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Fri, Sep 30


Merrimans' Playhouse

Shawn Maxwell

The Shawn Maxwell band is a quartet consisting of shawn on saxophones & flute, joined by piano, bass & drums. They perform all original material in a jazz style mixed together with a little bit of other popular music styles.

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Shawn Maxwell
Shawn Maxwell

Time & Location

Sep 30, 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.

“Nobody writes like this.” – Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

“…a composer who’s confident in his artistic vision, and comfortable with the wide array of colors on his instrumental palette.” – Bobby Reed, Downbeat Magazine

Shawn Maxwell - saxophone

Mark Nelson – piano

Michael Barton – bass

Greg Essig – drums


As a composer, recording artist and performer, saxophonist Shawn Maxwell has endeavored to express his own unique voice. From his latest album Millstream (Jazzline, 2020) to his debut Originals (self-released, 2005), he has released nine albums of original compositions. The traditions of jazz form the foundation for Shawn’s music; he builds on that with material from the music he grew up with – rock, funk, hip hop, R&B, classical.  The result, as Hrayr Attarian wrote in Chicago Jazz Magazine,  “is refreshingly distinct yet recognizably Maxwellian”. He’s not intent on following any rules – or on breaking them – but on continually expanding what his music encompasses. Shawn’s eleventh album, “Story At 11,” will be released in September 2022.

Shawn’s style began to form in the school music programs of Joliet, Illinois. A celebrated performer in the Joliet Central High School band program, he went on to earn a B.A. in Music from Millikin University. As a Vandoren and Conn-Selmer artist, Shawn is a favorite of students from college age through elementary school, combining his pedagogical skills with a performer’s sensibility in Master Classes and guest appearances.

For the past four years, Shawn has been touring the U.S. with his quintet Shawn Maxwell’s New Tomorrow. Their first album, Shawn Maxwell’s New Tomorrow (OA2/Origin, 2016), was named one of Downbeat Magazine’s “Best Albums of 2017. The follow-up, Music in My Mind (OA2/Origin, 2018), was highly praised by critics and enthusiastically received by radio stations. It was chosen as a Downbeat Magazine Editor’s Pick in June 2018.

“…jaunty, angular melodies, deceptive time signatures, and metronomic rhythm arrangements – sound as if inhabited by the ghost of Zappa…” – Neil Tesser

Shawn Maxwell’s Alliance (Chicago Sessions, 2014) was the eponymous album from another of his projects. A ten-piece ensemble including voice, two French horns, two upright basses and vibraphone, they were praised by jazz critics (another Downbeat Editor’s Pick) and named on several “best of the year” lists. So unusual was the music that publications as diverse as Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange picked it up; “Not exactly the sort of band you're likely to hear in anyone's notion of the mainstream and thus highly attractive to progressive ears”.

Alliance followed up with an E.P. later that year, Bridge (Chicago Sessions, 2014), which expanded on the sound of the group. “…a brief album full of rich musical ideas, colorful passages, and unique musical constructs.” said Dan Bilawky (

“These days, Shawn Maxwell sounds like Shawn Maxwell, and that’s a great thing...” – Paul Abella, Chicago Jazz Magazine

Shawn’s groups also include a quartet, featured on his earliest recordings, Urban Vigilante, Maxwell’s House (Chicago Sessions 2011, 2009), Originals II and Originals (self-released, 2008, 2005).

“…an exciting figure on the Chicago jazz landscape” – Michael Barris, Downbeat Magazine

“This is bold music. Maxwell isn’t afraid to try out new ideas and take chances.” – Frank Alkyer, Downbeat Magazine

Millstream (Jazzline/Delta, 2020) and Expectation & Experience(Jazzline/Delta, 2021) are the ninth & tenth albums released by Shawn featuring all original compositions.

Mark Nelson is a Chicago-based pianist and keyboardist, synth programmer and audio engineer. His work with Johnny Blas, Joshua Jern, and others can be heard on the radio.  He is drawn to exploring a wide variety of music; he plays jazz, musicals, Afro-Cuban styles, original rock projects, classical, and gospel music. He regularly performs or has recorded with his jazz trio, the Latin jazz-fusion ensemble: Contrabanda, the No Reservations Orchestra, Johnny Blas’s Afro Libre, The Joshua Jern Orchestra, The Vern Spevak Big Band, Somewhere Sunny, the Nine Worlds Ensemble, Shawn Maxwell, the Chicago Groove Collective, CariJazz and as a freelancer, “wherever the phone rings.” He has previously been a guest artist for the Interstate Eight Swing/Jazz Clinic, Seneca Jazz Festival, the IMEA All State Music Convention, the Bolingbrook: Jazz Under The Stars festival, the Elkhart and Chicago Jazz Festivals, and the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival. He earned a degree in Jazz Studies: Piano from North Central College.

 Michael Barton is a musician and visual artist working around the Chicago area. While earning a bachelor and master of music degree from the University of North Texas Barton was the recipient of four Downbeat awards with the UNT Jazz singers, the Two O'clock Lab Band and the NJPT Quintet. After graduating, Barton worked in Dallas steadily as a studio musician and performer in some of Texas' top venues and recorded for Radio Disney, ESPN, EDS, Genevox and Lifeway Music. Since returning to Chicago, Barton has performed at the Jazz Showcase, House of Blues and many other top venues in the city.

Greg Essig is a drummer and Chicago native. He studied and graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in percussion performance. Since graduating in 2013 He has performed and recorded with several different artists and toured the states extensively. In addition to performing, he has recorded music for many artists as well as for commercial use for companies such as Coors and Pepsi. Greg has taught students of all ages for over 7 years.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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