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Wed, Oct 12


Merrimans' Playhouse

Rob Clearfield Quartet

The group will perform Clearfield's original music, as heard on his 2016 album "Islands," as well as many new compositions. Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune writes, "In our very noisy world, the music of Rob Clearfield arrives as a kind of balm."

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Rob Clearfield Quartet
Rob Clearfield Quartet

Time & Location

Oct 12, 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, 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).

France-based pianist and composer Rob Clearfield reunites with his Chicago-based trio of Curt Bley (bass) and Quin Kirchner (drums), along with special guest James Davis (trumpet). The group will perform Clearfield's original music, as heard on his 2016 album "Islands," as well as many new compositions. Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune writes, "In our very noisy world, the music of Rob Clearfield arrives as a kind of balm."

James Davis - trumpet

Rob Clearfield - piano

Curt Bley - bass

Quin Kirchner - drums


American pianist, guitarist, composer, and improviser Rob Clearfield grew up steeped in music. After a childhood filled with garage bands, gospel choirs, South American guitar ensembles, and everything in between, Rob enrolled at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. During and after college, he embedded himself in the local music scene, residing in Chicago for fifteen years.

Over the course of his career, Rob has performed with artists such as John Wetton, Patricia Barber, Howard Levy, Makaya McCraven, Marquis Hill, Eighth Blackbird, Grazyna Auguscik, Itamar Borochov, Matt Ulery, and Greg Ward, among others. To date, he has released eight recordings of his original music, and currently co-leads the band "Persona" with New York-based saxophonist Caroline Davis. His most recent album "Concentric Orbits," which was released on Astral Spirits in April 2022, is a collaboration with the great Chicago drummer Quin Kirchner.

In addition to performing and recording, Rob has received commissions to compose for theater (Purdue University), film (The Lost Remake of Beau-Guest), and for the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra in College Station, TX. He currently resides in Marseille, France.

James Davis, a Chicago trumpeter, and music maker is comfortable in and enjoys exploring a wide array of musical environments. As a composer, improviser, and educator he is involved in a diverse blend of musical communities in the Chicagoland area.

In addition to leading different formations of his own groups, Davis has also recently collaborated and/or recorded with Matt Ulery, The Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Chris Dammann's Restroy, The Metropolitan Jazz Octet, The Heritage Jazz Orchestra, and The New Standard Jazz Orchestra. He has performed at many of Chicago’s premier performance venues including The Chicago Jazz Festival, The Green Mill and Jazz Showcase. James’ playing has been heard at famed venues and festivals around the world including The Kennedy Center, The Montreaux Jazz Festival, The North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Montreal Jazz Festival. James has earned recognition as a finalist both in the 2004 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition and the 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Competition and has completed degrees at the University of Texas at Arlington, and at the University of North Texas. At UNT, James had the opportunity to tour and record with the Grammy nominated One O’clock Lab Band and the UNT Wind Symphony.

James’ playing and compositions are featured on his group Beveled’s newest release Remain Calm as well as Disappearing Roads (2018), Beveled (2014), the James Davis Quintet album Angles of Refraction, the avant-rock/jazz/improv band Zing!’s, Magnetic Flux, multiple albums with Albertan drummer Karl Schwonik, among others. He is currently on faculty at Triton College, Wheaton College, and Harold Washington College. James lives in Chicago with his wife Julie and their daughter Josephine.

Curt Bley found his ultimate purpose in life when he saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. His playing has been heard with a wide range of artists including The Fifth Dimension, Dweezil Zappa, Hal Russell’s NRG Ensemble, Rob Clearfield, and legacy Chicago bluesman Jimmy Johnson. A mostly self-taught musician, he has been a mainstay on the Chicago music scene for 35 years and swears he is not done yet.

Quin Kirchner is a drummer, composer, improvisor & DJ from Chicago, Illinois. He first started his musical studies at the age of 10 at the famed Academy of Movement and Music of Oak Park and later at the Merit Music Program of Chicago. His early exposure to expressive arts and dedicated practice led him to earn a Basin Street Scholarship to the University of New Orleans, led by Ellis Marsalis, at the age of 18. There, Kirchner learned under the guidance of the city’s drumming masters including Ricky Sebastian, Jason Marsalis, Troy Davis and Johnny Vidacovich and his undergraduate studies led to a B.A. in Music, Jazz Studies, and the Gregory Frederico Senior of the Year Award. IAfter the dislocation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Kirchner moved to New York for master’s degree studies at the Manhattan School of Music under John Riley before relocating to Chicago.

In the years since his return to his native Chicago, Kirchner has become a ubiquitous drumming force throughout the city's diverse music scene. He has led countless large & small groups and is widely known as a popular sideman performing with such musicians and groups as Rob Mazurek, Jeb Bishop, Jeff Parker, Greg Ward, Dave Rempis, Paul Giallorenzo, Mars Williams, Ryley Walker, Nick Mazzarella, Nate Lepine, Dave Miller, Jason Stein, Matt Ulery, Health&Beauty, In Tall Buildings, NOMO & Wild Belle, among others.

In 2018, Kirchner released his debut album as a leader, The Other Side Of Time, a sprawling 90-minute collage of jazz, beats & improvisations, called "the first great jazz album of 2018" by Chicago Reader's Peter Margasak. In 2020, Kirchner released the follow-up to The Other Side of Time entitled The Shadows and The Light.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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