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Sat, Jul 16


Merrimans' Playhouse

Markus Rutz Quintet

Markus Rutz Quintet is an ensemble of musicians from Chicago who play together with a cohesive and sympathetic group dynamic performing originals, standards and popular themes.

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Markus Rutz Quintet
Markus Rutz Quintet

Time & Location

Jul 16, 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 $10 General/$5 Student. End time is estimate.

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.

Markus Rutz Quintet is an ensemble of musicians from Chicago who play together with a cohesive and sympathetic group dynamic performing originals, standards and popular themes.

Markus Rutz - trumpet & composition

Jarrard Harris - alto saxophone

Bill Cessna - piano

Samuel Peters - bass

Josh Ross - drums

The band, ready to hit the stage at Merriman’s Playhouse, was formed in 2021 with band leader, trumpeter, and composer Markus Rutz. Regular members are Jarrard Harris on saxophone and bassist Samuel Peters. The newest to join is collaborative percussionist Kyle Swan.

In May they performed in Chicago and brought a debut of The Rose Rhapsody Suite which is a reimagining and arrangement of themes from Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. The origin of this suite is a commission by The Rose Theatre Co. from Washington DC. Markus has since be appointed composer-in- residence for the organization. Material from this suite, plus other selections, was recorded live at Merrimans' Playhouse in September of 2021, and can be heard through this link:




For over three decades, the musical discoveries continue for Chicago-born jazz composer and trumpeter, Markus Rutz.

For the most recent 13 years, Markus has been a band leader on the Chicago music scene playing with many musicians in the city and with an emphasis on performing original compositions and arrangements. Applying guiding principles learned from mentors and former professors Richard Davis, Ellis Marsalis and Harold Batiste, Markus has assembled groups for recording and performances that feature musicians from Chicago, New York and his early adult years in New Orleans.

The most recent three years have been years of achievement in mid- career activities of performances and recording with local and national honors. In autumn of 2019, my album Blueprints Figure One: Frameworks was released which had tracks that appears on a story from NPR’s Morning Edition. The album was in consideration for a Grammy nomination last year. Also last year in January an album release concert was played for my New York City performance debut. The second volume of music from the project was released in September 2020 as Blueprints Figure Two: New Designs. Album recognition and reviews were accompanied by several radio interviews and global radio features notably in France and Germany.

 Blueprints Figure One: Frameworks  received the high honor of a nomination consideration for a Grammy award. Industry reviews from Jazz Weekly, Dusty Groove and Chicago Jazz Magazine also lauded the compositional, performances, and band arrangements from the records.

Chicago saxophonist Jarred Harris has been on the musical scene there for the past 20 years. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, he completed his master of Music at DePaul University. He has played with such artist as Joe Lovano, Malachi Thompson, Nicholas Payton, Etienne Charles, Victor Goines, Antonio Hart, and Eric Reed to name a few. He has served on the music faculties of City Colleges of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, and is currently assistant professor of bands at Purdue University. He has appeared as a guest artist at many high schools, colleges, universities, jazz festivals, and clubs in the United States and abroad.

In 2009 Bill Cessna moved to Chicago to study jazz piano on a scholarship for jazz and classical piano at Columbia College Chicago. There he had opportunities to study and perform with people such as Peter Saxe, Dennis Luxion, Donald Neale, Jeremy Pelt, Barry Harris, Benny Golson, Wycliffe Gordon, Dave Douglas, Christian McBride, Brian Culbertson, and more. After graduating he quickly became part of Chicago’s Jazz and Salsa scenes, while also working as a chorale director, educator, and clinician – conducting numerous jazz/improvisation master classes in Chicago, China, Korea, and Singapore.

Since then he has become highly in-demand both as a sideman and bandleader, performing in venues and festivals such as The Jazz Showcase, Andy’s Jazz Club, The Green Mill, Winter’s Jazz Club, Merriman’s Playhouse, The Jazz Estate, Cliff Bells, Chicago Theater, Blue Note Beijing, JC Club, Old Town School of Folk Music, Hard Rock Café, House of Blues, Grant Park, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and more.

Starting in 2018 Bill attended Western Michigan University on scholarship pursuing a graduate degree in jazz piano. He maintains a busy performance schedule both in the Chicago and Detroit areas, as well as continuing to teach and grow his private piano studio with students of all ages and skill levels. He is also currently performing, composing and leading his own group, the Bill Cessna Trio, recording their debut album in 2020. The mission of the group is to pay homage to the musicians who inspire them, as well as incorporate original music to present meaningful musical experiences to all audiences.

Bill is a multi-instrumentalist with 8 years experience teaching private piano, voice, and improvisation lessons to students of all ages. His teaching approach focuses on learning songs of all styles to enhance student’s technique, understanding of harmony, and improvisational skills while helping them set goals, develop good practice habits, and build confidence.

Samuel Peters is a jazz bassist and music educator based in Chicago, Illinois. He recently completed his Master's in jazz studies at DePaul University, where he studied with Dennis Carroll. Additionally, he has recorded on four albums, toured internationally with groups including the Roy McGrath Quartet, as well as The Old Style Sextet, and maintains a healthy performance schedule in and around Chicago with groups including: the Dennis Luxion Trio, the Charles Heath Quartet, and the Richard Johnson Quartet. In addition to running a private lessons studio, Sam has been the Jazz Bass instructor at Adlai E. Stevenson High School since 2018. 

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Joshua Ross has been playing drums since the age of 2. Along with his twin brother Vibraphonist Joel Ross, he attended the Chicago High Schools of the Arts from 2009-2013, where he established himself as one of the city’s best young musicians. He has had the opportunity to play with many jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock, Sean Jones, Gerald Clayton, Nicole Mitchell, Benny Green and many others. He is currently a working musician playing with many artists in the Chicago area, along with playing with his own group Mxmrys (“Memories”).


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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