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Wed, Dec 01


Merrimans' Playhouse

J.J. Wright Trio

Our Home Grown Jazz Performance Series presents the J.J. Wright Trio featuring J.J. Wright on piano, Katie Ernst on bass, and Zach Harmon on drums.

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J.J. Wright Trio
J.J. Wright Trio

Time & Location

Dec 01, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:05 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 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.

Our Home Grown Jazz Performance Series presents the J.J. Wright Trio featuring  J.J. Wright on piano, Katie Ernst on bass, and Zach Harmon on drums.

J.J. Wright’s style cannot be easily categorized. Trained as a jazz improviser at the New School for Jazz in NYC, he’s also passionate about sacred music. Palestrina and Bach vie with Monk and Cannonball Adderley as just a few of his harmonic and melodic inspirations. While with the U.S. Naval Academy Band, Wright performed for the President, as well as several other high-profile diplomatic gigs, and with the Caribbean Jazz Project: Afro Bop Alliance, recording and performing with vibraphonist Dave Samuels. The album was nominated for a GRAMMY for ‘Best Latin Jazz Album’ and won the Latin GRAMMY in the same category. In addition to Mr. Samuels, J.J. has had the privilege of performing with Billy Hart, Ike Sturm, Nate Wood, Chris Cheek, Zach Harmon, Mark Ferber, Matt Ulery, and Delfeayo Marsalis.

In November 2016, Wright’s Advent cantata with the Notre Dame Children’s Choir, O Emmanuel, debuted at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts where it remained for eight weeks. He did his graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Notre Dame and had a fellowship in Rome, where he researched and wrote his dissertation on the early Baroque oratorio while studying at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and interning with the Sistine Chapel Choir.

Wright became the Director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir in 2017, and has released two albums with the choir: Catch the Spirit, which celebrates African and African American sacred music and They Tell Me of a Home: Celebrating 40 Years of the Folk Choir. When he’s not conducting, composing, or recording, he’s a husband and father to three beautiful children.

Bassist/vocalist Katie Ernst is described by the Chicago Tribune as “a versatile young bassist who plays in far-flung bands and sings with uncommon delicacy and authenticity.” She is co-leader of the adventurous Chicago-based jazz trio Twin Talk and has received widespread critical acclaim for her Dorothy Parker poetry song cycle Little Words, which premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2015.

Some recent notable performances and awards include performing in Mexico City, MX for a Chicago/CDMX Improvised Music Exchange in 2020; performing with MacArthur Fellow and renown pianist/composer Jason Moran at the Chicago Symphony Center and the Kennedy Center; receiving a composing residency at the Ragdale Foundation; multiple performances at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and Chicago Jazz Festival; representing the USA as bassist and vocalist for the 2018 EuroRadio Jazz Orchestra in Riga, Latvia; and being named a Luminarts Fellow in Jazz in 2013.

Katie is an active sidewoman in the jazz and improvised music communities of Chicago, and travels throughout the US as a guest artist/clinician for young musicians. She is the director of the jazz ensemble at Wheaton College and teaches at Birch Creek Music Academy for the Jazz I summer program.

Katie holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media and a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. More information about Katie and her music can be found at

Zach Harmon is a versatile drummer and percussionist who specializes in improvised music. He attended the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (now the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz) where he studied under Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Lewis Nash, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, and many other jazz greats. Through this immersive program, he toured with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter through Vietnam and India.

In 2007, Zach recorded tabla on Terence Blanchard’s “A Tale of God’s Will”, which won a Grammy Award for Best Large Ensemble. Over the years, his supportive and creative style has led him to record and/or perform with a vast array of artists including: Ramblin’ Jack Elliott; Kris Kristoffersen; Sara Gazarek; New York Voices; Larry Goldings; Austin Peralta; Tigran Hamasyan; Bill Carrothers; Billy Childs; Anoushka Shankar; Ambrose Akinmusire; Terrell Stafford; Donny McCaslin and many more.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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