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Fri, Jan 13


Merrimans' Playhouse

Chad McCullough Quintet

Midwest Tour 2023. Featuring newly composed works for the ensemble, McCullough is building off of the success of his 2020 release Forward and subsequent European tours with Bram Weijters in support of that release to collaborate on yet another set of originals.

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Chad McCullough Quintet
Chad McCullough Quintet

Time & Location

Jan 13, 2023, 7:30 PM

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


About the Event

TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student. End time is estimate.

Featuring newly composed works for the ensemble, McCullough is building off of the success of his 2020 release Forward and subsequent European tours with Bram Weijters in support of that release to collaborate on yet another set of originals. One of the most fruitful international collaborations of the past decade, Weijters and McCullough have performed well over 250 concerts around the globe. This tour brings many of the most in-demand musicians in the Midwest together for a collaborative effort that seamlessly blends cinematic soundscapes and high-energy improvisations.

Chad McCullough - trumpet

Dave Miller - guitar

Bram Weijters - piano

John Christensen -  bass

Kobie Watkins - drums

Heralded for his “solos of mercurial poetry and high craft.” (Chicago Tribune) Chicago-based trumpeter/composer Chad McCullough is active throughout the world. Dan McClenaghan writes, “He is a rare instrumentalist who makes each note sound as if it were imbued with a deeper meaning. Certainly a player with great chops, his approach is one that is measured and deliberate, often introspective, sometimes gorgeously melancholic, and one that employs a continuity of mood and atmosphere …”

His latest album, Forward was released in the Fall of 2020, and was featured in several “Best Jazz Releases of the year” lists, including the Chicago Tribune, and All About Jazz. Featuring the stellar trio of Matt Ulery, Rob Clearfield, and Jon Deitemyer, with post-production and programming by Ryan Cohan. It is on the Outside In Music label.

His bands have performed at many festivals, including the Festival of New Trumpet Music (New York), the GG Jazz Festival (Russia), Chicago Jazz Festival, The Earshot Jazz Festival (Seattle), Halifax Jazz Festival, and The Appeltuin Jazz Festival (Belgium). His albums have been released internationally on Origin Records, ears&eyes records, Monks and Thieves, and Shifting Paradigm. He’s a frequent collaborator with many musicians/ensembles, including groups with; Bram Weijters, Matt Ulery, Roger Ingram, Dana Hall, Ryan Shultz, Luke Malewicz, James Davis, Rob Clearfield, and Tim Hagans and has performed with Maria Schneider, Miguel Zenon, Stafford James, Michael Shrieve, Avishai Cohen, Kendrick Scott, Claudio Roditi, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Charles Tolliver, Ambrose Akinmuserie, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, and many more.

Chad holds a M.M. from the University of Washington, and a B.M. from the University of Idaho, where he was a Lionel Hampton Scholar, and was the first student to graduate with a jazz emphasis on his degree. In 2009 he participated in the jazz & creative music workshop at the Banff Centre in Canada. He was awarded a DCASE grant for an intensive study with Grammy-nominated trumpeter Tim Hagans from the City of Chicago, and is currently on the jazz faculty at DePaul University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Chad plays custom AR Resonance mouthpieces and trumpets, and a Hub Van Laar flugelhorn.

Bram Weijters ( "Weijters' music is just a joy to listen to.” (All about Jazz).  “A special mention goes to Bram Weijters’ extraordinary piano playing” (De Morgen)  “marvelous interactions from pianist Bram Weijters’”(JazzMozaiek)    Antwerp-based pianist and composer Bram Weijters, has made an international name for his work in jazz, improvisational and alternative music over the last decade. He has produced dozens of albums and collaborates with an array of touring acts throughout Europe and the US.

In 2017 he started the Monks & Thieves Record Label to broaden the reach of the Belgian jazz scene. Weijters frequently works with Chicago trumpeter Chad Mccullough, his own Trio and Quartet, the Belgian super-band Bram Weijters' Crazy Men, Mazzle, Hamster Axis of the One-Click Panther, Piet Verbist, Zygomatik, Jelle Van Giel Group, and has studied with Kenny Werner, Anthony Braxton, Gary Peacock,  Mark Turner, Dave Liebman, Bill Carrothers and many others.

Weijters attended the Antwerp Conservatory, and holds two Master's degrees from the Brussels Conservatory in composition and jazz piano. He has attended the Banff Centre's Jazz & Creative Music workshop in Canada twice, and his projects are frequently funded by Belgian arts organizations.

Guitarist and composer Dave Miller (Greg Ward’s Rogue Parade, Dustin Laurenzi’s Snaketime, Joe Policastro Trio, Algernon, Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls), has been a prominent fixture in the Chicago music scene for nearly two decades. His last record, Old Door Phantoms (ears&eyes Records), hailed by Audiophile Audition as “the multi-genre instrumental album of the year”, as well as “a complex and beautiful piece of work”  by New City, explored themes of nature, spirituality, and the human condition through the lens of an instrumental psychedelic garage rock band.    Echoes of Neil Young’s Crazy Horse and guitarist ‪Marc Ribot‬ continue into Miller’s new album, DAVE MILLER, though he has expanded his focus to now include detailed arrangements and more refined production techniques. With the opening of Miller’s new recording studio, Whiskey Point Recording (co-run with ace pianist/engineer, Dan Pierson (V.V. Lightbody)), Miller’s music has become even more alive and exploratory. Beautiful mellotrons collide with fuzzed out guitars over swampy drums and non-ironic bongos, as if ‪Brian Wilson‬ got into a bar fight with The Meters and ‪Link Wray‬ before realizing they were kindred spirits, with Miller composing the score. Miller’s music, above all, aims to create its own utopic universe where all the cool music coexists.

"Dave Miller has made a record in the tradition of guitar records that sound best coming out of a juke box, the sound of some shit about to go down, maybe bad, but maybe... maybe amazing. You casually make sure your passport is still in your pocket....You might be in a desert motel or in the middle of São Paulo, either way, keep an eye on the door."  - Jeremy Ylvisaker (Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, John Prine, Bruce Hornsby)

Award winning bassist, composer and Shifting Paradigm recording artist John Christensen supplies an open-hearted solidity and adventurous spirit to all of his music endeavors. With an appetite for expressing in many musical genres and situations, John has found a unique compositional voice, as demonstrated on his highly acclaimed debut album as a leader, Dear Friend.

While an ardent student and practitioner of improvised Black American Music, John’s music also has deep roots in Rock, Folk, and Americana. Content to have his bass playing compared to Charlie Haden’s lyricism, as in reviews for Johannes Wallmann’s latest album Precarious Towers, he’s also happy to have comparisons difficult to find. His compositions strive toward a hopefulness and appreciation for the beauty and awe of life, and the wonder of small, important things.

John Christensen began his bass studies with Chris Wood in high school. After brief stints at Berklee College and North Texas, John moved to San Francisco and played in the burgeoning music scene during the late 90’s. Since Moving to Wisconsin in 1999 John has become a highly sought-after side musician, playing with numerous regional and international artists and bands. He leads his own groups and is also a co-founder of Lesser Lakes Trio with longtime collaborators Devin Drobka and Jamie Breiwick as well as KASE, an improvised hip hop trio with Jamie and Turntablist Jordan Lee.

A native of Chicago, Illinois,  Kobie Watkins began as a small child listening and watching his father, Alious C. Watkins, playing drums in church. Kobie started with pots and pans as a toddler, and over time has developed a personal system of timely discipline and structure for music and life skills. He has progressed into who he is today — professional drummer/percussionist and music/jazz educator.

Kobie has cultivated dynamic relationships with his peers in and out of the Jazz, Latin, and Gospel community as a drummer, percussionist, and a mentor. Living out his commitment to music, he has played and recorded with a long list of great musicians: jazz legends Sonny Rollins, Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Curtis Fuller, Bob Mintzer, John Patitucci, Arturo Sandoval, George Coleman, Ira Sullivan, Sonny Fortune, Roy Haynes, Kurt Elling, Fred Anderson, Bobby Broom, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Orbert Davis, Ken Chaney, Ron Perrillo, Bethany Pickens, Ryan Cohan, Jarrard Harris, and James Austin.

Additionally, Kobie has performed with Gospel singer Kim Burrell, R&B and Neo Soul artists Julie Dexter, Javier, Kendra Ross, Chris Robinson, and many others. Kobie has toured extensively in Africa, Europe, Asia, Canada, South America, and the United States.

He is currently a product level Artist with Sabian cymbals (05), Sonor Drums (09), Aquarian Drum Heads (10) Vic Firth Drum Sticks (12).

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. Special concert event support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season).


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount




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