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Wed, Jun 28


Merrimans' Playhouse

Paul Hecht’s Pyrography Trio

The group plays original compositions by Hecht, as well as open improvisations and jazz standards by modern masters.

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Paul Hecht’s Pyrography Trio
Paul Hecht’s Pyrography Trio

Time & Location

Jun 28, 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.

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. Special concert event support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season).

Hecht’s Pyrography Trio takes its name from a poem by John Ashbery, and also from thinking about this ancient kind of “fire writing,” as in the process of inscribing the spirit/flame, but also of taking the inscribed, the coded, and finding ways to ignite it or unlock its inner fire. Both directions are important. The group plays original compositions by Hecht, as well as open improvisations and jazz standards by modern masters.

Paul Hecht - piano

Ben Dillinger - bass

Gustavo Cortiñas - drums

Pianist Paul Hecht brings his trio back to Merrimans’ ahead of the group’s first visit to a recording studio to document their work. At this concert, the group will present a new set of compositions by Hecht, that express his identity as a musician of wide and far-flung influences, eager to explore how much range, musically, emotionally, a traditional jazz piano trio can cover in an evening of music. On this occasion, compositions include those inspired by New Orleans piano and Cajun rhythms, by composer Sofia Gubaidulina’s religious mysticism, and by some of the most canonical music of western classical romanticism, in this case a movement from a Robert Schumann symphony. These restless sidelines are joined to pieces that celebrate mainstream exponents of the jazz piano trio—Kenny Barron, Brad Mehldau, Vijay Ayer, and Kris Davis—as well as writing that shows off Hecht’s immersion in the Chicago scene of the last 20 years, in particular the influential writing of bassist Matt Ulery. With all this, Hecht is also in love with the American songbook and traditional bebop vocabulary—so that has its place too. Hecht’s fearless collaborators in the Pyrography Trio are Ben Dillinger on bass and Gustavo Cortiñas on drums, both of whom are accomplished composers and bandleaders in their own right.

Paul Hecht is a pianist, composer, and writer based in Chicago and Eau Claire, WI. Last year, Hecht toured with a quartet led by acclaimed violinist Mark Feldman that featured Feldman’s compositions, and which included bassist Ethan Philion and drummer Quin Kirchner. Other notable Chicago-area collaborators include Rob Clearfield, Matt Ulery, Greg Ward, James Davis, Daniel Thatcher, Tim Davis, Michael Hudson-Casanova, Andy Danstrom, James Russell Sims, Samuel Peters, Harry Tonchev, and Emma Dayhuff. Hecht’s book about English poetry at the end of the sixteenth century, What Rosalind Likes, was published last year by Oxford University Press.

Drummer, composer, and entrepreneur Gustavo Cortiñashas become one of the most intriguing and prolific forces on the Chicago musical scene. The last year saw the release of two powerful and contrasting recordings which have garnered grants, rave reviews, and much interest in Chicago, nationally, and internationally. Born in Mexico and educated in New Orleans and Chicago, Cortiñas’s music displays his desire to pull together the threads of his history and passions: Latin American folklore, jazz and classical music, philosophy, religion, and the Latin American cry for justice—as he translates the title of his double-album, Desafío Candente, or “incandescent act of defiance,” which has also become the name of his newly-formed record label with pianist and composer Javier Red. That record, with 30 collaborators from 10 different countries, does no less than attempt a traversal of the entire history of Latin America, using as its basis the Uruguayan historian Eduardo Galeano’s famous book, The Open Veins of Latin America. His most recent release, Kind Regards/Saludos Afectuosos, is an intimate collection of 10 songs by a splendid quintet (piano/voice, bass, guitar, trumpet, and drums), five each in Spanish and English, narrating scenes of modern alienation and connection across borders.

Ben Dillinger is an upright and electric bassist, composer, and educator who has been working professionally in Chicago for the past 10 years. His formal training is in jazz performance and composition, but he has also performed in many different musical settings including classical, musical theater, rock, and popular music. As an educator he has taught at Roosevelt University, Morton College, and The Chicago High School of Performing Arts.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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