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Thu, Mar 09


Merrimans' Playhouse

Max Johnson Trio

Fresh off the release of their 2022 album “Orbit of Sound” and their tour across Europe, virtuoso double bassist and composer Max Johnson presents his trio with Anna Webber (saxophone, flute), and Michael Sarin (drumset).

Registration is Closed due to COVID. ALL cancelled concerts will be rescheduled.
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Max Johnson Trio
Max Johnson Trio

Time & Location

Mar 09, 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).

Fresh off the release of their 2022 album “Orbit of Sound” and their tour across Europe, virtuoso double bassist and composer Max Johnson presents his trio with Anna Webber (saxophone, flute), and Michael Sarin (drumset). Between the three of them, they have worked with artists such as Anthony Braxton, Mary Halvorson, John Zorn, Dave Douglass, Jen Shyu, William Parker, and this project highlights the individual sounds and experiences of these three unique voices, traversing tightly knit grooving composed music to patient sprawling improvised textures, blending their unique sounds to create something truly special.

Max Johnson - bass

Anna Webber - saxophone, flute

Michael Sarin - drumset

"Combining Johnson’s compositions with well-balanced improvising, the band explores broadly while maintaining a loose sense of groove... Then there are the experimental stretches — arid expanses that revel in silence and concentration before building back into Johnson’s compositional structure." - Craig Matsumoto, Memory Select



Described as “an intrepid composer, architect of sound and beast of the bass...” (Brad Cohan, NYC Jazz Record) composer-bassist Max Johnson creates complex worlds of sound, challenging his listeners to engage deeply and be rewarded with an experience always crafted with love, care, and clarity. With nine albums and over two thousand concerts internationally with artists like Anthony Braxton, Mary Halvorson, Tyshawn Sorey, John Zorn, and Mivos Quartet, Johnson brings a wild energy and excitement. Johnson currently teaches music theory at Brooklyn College and is the father to a beautiful chihuahua named Gabby.

Celebrated as “one of the more versatile figures… a leader with a strong, woody tone” (Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader), Johnson is equally adept as a composer, improviser, and interpreter. He has carved out a unique path in the contemporary music, jazz, and bluegrass worlds as a boundless force of positivity, with a non-stop touring schedule and a prolific body of work. His music has been featured at Lincoln Center, the United Nations, Lollapalooza, Bern Jazz Festival, Delfest, Rockygrass, Greyfox, Old Settler's Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Fayetteville Roots Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, 3 Sisters Music Festival, and the Quebec City Festival. Johnson also has a prolific recording history, having released nine albums under his own name, has been a part of over 50 albums, and can be heard Spike Lee’s Academy Award winning film the BlacKkKlansman.

In 2012 and 2014 was voted No.2 Bassist of the Year and No. 5 Musician of the Year in El Intruso's International Critics Poll.  In 2018 he was commissioned by the University of Glaskow to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Claude Debussy with his work for oboe, horn and harpsichord, Clawed, followed by a commission by the Steven R. Gerber Trust for I Have Heard the Chimes at Midnight for Brass Trio and Piano. In 2020 the Jerome Foundation commissioned him for a new extended work Transformations which was featured in a portrait concert at Roulette, in Brooklyn, NY.

He has toured, recorded, and performed with some of the most legendary names in his fields, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Nels Cline, David Grisman, Ingrid Laubrock, Sam Bush, William Parker, Bryan Sutton, Joseph Jarman, Karl Berger, Kris Davis, Darol Anger, the Travelin’ McCourys, members of Talea Ensemble, Bang on a Can, and the De Capo Chamber Players.  No matter the style of music, Max Johnson is heavily influenced by memory, surprise, stasis, and natural development, and cites the writing of Samuel Beckett and Franz Kafka as important inspiration. Max Johnson holds a Bachelors Degree from The New School, a Masters Degree from both Brooklyn College and the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has studied with Henry Grimes, Jason Eckardt, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Jane Ira Bloom, John Mallia, Mark Helias, Eric Wubbels, Cameron Brown, and Kirk Nurock.

“Max Johnson is one of the most prolific and versatile musician/composers in music today” (Brad Cohan, New York City Jazz Record).

Anna Webber (b. 1984) is a flutist, saxophonist, and composer whose interests and work live in the aesthetic overlap between avant-garde jazz and new classical music. In May 2021 she released Idiom, a double album featuring both a trio and a large ensemble, and a follow-up to her critically acclaimed release Clockwise. That album, which the Wall Street Journal called “visionary and captivating”; was voted #6 Best Album of 2019 in the NPR Jazz Critics Poll, who described it as “heady music [that] appeals to the rest of the body.” Her 2020 release, Both Are True (Greenleaf Music), co-led with saxophonist/composer Angela Morris, was named a top ten best release of 2020 by The New York Times. She was recently named a 2021 Berlin Prize Fellow and was voted the top “Rising Star” flutist in the 2020 Downbeat Critic’s Poll.

The trio featured on Idiom is Webber’s “Simple Trio”, her working band of almost a decade which features drummer John Hollenbeck and pianist Matt Mitchell. A prolific bandleader, Webber also leads a quartet and a septet in addition to the above-mentioned large ensemble and co-led Webber/Morris Big Band. She has performed and/or recorded with projects led by artists such as Dan Weiss, Roscoe Mitchell, Ranja Swaminathan, Jen Shyu, Dave Douglas, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith, John Hollenbeck, and Trevor Dunn, among others.

Webber is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. She has additionally been honored with the Margaret Whitton Award (administered by the Jazz Gallery); grants from the Copland Fund (2021 & 2019), the Shifting Foundation (2015), the New York Foundation for the Arts (2017), the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council for the Arts; and residencies from Exploring the Metropolis (2019), the MacDowell Colony (2017 & 2020), the Millay Colony for the Arts (2015), and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (2014). Webber is originally from British Columbia.

Since 1990, drummer Michael Sarin has been at the center of New York City’s genre-bending jazz and improvisational music community. His versatility and musical wit helped forge long associations with forward-looking artists Ben Allison, Frank Carlberg, Thomas Chapin, Dave Douglas, Mark Dresser, Erik Friedlander, David Krakauer, Myra Melford, and Mario Pavone. He has performed a wide range of others, including Lee Konitz, the Klezmatics, comedian Pete Barbutti, Fred Wesley, and John Zorn.

Sarin’s unique style and approach to the drum set has abetted musicians looking to expand the definitions of jazz and improvised music; he can be heard on hundreds of recordings. He has performed on six continents--in major and minor festivals, concert halls famous and infamous, big, and small. He is a longtime faculty member of the Maine Jazz Camp.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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