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Thu, Mar 23


Merrimans' Playhouse

david bixler trio incognito

His latest recording, Inside the Grief, is a product of the trifecta of 2020: COVID-19, systemic racism, and the presidential election, a year illustrating how vulnerable we are and how fragile life is. This music intends to convey this vulnerability.

Registration is Closed due to COVID. ALL cancelled concerts will be rescheduled.
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david bixler trio incognito
david bixler trio incognito

Time & Location

Mar 23, 2023, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

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, 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).

david bixler trio incognito:

david bixler  - saxophone

dan loomis  - bass

fabio rojas - percussion


New Recording from David Bixler, trio incognito:

Inside the Grief

Living through the trifecta of 2020: COVID-19, systemic racism, and the presidential election. Inside the Grief is a product of these strange times in which we are living: The pandemic has changed all aspects of our lives; family, education, and work; society has been upended by an invisible virus.

The murder of George Floyd was both violent and polarizing. His murder functioned as the tipping point where American society was forced to deal with the systemic racism entrenched in this country. From my perspective, it seemed that certain attitudes that had been ignored or buried in various societal groups exploded into the forefront of our national consciousness. For the positive, this convinced a large portion of our society of the necessity for change. However, there remains a large portion of our society who clings to lies and hate. This reality affects all of us whatever our personal view may be.

The election of 2020 has been the most contested election I have experienced in my lifetime where the very core of democracy in our country has been called into question. The distress and distrust resulting from the behavior of government leaders has created an even deeper chasm between opposing sides in society, a chasm that is confusing and frightening. I find myself asking how we as a group of people will ever recover.

Back in May, after two months of not creating music in community, I ventured to the backyard of a friend for a session, then to Riverside Park as well as other parks throughout the city. At first, it felt slightly uncomfortable, but it soon became the norm. In August, I reached out to the Soapbox Gallery, an art gallery in Brooklyn, where a release gig for a previous project, Blended Lineage, had been canceled due to the pandemic. I heard that they had started to present live streams, and I discussed with the proprietor, Jimmy Greenfield, the possibility of bringing in a trio--a group whose size he was comfortable hosting in his space. Initially, it felt strange doing a live stream performance. Four people in the audience (though I have had more than one gig with an audience of that size!), sparce audience feedback, and yet it was thrilling to be creating music with friends. After we had secured a date for the next month for which I wrote new material, we recorded this music shortly after the gig.

The first track is a fusion of two pieces bridged by a percussion solo. The first of the two is a blues and its name comes from a phrase my son used to say during his recovery from major brain surgery when his language center was being relocated to a healthy part of his brain. As he struggled to find words to communicate, the phrase What Does it Care? was used to convey what does it matter? I Spy is a melody with a suggestion of a tonal center. It is from a series of tunes I have written based on the Beatitudes. Like Shosti has a tango vibe and was written about 15 years ago. It is a nod to the Coltrane tune Like Sonny, which is based on something that Trane had heard Sonny Rollins play. However, in this case the melodic motif comes from one of Shostakovich’s string quartets. 389 is a medium tempo swinger whose title signifies the only number my aforementioned son could remember immediately after his surgery. The title track, Inside the Grief, consists of two contrasting themes. The opening figure is in your face and punctuated with uncertain silences which contrasts with a second theme that floats freely over the bass and drums. Balm, with its swing and blues vibe, comes from the set of music based on the Beatitudes, and is a song composed for the hope of promised comfort and healing. The set closes with Vote! which was named by my father. He heard the tune on the live stream while it was untitled, and after the gig told me that he heard someone saying “vote, vote, vote, vote” while we played the tune’s opening. The election was on everyone’s mind in September and the title stuck.

The emphasis on my earlier recordings has been equally divided between the writing and the improvisation. But on this recording the focus is tilted toward the playing. This year has illustrated how vulnerable we are and how fragile life is; I hope that this vulnerability is conveyed in the music. (trio incognito-David Bixler alto saxophone-Gregg August bass-Fabio Rojas drums and cymbals).

Alto saxophonist, composer, and educator David Bixler has recently embarked on an artistic reemergence with the release of three new recordings: In the Face of Chaos (2019) with Bixler, Boccato, Cowherd, and Sturm, Blended Lineage (2020) with the Bixtet, and Inside the Grief (2020) with trio incognito. A new recording featuring music inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes is scheduled for later this year.

After moving to NYC thirty years ago, Bixler cut his teeth touring the world with the big bands of Lionel Hampton and Toshiko Akioshi. He later joined the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Big Band, with whom he played a decade-long residency of Sunday evenings at Birdland and won a LATIN GRAMMY for the recording, Final Night at Birdland. However, a traumatic brain injury suffered by his youngest son necessitated a shift in Bixler’s priorities during the last decade—a period in which his family devoted much of its energy to the care of its youngest member. Because of this new lens, Bixler’s repurposed creative approach is evident in his most recent output.

For the recording In the Face of Chaos, Bixler assembled pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Ike Sturm and percussionist Rogerio Boccato who are sensitive interpreters of Bixler’s music. Their combined effort produces music that is challenging for the listener without being afraid to embrace beauty. In All About Jazz, Dan Bilawsky writes “In the Face of Chaos marks a re-emergence, if not a complete artistic rebirth, for David Bixler. It serves as a true inspiration, drawing beauty from pain, and peace from personal struggle . . . In the face of chaos, with Bixler's knowing horn leading the way, wisdom and wonder win out.”

Blended Lineage, a four-movement work for nine musicians was included in Jay Miller’s Best of 2020 in The Patriot Ledger. The recording features trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Luke Sellick, percussionist Fabio Rojas, and a string quartet composed of violinists Judith Ingolfsson, Heather Martin Bixler, violist Josh Kail, and cellist Rubin Kodheli. Marco Cangiano, writing about Bixler’s playing in New York City Jazz Record states, “There is no rush, no instance on patterns, just the careful choice of the right note and an unusual openness to what the other musicians have to say.”

His latest recording, Inside the Grief, is a product of the trifecta of 2020: COVID-19, systemic racism, and the presidential election. Bixler went into the studio in the fall with bassist Gregg August and Venezuelan percussionist Fabio Rojas and created a set that captures the searing urgency of this time.

Bixler is the host of LINER NOTES with David Bixler, a podcast centered on conversations with jazz musicians. He also serves as Director of Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. As both a Selmerand Vandoren Artist he is active as a clinician and performer throughout the world.

Bixler and his family reside in New York City.

With more than a decade of performing experience since moving to New York City, Dan Loomis has emerged as a daring leader, a sought-after sideman, and a composer whose view of the world – and willingness to explore his own inner questioning – has led to the creation of innovative and moving works.

Loomis has appeared on nearly a dozen recordings with the Dan Loomis Quartet and with bands he co- leads, including the collectives The Wee Trio and SPOKE. The latter two bands have released critically acclaimed albums in recent years, including SPOKE’s (R)anthems in 2014, and The Wee Trio’s Wee 3 in 2017.

In addition to his work on the bass, he’s no less skilled with a pen, having written several commissioned pieces, including a jazz oratorio based on the Book of Job and another based on the final days of Jesus, both commissioned by St. Peter’s Church in New York. He recently formed an ensemble called REVOLUTIONS that uses its music to explore the Haitian and Bolivarian uprisings, and to comment on the world’s continuing need for a revolution of spirit and action.

Loomis is also an in-demand sideman. He’s a regular member of Vadim Neselovskyi’s trio, which has played across Europe and at the Blue Note and Village Vanguard in NYC. A small sample of the no- table names with whom Loomis has performed includes TS Monk, Gary Burton, Wycliffe Gordon, Ernesto Cervini, Joel Frahm, Laurence Hobgood, and The Respect Sextet. He’s played in all of New York’s major clubs and at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in addition to appearing on stages across Europe, Canada, Australia, China and throughout the United States.

Last but not least, Loomis is a popular teacher and clinician, having spent more than a decade working with students across the United States, Canada and Australia. For more on Dan Loomis’s current projects, recordings and clinics, visit

Fabio Rojas, Drummer, Film Composer & Educator based in New York City, originally from Valencia, Venezuela. Since arriving to the US , Rojas has performed with artists such as Terri Lyne Carrington, Geri Allen, Greg Osby Band, Bill Pierce, Sean Jones, Kevin Harris, John Lockwood, Nino de los Reyes, Manuel Valera, Paula Champion, Mike Rodriguez, Pablo Menares, Jason Palmer, Jon Cowherd, Regina Carter, Rachel Z Hakim, David Bixler, Gregg August and in venues such as SXSW, Daegu Jazz Festival, Smoke Jazz Club,  Lincoln Center, BU Agganis Arena, Boston Symphony Hall, Scullers Jazz Club, MusikFest, NAMM, RIFF, among many others. 

Fabio earned his Bachelor of Music with a Dual Major in Performance and Professional Music at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, thanks to a scholarship and extreme hard work. There he had the honor of being mentored by Terri Lyne Carrington and Kim Plainfield. Right after graduating he was hired as a staff member in this institution. Besides performing and composing music for films and commercials, Rojas also educates and is currently part of the Faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.   “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo. Through music you can express greater emotions, ones that you cannot define with words. As an artist, this is what Fabio strives for and continues to do through his work.  Before moving to the US, Rojas studied jazz performance at UNEARTE, previously called IUDEM (Instituto Universitario de Estudios Musicales) while giving lessons of drum set in the Taller de Jazz Caracas and Concert Percussion in the Colegio/Conservatorio Emil Friedman.  Fabio prior to this also studied at the Colegio Emil Friedman. Besides his studies he was working with acclaimed Venezuelan musicians . While in Venezuela Fabio studied with Diego Maldonado.  Fabio Rojas plays Canopus Drums, Vater Drumsticks and Zildjian cymbals exclusively.



  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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