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Thu, Jul 29


Merrimans' Playhouse

Bradfield, Hall, Hesse, Sommers Quartet

As part of our Grand Re-Emergence Celebration we will present a Free Concert featuring the Powerhouse Quartet from Chicago!

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Bradfield, Hall, Hesse, Sommers Quartet
Bradfield, Hall, Hesse, Sommers Quartet

Time & Location

Jul 29, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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


About the Event

FREE CONCERT ! Cash Bar, but Family Friendly 

Concert made possible by the Wells Fargo Grant from the Flora P. Clark Memorial Community Trust Foundation.  

Clark Sommers-Bass  Jazz bassist 

Clark Sommers resides in Chicago and recently completed a Masters degree in jazz composition at DePaul University. Sommers is a 2-time Grammy award winning bassist who cut his teeth on the Chicago jazz scene in the mid 1990’s playing with local heroes Lin Halliday, Jodie Christian, Von Freeman among others. He has been touring the world since 2008 with Grammy-award winning Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and can be heard on seven Elling recordings including “Dedicated You” and "Secrets are the Best Stories" both having won a Grammy award for Best Vocal Jazz Album in 2009 and 2021 respectively. Clark released his third album as a leader entitled “Peninsula” on March 6th, 2020 and is featured on over 100 albums as a sideman. Clark has also had the privilege of performing and recording with Portland pianist and composer Darrell Grant as a member of his “Territory” and “Step by Step” ensembles which include luminaries Brian Blade, Joe Locke and Steve Wilson.  

Geof Bradfield- Saxophone  

Bradfield’s work as a composer and performer on saxophones and clarinets embraces intersections of modern jazz and other streams of African Diaspora music, drawing inspiration from Charlie Parker, Melba Liston, Lead Belly, Shona mbira music, and Gullah spirituals. Born in Houston, TX, Bradfield has performed throughout North America, Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, sharing the stage with artists such as Randy Weston, Dana Hall, Clark Sommers, Brian Blade, Anna Webber, Orrin Evans, Jeff Parker, Matt Ulery, and Ryan Cohan. His work is featured on 50+ CDs including eight albums as a leader that have garnered critical accolades from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and NPR. Nate Chinen describes his Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers (Delmark Records) as “an album of chamber-esque color and oft-surprising texture, because Bradfield is the sort of composer who creates room for departure.” He has received grants and awards from Chamber Music America, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, DCASE, IAC, and the Mellon Foundation. The Downbeat Critics Poll has named him a Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist and Arranger multiple years. Bradfield is Professor of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University and a frequent teaching artist at national and international venues.  Scott Hesse-Guitar  Guitarist Scott Hesse is a well-respected figure in the Chicago jazz community. Known especially for his harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness, Scott is equally at home in straight-ahead or avant-garde settings. Since moving to Chicago in 2005, Scott has played at every major jazz venue in the area. In addition to performing, he is an avid composer and music educator. Currently, Scott is on faculty at DePaul University, Eastern Illinois University, North Park University, and the Chicago Academy of the Arts. Scott holds a BA in Cultural Studies from Empire State College in New York and a master’s degree in Jazz Composition from DePaul University in Chicago.  

Dana Hall-Drums and Cymbals  

Drummer, percussionist, composer, bandleader, ethnomusicologist, and educator Dana Hall has been an important musician on the international music scene since 1992 after leaving aerospace engineering for a life in music. Hall has professional performance and tour credits on six continents and extensive concert, club, and festival experience throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia with the ensembles of others. He has performed, toured, and/or recorded with such luminaries as Branford Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Curtis Fuller, Joe Lovano, Horace Silver, Benny Golson, Marcus Belgrave, Bobby Hutcherson, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Jackie McLean, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Maria Schneider, and Joe Henderson, among others. 

Former Artistic Director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Hall was a member of the Terell Stafford Quintet from 2002–2015, touring extensively with the group and featured on its last four recordings.  In addition to his work in groups led by others, Hall is also the leader of a number of ensembles and projects including Black Fire, a project dedicated to the music of pianist and composer Andrew Hill and spring, a dynamic musical endeavor featuring two multi-instrumentalist woodwind specialists, acoustic bass, and his own drums, cymbals, and mbira. His debut CD Into the Light was released to great critical acclaim. Howard Reich describes Hall as “viscerally exciting, intellectually formidable” with a “seemingly bottomless well of ideas.” Hall presented a newly commissioned, multi-disciplinary work, Hypocrisy of Justice: Sights and Sounds from the Black Metropolis – Riffin’ and Signifyin(g) on Richard Wright’s Native Son in June 2015 as part of the 2014—2015 Jazz at Symphony Center Series.  Hall is a tenured Professor of Music and the Director of Jazz Studies at DePaul University. He uses and endorses Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, and Vic Firth Drumsticks.

Russ Johnson- Trumpet  (unable to attend)

Russ is a recent transplant to the Midwest after 23 years as a prominent member of New York City’s jazz community. He has released seven recordings as a leader or co-leader and has performed on more than 100 recordings as a sideman. The trumpeter has worked alongside many of the legendary figures in jazz, including Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell, and Joe Lovano. In addition, he has recorded and/or  performed with a long list of the most prominent musicians on the international jazz scene, including Myra Melford, Ken Vandermark, and Tony Malaby.  


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