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Wed, Jun 21


Merrimans' Playhouse

Steven Perry's "Dual Identity"

Steven Perry's "Dual Identity" is a contemporary jazz group based in Philadelphia, dedicated to showcasing Steven's exceptional talent on both drums and vibraphone. With a focus on original music and innovative arrangements, the group creates a dynamic and immersive musical experience.

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 Steven Perry's "Dual Identity"
 Steven Perry's "Dual Identity"

Time & Location

Jun 21, 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 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.

Steven Perry's "Dual Identity" is a contemporary jazz group based in Philadelphia, dedicated to showcasing Steven's exceptional talent on both drums and vibraphone. With a focus on original music and innovative arrangements, the group creates a dynamic and immersive musical experience.

"Dual Identity" presents a unique concept, where Perry shines as a versatile musician, alternating between his unique vibraphone melodies and dynamic drumming. Depending on the gig, he seamlessly transitions between the two instruments, bringing a fresh and distinctive approach to each performance.

Based in the vibrant Philadelphia music scene, "Dual Identity" has captivated audiences at various venues throughout the city of Philadelphia, and is currently starting to find its way to other regions. From intimate jazz clubs to larger concert settings, they bring their innovative approach to jazz, infusing it with elements of captivating fusion and rich musical exploration.

With their dedication to pushing the boundaries of contemporary jazz, "Dual Identity" keeps the listener on the edge of their seat. Experience the genre-bending sounds of "Steven Perry's Dual Identity" as they continue to create a truly memorable and unique musical journey for one night only in Perry's hometown of South Bend, Indiana. It's sure to be a special performance.

Steven Perry- Vibraphone

Bill Cessna- Piano 

Buddy Pearson- Bass

Matt Smalligan- Drums


Steven Perry is a Percussionist, Composer, Curator, and Educator from Osceola, Indiana and currently based in Philadelphia. Perry holds a Bachelors in Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University and a Masters in the same from Temple University. In his time at these universities he was given the opportunity to study with some of the most prestigious names in jazz including: Rodney Green, Byron Landham, Tony Miceli, David Friedman, and Keith Hall (among many others). At the age of 28, Perry is one of the top call sidemen in Philadelphia, and has performed with Philly Jazz greats such as: Lucas Brown, Norman David, John Swana, and Mike Boone as well as international touring artists Rex Richardson, Grant Stewart, and Onder Focan. Perry is an experienced educator, working with organizations such as The Kimmel Center, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Music Center of Southwest Michigan, and Music Factory Philly. One can find his project "Dual Identity" performing all over the Greater Philadelphia Area. Steven is also a Curator, specializing in putting music in unfamiliar territory. His most recent series "Noize Freak" in collaboration with Urban Movement Arts, aims to tear down the wall between Dancers and Musicians; having them improvising and creating art together in real time.

Bill Cessna is a jazz pianist/multi-instrumentalist who began his studies for jazz piano on scholarship at Columbia College Chicago in 2009. During his undergraduate time he had the opportunities to study under Peter Saxe, Dennis Luxion, Donald Neale, and Sebastian Huydts. He also had the opportunity to perform alongside acclaimed musicians such as Christian McBride, Benny Golson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jeremy Pelt, Dave Douglas and more. After graduating in 2013, Bill quickly became an in-demand sideman in Chicago’s vibrant music scene. He has performed regularly with various salsa bands, jazz ensembles, and his own Trio at venues such as The Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club, Pianoforte, Winter’s Jazz Club, Merriman’s Playhouse, Cliff Bells, The Jazz Estate. He has also performed in festivals including The Chicago Jazz Fest, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, South Shore Jazz Fest, New Trier Jazz Fest, and Elmhurst Jazz Fest.

Bill has toured internationally, performing and teaching with the Roy McGrath Quintet. In both 2017 and 2019 they completed month long tours throughout Asia teaching clinics on jazz history and improvisation for Harrow International and Dulwich International schools. There they were also able to perform at many venues and festivals, including The Blue Note Beijing, JC Jazz Club, Dusk Dawn Club, DDC, B52 Singapore, and more.

Bill graduated from Western Michigan University in 2022 with a master’s degree in jazz piano. He maintains a busy performance schedule both in the Chicago and Detroit areas, as well as continuing to teach and grow his private piano studio with students of all ages and skill levels. He is also currently performing, composing, and leading his own group, the Bill Cessna Trio, who released their first album “Background Music” in 2022. The mission of the group is to pay homage to the musicians who inspire them, as well as incorporate original music to present meaningful musical experiences to all audiences. Currently the group is preparing to record their second trio album “Billy Boy!” featuring all original compositions.  To be released in 2024.

“The best compliment I can receive is when people tell me they do not listen to jazz, but enjoyed hearing or watching us play”.

Buddy Pearson has been steadily playing upright and electric bass for 40 of his 50 years. Hailing from a very musically supportive family, he was given his first upright bass at age 9 and in one way or another, has never looked back. Soon after schooling, immersing in the local and Chicago jazz scene with heavy hitter players to this day. Buddy also plays bass for the longtime jazz group, Freek Johnson. In addition to playing with others nationallly and locally, Buddy also puts his bass and prodigious technique in a solo setting at weekly performances throughout venues.

Along with playing, Buddy has been teaching all levels of electric and upright bass privately for the last 20 years. Currently teaching privately in his studio in downtown South Bend,

Drummer Matt Smalligan is a Chicago based musician and lessons teacher. Originally from the Grand Rapids area, Matt had the opportunity to grow up in a musical household influenced by his father’s rock band. Under the direction of Keith Hall, Judy Moonert, Billy Hart, Jeremy Siskind, Andrew Rathbun, and Scott Cowan, he received a Bachelor’s in Music through Western Michigan University’s Jazz Studies program. In both Chicago and Michigan, he has performed and recorded with a wide variety of musicians, including The Chicago Children’s Choir, Sam Pilnick Group, and Neil Carson Trio.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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