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Fri, Sep 15


Merrimans' Playhouse

Matthew Fries Trio

Matthew Fries's music has been described as playful and hopeful, introspective, full of joy and wonderment, and awash with tonal colors. The trio swings in a straight-ahead style in the tradition of the classic jazz piano trios, and they will be playing originals and standards.

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Matthew Fries Trio
Matthew Fries Trio

Time & Location

Sep 15, 2023, 7:30 PM – 9:30 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.

Matthew Fries - piano 

Carlo De Rosa - acoustic bass

Keith Hall – drums

“Matthew Fries is a pianist and composer whose music has been described as playful and hopeful, introspective, full of joy and wonderment, and awash with tonal colors. The trio swings in a straight-ahead style in the tradition of the classic jazz piano trios, and they will be playing original music from Fries’ newest release, along with some arrangements of familiar jazz standards and tunes by Fries’ heroes.”


Matthew Fries is a joyful voice on the piano with a unique and recognizable style that is authentically rooted in the tradition of the classic jazz pianists, while still looking forward to the future of the music and the instrument. As a composer and leader he has performed his own music extensively, recording ten albums of mostly original compositions. His music has been described as playful and hopeful, introspective, full of joy and wonderment, and awash with tonal colors. But it is his deeply swinging piano style and collaborative spirit that have also made him an in-demand sideman for both instrumentalists and vocalists. He has toured worldwide, appears on scores of recordings, and his work has been described as “the best jazz accompaniment I’ve seen in a cabaret in years” (The New York Times), and “the crispest rhythm section imaginable” (The London Times).

Matthew is a dedicated educator and he continues to teach lessons, masterclasses, and clinics throughout the US and abroad. Since 2017 he is a proud part of the Western Michigan University faculty as Professor of Jazz Piano where he teaches private lessons, coaches jazz combos, and teaches classes in jazz theory, improvisation, composition and arranging.

Born in Selinsgrove, PA into a musical family, his father was his first piano teacher. Matthew was interested in the freedom of musical improvisation at an early age, but it was a class in college that sparked his interest in jazz piano. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College and a master’s from the University of Tennessee where he was mentored by the Memphis jazz piano great, Donald Brown. It was Donald who saw the talent and commitment in Matthew and encouraged him to pursue music in NYC. He moved there in 1994 and quickly established himself as a recognizable and integral part of the jazz scene – performing in major clubs, recording, and touring while calling NYC home for more than twenty years. Through Donald Brown he also became connected with pianists James Williams and Mulgrew Miller who continued to mentor him in NYC and help him develop his personal style and deep connection to the tradition of jazz piano.

Matthew won the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in 1997 and was runner-up in the American Pianists Association Jazz Piano Competition. He has recorded five albums and toured internationally with his collaborative, original-music trio TRI-FI – a group that Jazz Review says, “takes on the Jazz Trio challenge and delivers a ‘knock out’ punch,” and about whom Downbeat Magazine says, “the clairvoyance of these three members can be mesmerizing.” He has a 20-year collaboration of touring, recording and composing with singer-songwriter Curtis Stigers as part of his band. He has shared the stage with a long list of jazz performers that includes Curtis Stigers, Stacey Kent, Ann Hampton Callaway, DeeDee Bridgewater, Vincent Herring, Steve Wilson, Joel Frahm, Steve LaSpina, Dave Samuels, Claudio Roditi, Terell Stafford and many others.

Keith Hall has established himself as a joyful performer and a passionate educator over the last 25 years and is the Professor of Jazz Drum Set at Western Michigan University. For 12 years, Keith spent much of his time touring worldwide and recording with singer and Concord Recording Artist Curtis Stigers. Hall has also performed with the likes of Betty Carter, Wycliffe Gordon, Sir Roland Hanna, Michael Phillip Mossman, New York Voices, Andrew Rathbun, Janis Siegel, Terrell Stafford, Joe Wilder, and Steve Wilson among others. He has recorded five albums with his critically acclaimed trio TRI-FI.

Hall lived and worked in New York City for nine years performing in a multitude of musical contexts. Although most of these were jazz, he was also a regular sub for Tommy Igoe on Broadway’s Lion King. Hall was a member of the Latin-jazz quartet, Grupo Yanqui, chosen by the United States State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center to represent the U.S. in the American Music Abroad Program. Hall was also a member of the prestigious Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead in 1997. 

Hall is the Artistic Director of the Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive, a one-of-a-kind jazz drum camp that celebrated its 16th year. He is also the Executive Director of TUNED IN, a nonprofit organization, which focuses on supporting the power of music education to change lives. Hall is the author of two instructional jazz drum set books: Jazz Drums Now! Vol. 1 and Jazz Drums Now! Vol. 2 and is the radio host for Jazz Currents on WMUK, the NPR affiliate in Kalamazoo, Michigan and hosts The Real Music Talk Podcast. Hall presents clinics worldwide and is a proud endorser for Remo Drumheads, Yamaha Drums, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Zildjian Cymbals, Cympad, Big Fat Snare Drum, Cympad, Rhythm Tech, and Protection Racket Drum Cases.

Since moving to New York City in 1993 Carlo De Rosa has had the opportunity to work with many great artists in the Latin and Jazz World. This has led to diverse musical and cultural experiences and has allowed Carlo to work with a wide variety of artists such as Ray Barretto, Ravi Coltrane, William Cepeda, Bruce Barth, Dave Valentin, Ed Thigpen, Nick Brignola, Mickey Roker, Steve Turre, Miguel Zenon, Hilton Ruiz, Ralph Alessi, Candido Camero, Jason Moran, Papo Vasquez and the NYC Ballet.

He collaborates and performs with many other great artists including: Vijay Iyer, Allison Miller, Ingrid Jensen, Sam Newsome, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mark Shim, Luis Perdomo, Dave Allen, Chembo Corniel, Lucian Ban, Andrea Brachfeld, Amir ElSaffar, Elio Villafranca, and Victor Prieto.

As a US Jazz Ambassador in 1999 Carlo traveled to South Africa, Mauritius, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Other performances abroad have led him to countries as varied as France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Estonia, Russia, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Argentina, Chile, Romania, Slovenia, Denmark, England, Scotland and Ireland.

His New York Club engagements have included the Blue Note, Birdland, Zinc Bar, 55 Bar, Smalls, Visiones, Fat Cat, Knitting Factory, Detour, Smoke, Kavehaz, Sweet Rhythm, Jazz Standard, Nuyorican Poet’s Café, Tonic, Satalla, CBGB’s Lounge, Barbès, Zebulon, Iridium, Jazz at Lincoln Center Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Cornelia Street Café, La Lanterna Caffe - Bar Next Door, Makor, Town Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Jazz Gallery.

Outside of NYC Carlo has performed in venues such as: the Painted Bride, Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus, Chris' Jazz Café, The Philadelphia Art Museum and the Deer Head Inn (PA); One Step Down, Blues Alley, Twins, Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Meyer Auditorium and the Kennedy Center (DC); Justin’s and the Rosendale Café (NY); Churchill Grounds Jazz Café (GA); Firefly Café (MI.) and Scullers (MA).

In addition, He has performed at the Verizon Jazz Festival/ NYC; JVC Jazz Festival/ NYC; Williamsburg Jazz Festival/ NYC; Freihofer’s Jazz Festival/ Saratoga, NY; Parnu Jazz Festival/ Estonia; Miami Jazz Festival/ Florida; Hartford Jazz Festival/ Connecticut; Jefferson City Festival/ Missouri; Cape May Jazz Festival/ New Jersey; Kinsale Fringe Festival/ Ireland; Earshot Jazz Festival/ Seattle, WA; Bucuresti Jazz Festival and Brasov International Jazz Festival/ Romania; Izzven Jazz Festival Maribor/ Slovenia; Cape Town International Jazz Festival/ South Africa; Imaxina Sons Festival De Jazz De Vigo/ Spain; Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival and Washington Jewish Music Festival/ Washington DC; Jazz in the Square Festival/ Syracuse, NY; The London International Jazz Festival/ London, UK.


This album of original music explores the ways in which we might perceive time being lost. The music was written during the Covid pandemic lockdown when we all experienced our own version of lost time – loved ones we lost, special events we missed out on, and just the general loss of awareness of knowing what day it was!

Lost Time varies widely in color and mood even as it documents a cohesive aesthetic, animated by the deep lyricism and swing of Fries’ writing. Threading together formative influences in his own inimitable voice, Fries contemplates life at a time when tragic loss and long-sought artistic clarity and progress exist side by side.

Matthew Fries – piano  

John Hébert – bass

Keith Hall – drums

“There are lots of ways time can be lost,” says Fries, reflecting on Lost Time and the achingly beautiful, Keith Jarrett-influenced ballad that is its title track. There is of course the painful sense of missing out, of isolation from family — all the travails brought on by the pandemic, when most of these pieces were written, including the elegant “Continuum” and the alert swing vehicle “Quarantine.” There’s also the sense, Fries adds, “of time seeming to stop, or becoming irrelevant because of what is happening around you. Time kind of became irrelevant, got lost or ended for many of us during 2020.” And yet the nourishing work of creativity went on, new connections were forged, and the soaring, unpredictable arc of Lost Time is Fries’ way of bearing witness to that.

Produced by Matthew Fries   Session produced by Andrew Rathbun   Recorded July 21, 2021 at Transient Sound, Chicago by Vijay Tellis-Nayak   Mixed by George Petit   Mastered by Oscar Zambrano (Zampol Productions)   Vinyl by Gotta Groove Records

Thanks to Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo for generously supporting this project.

 Matthew Fries Trio // The Fog 

Live video footage from the recording session for Lost Time. Recorded at Transient Sound in Chicago.

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from the Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services Private Trust Foundations, which include grants from the Stanley A. and Flora P. Clark Memorial Community Trust Foundation (2020-2021; 2022-2023 seasons), the John, Anna, and Martha Jane Fields Memorial Trust Foundation (2021-2022; 2022-2023 seasons), and the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust (2021-2022; 2022-2023 season). Special concert event support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season). Activities are made possible in part by the Arts Organization Support (AOS), Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency (2023-2024 season).

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from The Esther and George Jaruga Charitable Foundation (2020-2023 seasons).

The Student and Home Grown Series concerts made possible, in part, with support from the ArtsEverywhere Grant from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, and the Arts Project Support Grant and the Arts Recovery Grant through the Indiana Arts Commission.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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