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Fri, Oct 14


Merrimans' Playhouse

Elaine Dame Trio

Making her fourth headlining appearance at Merriman's Playhouse, join celebrated Chicago-based jazz singer Elaine Dame, as she pays tribute to the artistry of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington. 

Registration is Closed due to COVID. ALL cancelled concerts will be rescheduled.
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Elaine Dame Trio
Elaine Dame Trio

Time & Location

Oct 14, 2022, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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


About the Event

TICKETS are $15 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 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.

Making her fourth headlining appearance at Merriman's Playhouse, join celebrated Chicago-based jazz singer Elaine Dame, as she pays tribute to the artistry of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington.  Something to Live For: The Strayhorn/Ellington Collaboration - Jazz Vocalist Elaine Dame celebrates the collaboration of two of America's most innovative and exciting jazz icons, with two of Chicago's most exciting instrumentalists: pianist Kevin Fort and bassist Joe Policastro.

Elaine Dame - vocals

Joe Policastro - upright bass

Kevin Fort - piano

Dame Jazz

Since 1996, the woman Time Out Chicago calls a "jazz dynamo" and "a gem in the city's vocal jazz scene" has been capturing attention and turning heads at the nation's finest clubs and venues. From her regular appearances at New York's legendary Rainbow Room to her headlining appearances at the 2015 and 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival to headlining venerable jazz rooms across the country, Elaine brings her virtuosic interpretations to vintage vocal classics and modern standards alike.

Elaine's sophomore recording You're My Thrill was released to wide critical acclaim and worldwide radio play. Neil Tesser, Grammy Award-winning writer and author of The Playboy Guide to Jazz said this:  "Elaine possesses an exacting, exhilarating command of melodic lines and emotional currents. It helps that she has pinpoint intonation. In performance, I don't believe I've ever heard her miss her mark, even on difficult leaps or drops in the melody line. She handles those intervals with a dancer's grace and a nuanced attack which allow the line to unfold seamlessly. She floats through a melody without any apparent effort. To appreciate her musicianship, listen to most other singers handle the same material (you can practically hear them sweat). And Dame manages to wed an improviser's expressiveness with a welcome fidelity to the words and their meaning. I think if a saxophone could speak, it might sound like this."

Elaine Dame: 

"Dame has risen to the top ranks of Chicago jazz singers. She possesses everything you could want in a true jazz vocalist: centered intonation, an enviable command of rhythm, and a translucent but powerful instrument" ~Neil Tesser, Grammy award-winning critic, and author, The Playboy Guide to Jazz 

Dame sings - and people stop and listen. Since 1996, the woman Time Out Chicago calls “a jazz dynamo and a gem in the city's vocal jazz scene" has been turning heads and capturing attention at venerable jazz venues from coast to coast, bringing her unique, superlative interpretations to vintage vocal classics and modern standards alike.  

Notable venues include The Rainbow Room, The Metropolitan Club and Feinstein’s 54 Below (New York), The Chicago Jazz Festival (2015 and 2017), The Jazz Showcase, Andy’s Jazz Club, and Winter’s Jazz Club (Chicago), Feinstein’s at Vitello’s and Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Jazz Grill (LA), Tula’s Jazz Club (Seattle), Dazzle Jazz Club (Denver), Sharp 9 Gallery (Raleigh-Durham), The Arts Garage (Delray Beach), Cliff Bells (Detroit), The Kerrytown Concert House (Ann Arbor), The Jazz Estate (Milwaukee) and Noce Jazz Club (Des Moines). 

Comes Love, Dames’ 2005 debut recording was released to wide critical acclaim and international radio play. From Jazz Improv Magazine: “Dame combines a freshness of approach with an unaffected fondness for the music she sings, resulting in a clear-eyed approach for her material that remains accessible to a broad cross-section of listeners, potentially enlarging the audience for jazz.”  

You’re My Thrill, Dames’ highly anticipated sophomore recording was released in 2014 to rave reviews: “Dame’s voice captivates us right from the very beginning, as Dame sings with a passion and a dynamic presence that comes through beautifully. After listening to You’re My Thrill, it is no wonder that Chicago holds Elaine Dame in such high regard, as her latest record is full of charm and appeal that every jazz fan will warm to.” – Listen Here    Elaine worked for years in Chicago’s theater scene before turning her whole focus to jazz. It’s no wonder The Chicago Reader wrote “Ms. Dame has a winning stage presence and chameleon-like vocal flexibility.” Elaine is also an experienced clinician and has presented vocal jazz workshops across the country.

Chicago bassist, composer, and arranger Joe Policastro grew up in the fertile jazz, classical, and popular music scene of Cincinnati, OH. He studied Classical Double Bass Performance on full scholarship at Miami University. Joe earned his Bachelor of Music in Jazz/Studio Music from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and his Master of Music in Jazz Studies from DePaul University in Chicago. After performing and recording in Germany, he settled in Chicago where he quickly established himself as an in-demand musical voice as both performer and composer/arranger. He has performed and recorded with jazz luminaries such as Diane Schuur, Jeff Hamilton, Howard Levy, Phil Woods, Tim Ries, Ira Sullivan, Howard Alden, Rick Margitza, Jim Snidero, David "Fathead" Newman, and Billy Hart. He leads the Joe Policastro Trio, and the group has two albums featuring his writing, arranging, and performing: 2013’s West Side Story Suite for Jazz Trio and 2016’s Pops! He also leads and co­-leads the Gerry Mulligan-­esque ensembles, Jeru, the Mulligan Mosaics Big Band, and the Mulligan Mosaics Nonet for which he has extensively written and arranged. As a composer and arranger, his work can be heard on recordings by numerous artists including Ira Sullivan and the Rob Parton Big Band. As an educator, he has been a Ravinia Jazz Mentor, a Lecturer of Jazz Studies at DePaul University, and he is currently on faculty at Morton College, the Chicago Academy for the Arts, and the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory. He is happy to make Chicago his home along with his wife, Marie, and his children, Ava and Anthony, and his dog, Fritz

Kevin Fort is a Chicago-based jazz pianist and composer.  He has been an active performer for the past two decades and has worked with such notable musicians as John Clayton, Bill Watrous, James Moody, Steve Turre, and John Faddis.  Kevin graduated with the highest honors from the DePaul University School of Music with both his BM and MM in Jazz Studies. While there, he studied piano with Chicago jazz legend, Larry Novak.  Currently, Kevin is a faculty member at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. Kevin’s debut album, Red Gold, was met with critical acclaim. Released in 2014, it has since been played on radio stations across the United States, as well as in Europe and Australia.

Note that concert end time is only an estimate.


  • General

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  • Student

    Student Discount - College students please have ID.

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