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Sat, Apr 08


Merrimans' Playhouse

Both Sides of Joni Project featuring Alexis Cole

Celebrating the Release Both Sides of Joni and The Life of Vocalist Janiece Jaffe are imagined in a set of Joni Mitchell's music, arranged by pianist Monika Herzig, and interpreted by award-winning vocalist Janiece Jaffe, who passed unexpectedly in 2022.

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Both Sides of Joni Project featuring Alexis Cole
Both Sides of Joni Project featuring Alexis Cole

Time & Location

Apr 08, 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 $15 General/$5 Student. Note that concert end time is only an estimate.

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, Stanley A. and Flora P. Clark Memorial Community 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. Concert support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season).

Celebrating the Release Both Sides of Joni and The Life of Vocalist Janiece Jaffe are imagined in a set of Joni Mitchell's music, arranged by pianist Monika Herzig, and interpreted by award-winning vocalist Janiece Jaffe, who passed unexpectedly in 2022.

This album is, first and foremost, about relationships: between Janiece and Monika; between the stretch of time that gave rise to Joni’s songs and the ones we’re living through now; and, most of all, between Janiece and these lyrics. She sings them in a pure and transparent voice, sometimes overdubbing the harmonies she once only imagined, and she moves through a variety of moods: reflective on “Both Sides Now”; startlingly direct on “Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow”; with swinging aplomb on “My Old Man”; longingly, on “River,” her yearning teased out by Dutton’s violin; and, in the middle of “The Hissing of Summer Lawns,” seizing upon the word “darkness,” and then sings wordlessly, in the improvisational style she studied with Bobby McFerrin and Rhiannon, a master teacher, and leading the ensemble into freer terrain. She’s “hanging out with the jazzers,” just like she used to, just like Joni so famously and brilliantly did. And she’s revealing both sides of herself—the girl who heard Joni’s songs and wanted to make them her own, and the woman who now leans on them to, like the rest of us, try to make sense of it all. - Larry Blumenfeld

Joni Mitchell was not afraid to push boundaries of musical genres, political taboos, and social divides, a true Shero of Women's History. Jazz veterans Monika Herzig and Alexis Cole will explore Mitchell's music and collaborations with Jaco Pastorius, Charles Mingues, Wayne Shorter, and Carole King. Fresh arrangements and improvisations in the style of Herbie Hancock's masterpiece "River: The Joni Letters" beyond musical boundaries.


Alexis Cole - vocals  

Monika Herzig - piano   

Peter Kienle - guitar

Isaac Beaumont - bass

Cassius Goens - drums

Jazz pianist Monika Herzig has completed her Doctorate in Music Education with minor fields in Jazz Studies at Indiana University, where she is now a faculty member in Arts Administration. She is the author of “David Baker – A Legacy in Music” (IU Press), and "Experiencing Chick Corea: A Listener’s Companion" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017). She is also the head of the research committee for the Jazz Education Network and editor of JAZZ (Jazz Education in Research and Practice, IU Press).

Groups under her leadership have toured the world and opened for acts such as Tower of Power, Sting, Dixie Dregs and more. Her awards include a 1994 Down Beat Magazine Award for Best Original Song, a Jazz Journalist Association Hero 2015 award, as well as grants from the NEA, the Indiana Arts Commission, MEIEA, Jazz Tours, the US Embassy among others. Her newest project “SHEROES” features the world’s leading female jazz instrumentalists and was recently featured on NPR’s Here and Now as well as cited as one of the best releases of 2018 in DownBeat Magazine, placing #31 on the year-end Jazz Week Charts. Thomas Garner from writes, “I was totally awed by the fine musicianship throughout”. The group was the featured guest at Egypt’s Jazz Tales Festival followed by a tour of Europe’s most prestigious jazz clubs including Vienna’s Porgy & Bess and Munich’s Unterfahrt. Monika is a CASIO Artist.

SHEROES is a brilliant project involving some of my favorite musicians, spearheaded by Monika Herzig. It is soulful and thoughtful. I especially love their take on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”- it captures the spirit of the group because there is no stopping great artists from making great music, as demonstrated on this stellar recording. – Terri Lyne Carrington 

Award-winning jazz vocalist Alexis Cole may be the most talented singer to ever hold a top-secret military clearance. A dozen albums into her critically acclaimed career, she may also be the best-kept secret in jazz, a status that’s certain to change as more people are discovering her for themselves.

The year 2009 was a big one for Alexis: She released her first albums on both Motéma Music and Venus Records… and went to Basic Training to prepare for her new job as a jazz singer for the US Army. During her seven years in the Army’s Big Band, Cole had the opportunity to grow as a musician and a person, sharing the stage with ensembles as diverse as the New York Philharmonic and Kool and the Gang. Alexis continued recording throughout her tour of duty, releasing a string of well-received albums, including four titles for Venus, two for Motema, and two on Chesky Records. She proved her versatility on everything from jazz standards to Paul Simon’s lesser known compositions, to Disney love songs to a project on which she teamed up with a fellow serviceman 50 years her senior, the legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli.

Though Alexis transformed into an insightful interpreter of jazz during her Army years, understandably, her personal advancements and achievements had to take a back seat to her military responsibilities. Alexis has blossomed since leaving the service in 2016, trading her uniforms and fatigues for sleek cocktail dresses and chic hats, and focusing fully on her art. The singer’s career has taken on exciting new momentum, with recent accomplishments including gigs at celebrated venues like The Carlyle, Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note; and performances as a soloist with prominent orchestras such as the Boston Pops and the Detroit Symphony. Alexis also recently contributed a guest turn on pianist Harold Mabern’s star-studded album Afro Blue, alongside the likes of fellow guests Norah Jones, Gregory Porter, and Jane Monheit. On the education front, Alexis Cole recently founded the website, an online educational community featuring singing classes, professional development workshops and private lessons with some of the top names in vocal jazz. In 2020 she co-founded the annual Virginia Beach Vocal Jazz Summit. She the director of the jazz vocal program at the renowned conservatories at SUNY Purchase and William Paterson University, and is a Jamey Aebersold-sponsored clinician.

Alexis Cole’s freshly reclaimed civilian status has opened a new world where her profound experience can meld more completely with her worldview and personal expression. As the noted jazz journalist Scott Yanow points out, “Alexis Cole grows in power, maturity, and depth each year. She continues to have unlimited potential.” Whether you’re a long-time jazz fan or a newcomer to the art form, you won’t want to miss a single note from this icon in-the-making.

“Here is the supreme stylist at the height of her powers…. The search for the next great jazz singer is over.”   - Kevin Jones, Fine Music (AUS), May 2018

“…A beguiling voice and charming…stage manner.”  - Ralph Miriello, Notes on Jazz blog, March 2018

Born, raised and having spent the first 28 years of his life in Germany, Peter Kienle picked up a guitar for the first time at age 14. Early on he taught himself to read and compose music. Starting out learning some of the folk music of the day, he soon gravitated towards classical guitar, especially J. S. Bach, and then Brazilian Bossa Nova. After his first jam session with a band, his interest shifted towards jazz and improvised music, which lead to studies at  Jazz School Munich in 1978. Until relocating to the US in 1988 he taught guitar at various public and private music schools.

In the United States he established himself quickly as a capable sideman on guitar and electric bass while teaching a small group of private students and picking up studio work as musician and engineer. Together with his wife Monika Herzig he led the fusion group BeebleBrox until 2002. He has written over 100 works for classical guitar and about 1200 compositions for his various groups which include Kwyjibo, Splinter Group, Nutpicker and most recently The Time Flies.

Cassius Goens III, Assistant Professor of Music (Jazz Drums) at Ball State University, is a highly sought-after musician, clinician, and educator in the greater Indianapolis area as well as across the Midwest. At Ball State, Goens teaches individual lessons in applied jazz drum set to undergraduate and graduate major and non-major percussion students, facilitates a Perspectives of Jazz course, and coaches jazz performing ensembles. Cassius holds degrees from Ball State University (BGS, Music Emphasis) and the University of Iowa (MA, Jazz Studies), where he studied with James Dreier. Goens is known for his dynamic grooves, tasteful solos, and rhythmic intensity as well as his diverse musical background and ability to perform accurately and artfully in many different genres.

As a performer, Goens is an active member of the Scott Routenberg Trio, which released their debut album Every End is a Beginning on Summit Records and have been featured at such notable venues as The Green Mill (Chicago), The Velvet Note (Atlanta), The Jazz Kitchen (Indianapolis) and the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Indy Jazz Fest. Goens also performs all original compositions throughout the Midwest with his jazz quintet Groove Theory, and has appeared at Andy’s Jazz Club (Chicago) and main stage at the 2012 Iowa City Jazz Fest.

Cassius has performed with various ensembles throughout the Midwest, New York, and Europe where he performed at the Montreux, Vienne, and Purugia Jazz Festivals. In 2011, he performed throughout Brazil as part of the Johnson County Landmark Jazz Ensemble. Cassius returned to Brazil in 2012 to tour with his friend and Brazilian guitarist/singer/songwriter Ricardo Coen. Cassius has played throughout Indiana and Iowa with a host of local jazz artists, as well as for indie/folk rock artist Cory Hill. Cassius has also performed with world renowned jazz artists such as Chuck Finley, Buddy Defranco, Andy Martin, Marcus Printup, Karyn Allison, Don Aliquo, Wayne Bergeron, Dennis DiBlasio, Ted Nash, Michael Davis, Matt Harris, Rodrigo Ursaia, Jimmy Greene, and Andy Milne. Cassius has also been a sub for the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Currently, Cassius performs regularly throughout the Midwest with his jazz quintet Groove Theory, who have appeared at such notable venues such as Andy's Jazz Club and main stage at the 2012 Iowa City Jazz Fest. He also regularly works as a sideman for a number of local Indianapolis groups, including Kool's Bazaar, The Matt Wilson Band, The Marlin McKay Group and Premium Blend. In April 2011, he released his debut album "Transition" that features his original compositions as well as his quintet Groove Theory.

Isaac Beaumont is a DownBeat Student award winner and a recent jazz studies graduate of Indiana University, with a bachelor's degree of jazz studies from Butler University. Proficient on both double bass and electric bass, Isaac is a working musician in both Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana and can be seen regularly performing at venues such as the Blockhouse in Bloomington, and both The Chatterbox and The Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis. Isaac has also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with notable musicians such as Randy Brecker, Benny Golsen, Stefon Harris, John Raymond, among others.


  • General

    $15 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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