canadians Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall.

By age 15, Pamela was playing local gigs, eventually earning an Associate Degree in Piano Performance from the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1990 she was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts that enabled her to study jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

The move from her Vancouver Island home to a bustling American city began to shape the music of the artist you now hear. “I think that where you study affects how you play,” says Pamela. “Moving to Boston was a big cultural change—taking my first ride on a subway and seeing crowds of people on the streets. I grew as a person and began to play differently. This confidence enabled me to take greater risks with my musical ideas and develop my own voice.” She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Berklee in 1991.

In 1995 she completed her Master’s Degree in Jazz from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she held a full-tuition graduate teaching assistantship. During her stint in the Volunteer State, two men changed Pamela’s life: she studied with her “greatest mentor” Donald Brown, and she married her husband, Adam York. Adam and Pamela moved to San Diego, California, in 1996, a move that led to even deeper growth in Pamela’s career.

Since then, she has only looked straight ahead. In 2000, bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton joined Pamela on her debut album, Blue York, an rare opportunity for an emerging jazz pianist. The trio successfully created an 11-track CD with such intimacy that it seems the trio is performing in the listener’s living room.  Blue York includes six jazz standards, three original compositions, trumpeter Tom Harrell’s “Sail Away,” and a reharmonized folk hymn, “What Wondrous Love Is This!” Highlights include Pamela’s Latin-infused take of Gershwin’s “Fascinating Rhythm,” John Clayton’s magnificent solo on “Intimacy of the Blues,” and Jeff Hamilton’s sensitive brushwork on “Just One of Those Things.” Pamela’s three original tunes demonstrate the diversity of her range—the solo blues, “Back to the Border,” the lively swing, “Blue York,” and the tender ballad, “The Promise.”

These compositions reflect a hallmark of Pamela York’s style—her artistic voice strongly communicates a complete and balanced musical message while taking the listener somewhere unpredictable from song to song.

Her 2006 CD, The Way of Time, embraces a similar maturity through its mixture of blues, ballads, swing, and Latin grooves. With six original tunes and six standards, The Way of Time features Pamela’s piano and vocal talents alongsidebassist Lynn Seaton, drummer Sebastian Whittaker, and guitarist Mike Wheeler. The CD is perfectly titled, as its musical theme comprises the ways we change through the passing of time. The tunes on The Way of Time were inspired not only by Pamela’s move from the West Coast to Houston, Texas in 2001, but also by the birth of her children, Anna and Jonathan.

Three tunes on The Way of Time are worth highlighting for their distinctive reflections upon motherhood. Pamela’s original blues shuffle, “Mama’s Midnight Hour,” reminisces on the rare nocturnal windows of privacy a mother can devote to her personal or professional goals once her child falls asleep. In her innovative lyrical ballad, “All Too Soon (For Anna),” the conversation between the piano and bass evoke the relationship between parent and child, as time leads to growth that paradoxically brings both remorse and delight. Through the changed meter of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” Pamela musically highlights the spiritual’s lyrics from deep despair to confident hope.

Pamela’s roots in classical music are nowhere more evident than on her solo piano tour de force, her riveting interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan.” The soulful guitar of Mike Wheeler serenades the listener on Pamela’s elegant Jobim-like bossa nova, “Counting the Stars,” and the brooding bass of Lynn Seaton makes “April in Paris” especially memorable. Pamela’s singing voice is heard on the two standards “East of the Sun” and “You’ve Changed.” These candid, unadorned interpretations leave the listener wishing for more than just two vocal tracks.

In 2012, Pamela released her third CD, Lay Down This World: Hymns and Spirituals, a beautiful collection of sacred music that precedes the 20th century. Pamela reharmonized each melody into a contemporary sound. Whether playing the ancient Celtic melody of “Be Thou My Vision,” Martin Luther’s famous Reformation hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” or the moving spiritual, “Deep River,” Pamela creates an atmosphere that is by turns reflective or rousing—and always breathtaking. Using her tradition as a jazz pianist, she reveals her imaginative conviction that proves her skill as a leader and arranger who paints new colors on timeless, beloved songs.

While other jazz artists may boast similar accomplishments—a degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, becoming a finalist in the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition in 2006 and 2007, or winning the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2007—few musicians can craft album statements as complete as Pamela York. She describes her style as “one foot in the tradition and one in the future.” As a interview declared, “While playing tunes made famous by some of the legendary masters, Pamela York makes her own statement without being a pretender.”

In Pamela, both newcomers and jazz aficionados will discover an exceptional talent on a journey of ascent.  As she tours throughout the United States and Canada, reaching new audiences through her music, Pamela York looks forward to sharing her jazzful heart with you at a live performance soon!"

By Erika Koss

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from the Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services Private Trust Foundations, which include grants from the Stanley A. and Flora P. Clark Memorial Community Trust Foundation (2020-2021; 2022-2023 seasons), the John, Anna, and Martha Jane Fields Memorial Trust Foundation (2021-2022; 2022-2023 seasons), and the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust (2021-2022; 2022-2023 season). Special concert event support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season). Activities are made possible in part by the Arts Organization Support (AOS), Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency (2023-2024 season).

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from The Esther and George Jaruga Charitable Foundation (2020-2023 seasons).

The Student and Home Grown Series concerts made possible, in part, with support from the ArtsEverywhere Grant from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, and the Arts Project Support Grant and the Arts Recovery Grant through the Indiana Arts Commission.


  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended
  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended



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