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Thu, Jan 20


Merrimans' Playhouse

Black Diamond

Registration is Closed due to COVID. ALL cancelled concerts will be rescheduled.

Registration is Closed due to COVID. ALL cancelled concerts will be rescheduled.
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Black Diamond
Black Diamond

Time & Location

Jan 20, 2022, 7:00 PM – 9:05 PM EST

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

About the Event

TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student.

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from the Wells Philanthropic Services provided by grants from the John, Anna, and Martha Jane Fields Memorial Trust Foundation and the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust, The Esther and George Jaruga Charitable Foundation, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County's ArtsEverywhere initiative, and the Arts Project Support Grant and Arts Recovery Grant through the Indiana Arts Commission.

Black Diamond thrives on the chemistry and compositions of saxophonists Artie Black and Hunter Diamond. They met while studying under David Baker and Tom Walsh at Indiana University.  A mutual admiration for the collaborative recordings of saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh led them to experiment with their own two-tenor palette, and it quickly became apparent that the variance in their tonal and stylistic approaches created a captivating sense of balance. This dynamic has allowed them the unique compositional opportunity to write for the group in a way that is both deeply personal and instrumentally uncommon.

In Chicago, the band has been featured in residency at Andy's Jazz Club, The Drake Hotel, and The Whistler. Other performances include the 2018 Chicago Jazz Festival, and associations with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Sounds of the City Workshop, the Anagram Series at Elastic Arts, and the Chicago Jazz Composers Collective. Recently, the band has been on three U.S. tours to Florida, Pennsylvania, and the Pacific-Northwest. As active music educators, the group has collectively been featured as guest clinicians and lecturers of jazz and ethnomusicology at Slippery Rock University (Slippery Rock, PA), Whitworth University (Spokane, WA), Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA), and Knox College (Galesburg, IL).

August 2017 marked the release of Black Diamond's debut recording, "Mandala," on Shifting Paradigm Records. Featuring bassist Matt Ulery and drummer Neil Hemphill, the album contains nine original works by Black and Diamond. The title is inspired by the Vajrayana Buddhist practice of sand painting. The intent of a mandala is to form a representation of the enlightened mind through intricate patterning of layered grains of colored sand. The music on "Mandala" represents our grains laid; our mandala composed. "Mandala" was listed as an editor's pick in Downbeat magazine in August 2017.

Black Diamond's second album, “Chant” (Shifting Paradigm), was recorded live at The Whistler in Chicago and released in March 2019 on Shifting Paradigm Records.  This recording built on the momentum of "Mandala" and further crystalized the band's sound.  The nature of the live recording leads to a heightened level of energy and collective improvisation.  In praise of "Chant," the Chicago Reader describes Black Diamond's ability " affirm the importance of discovering the commonalities between mediums that are bound by creativity and growth."

The most recent from Black Diamond, "A Held Space" (Woolgathering Records) features Black and Diamond in a series of improvisational duets whose raw material was edited and produced to create a collage that represents their longstanding chemistry. Jazz Journal UK wrote that "Black and Diamond’s augmenting of their in-the-moment work stops short of straightforward overdubbing and has the effect of deepening their spontaneity and the acute degree to which they are a meeting of musical minds."

Artie Black is a saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, and educator based in Chicago. He co-leads the group Black Diamond, an ensemble that has been actively performing and touring since 2012. Artie can also be heard in groups led by drummer Gustavo Cortiñas, bassist Matt Ulery, trumpeter Alexander Massa, guitarist Jeff Swanson, trombonist Luke Malevicz, drummer Greg Artry, and many others in Chicago’s creative music scene. His newest projects are a collaborative trio with bassist / vocalist Katie Ernst and guitarist Matt Gold; and an apprenticeship and collaboration with Indian tabla master Sandip Burman.

Originally from Butler, Pennsylvania, Artie was first inspired to pursue a career in music through lessons with Dr. Terry Steele, professor of saxophone at Slippery Rock University. Artie graduated with a degree in music education from Messiah College in 2010, and during his undergraduate years he was a student of saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr.  Artie continued his studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, earning a Master's degree in Jazz Studies in 2012. At Indiana, Artie studied saxophone with Tom Walsh and worked as an Associate Instructor with legendary jazz educator David Baker.

In addition to his passion for performance, Artie is fascinated by the learning and teaching process. He currently serves as adjunct professor of saxophone at Wheaton College, and also teaches at Trinity Christian College. Since 2013 Artie has worked as a teaching artist with Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. His goal as a teacher is to inspire his students to find joy through learning for themselves.

Hunter Diamond is a saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist artist based in Chicago. He has released three recordings with Black Diamond, a mutable contemporary jazz project co-led with Artie Black. He is the founder and operator of the artist-run record label Curio Records which serves as the primary outlet for his creative work. Diamond’s debut solo recording Reflective Nostalgia (Curio) is a site-specific saxophone improvisation recorded at the Atlantic Center for the Arts amphitheater and released in August 2021.

After receiving an ongoing fellowship from the Luminarts Cultural Foundation in 2017, Diamond has used foundation funding to realize recording projects, execute national tours, attend artist residencies, and found Curio Records.

Diamond is a producer and team member at Elastic Arts Foundation, a member of the membership committee at Experimental Sound Studio, a staff member of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and a media/design team member for the Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression.

Chicago based bassist/composer and bandleader, Matt Ulery, has developed an  instantly recognizable sound. Known for his sweeping lyricism, unconventional phrase structures, expressionistic emotionalism, Ulery’s music, from small, diverse chamber ensembles to full orchestras, is informed by the entire spectrum of jazz, classical, rock, pop, and folk– specifically American, South American, Balkan, and other European folk styles. He has been performing for 23 years on upright, electric, and brass basses. For a decade, Ulery has been the leader of his own groups and frequent collaborator. Ulery has produced and released 12 albums of all original music under his name including three recent releases of critical acclaim, “By a Little Light,” “Wake an Echo,” and “In the Ivory,” on Dave Douglas’s Greenleaf Music record label in 2012-2014 and his latest, “Festival (2016),” and “Sifting Stars (2018)” on his own label, Woolgathering Records.

Ulery earned a Master of Music degree at Depaul University and Bachelors degree in music composition at The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and has played in bands with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Fareed Haque, Howard Levy, Patricia Barber, Goran Ivanovic, Greg Ward, Jeff Parker, Zach Brock, Jimmy Chamberlin, Makaya McCraven, Marquis Hill and countless others. As a composer, Ulery has collaborated with diverse ensembles such as Eighth Blackbird, Miami String Quartet, New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago, Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, Axiom Brass, Wild Belle, and the Guimaraes (Portugal) Jazz Festival.

When not touring parts of the U.S. and Europe, Matt is extremely active in the Chicago area music scenes and has performed with his own groups at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, NYC Winter Jazz Festival, Chicago Orchestra Hall, Millennium Park Pritzker Pavillion, Chicago Cultural Center, The Krannert Center, Jazz Showcase, The Metro, Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, and countless other fine music listening rooms. In addition to performing, recording, and writing, Ulery is on faculty at Loyola University Chicago and gives masterclasses and clinics nationwide. Matt Ulery leads and composes all the music for several of his own ensembles, including Sifting Stars Orchestra (orchestral art songs), Loom Large (jazz big band), Loom (jazz quintet), Pollinator (jazz brass band), By a Little Light Ensemble (chamber jazz nonet), string quintet, and various other pet projects including hosting a jazz jam every Monday night at The Whistler in Chicago.

After moving from Denver to Chicago in 2015, Neil Hemphill immediately became an in-demand drummer in Chicago’s jazz community. Hemphill received his master’s in jazz performance at DePaul University in 2019 while studying with the internationally acclaimed Dana Hall. Hemphill can be heard in all of the jazz venues in Chicago, large and small, and provides foundation and finesse in many ensembles including the Bobby Broom Trio, the Chicago Yestet, Black Diamond, and the Lee Rothenberg/Dennis Carrol trio.


  • General

    General Advanced or Door

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  • Student

    Student Discount - College students please have ID.

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