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Thu, May 30


Merrimans' Playhouse

Black Diamond (Quartet)

Spring 2024 begins a new chapter in the Black Diamond story with the release of their new album "Furniture of the Mind Rearranging". Black Diamond thrives on the chemistry and compositions of saxophonists Artie Black and Hunter Diamond.

Black Diamond (Quartet)
Black Diamond (Quartet)

Time & Location

May 30, 2024, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM EDT

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

About the Event

TICKETS are $12 General/$6 Student. Concert is one long set. End time is approximately 9:00 pm.

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.

Artie Black - tenor saxophone, bass clarinet

Hunter Diamond - tenor saxophone, flute

Matt Ulery - bass

Neil Hemphill - drums 

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 third release from Black Diamond, "A Held Space" (Woolgathering Records, 2020) 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."

Spring 2024 begins a new chapter in the Black Diamond story with the release of their new album "Furniture of the Mind Rearranging" on Helsinki- based record label We Jazz. This 2 LP collection of new works by the group broadens and deepens the distinctive sound cultivated on their first 3 releases. Available May 24th, 2024, The album features 11 tunes by the quartet and an additional side of 2 duo improvisations by Black and Diamond.

Artie Black has been a part of Chicago's vibrant music scene since 2012. In 2016, he and guitarist Jeff Swanson released an album of original music with their group Living Bridge on Ears & Eyes Records, and Bird is the Worm praised the recording's "fluid lyricism and abundant warmth." Artie also appears on the new Origin Records release by drummer Gustavo Cortiñas, Esse - featured in performance at the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival. His newest project is an apprenticeship and collaboration with Indian tabla master Sandip Burman. Visit his website to learn more.

Attending Indiana University, Hunter Diamond studied with the legendary Dr. David Baker, and saxophonist Tom Walsh. After leaving IU, Hunter toured with Sammy Figueroa (Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins) and his Grammy Experience Band, The Main Squeeze (LA), The Media Noche Quartet (LA), and headlined the Amelia Island Jazz Festival with Randy Brecker (Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Brecker Brothers). Hunter completed his Master’s in Jazz Studies from DePaul University where he studied with world-renowned drummer/educator Dana Hall, and saxophonist Scott Burns. Most recently, Hunter became a 2017 Jazz Fellow through the Luminarts organization, which provides extensive support to young artists of all fields in Chicago. Visit Hunter's website for more information.

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 20 years on upright, electric, and brass basses. To learn more about Matt visit his website.

After moving from Denver to Chicago in 2015, Neil Hemphill immediately became an in-demand drummer in Chicago's jazz and creative music community. To hear more about Neil's process, his influences, and his thoughts about jazz history and its progression, check out this interview he did with Colorado's KuvoJazz radio station.

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; 2023-2024 seasons). 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

    $6 Student/Discount

  • General

    $12 Advanced or Door




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