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Fri, Oct 27


Merrimans' Playhouse

The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective

The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective ’s upbeat music embraces traditional rhythms from Puerto Rican and Cuban songbooks and expands their sonic palette by incorporating modern jazz harmony and melodic angularity.

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The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective
The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective

Time & Location

Oct 27, 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 $15 General/$5 Student.

The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective ’s upbeat music embraces traditional rhythms from Puerto Rican and Cuban songbooks and expands their sonic palette by incorporating modern jazz harmony and melodic angularity. The band released a self-titled EP in 2019 on several streaming platforms and has received airplay on radio stations around the country as well as in South America. The group released its first album of original works in May 2023.

José Guzmán Borrero – guitar

Fabián Correa – percussion/drums

Michael Rodriguez – percussion

Ben Carrasquillo – trombone

Will Schmalbeck – trumpet

Dr. Reginald Lewis - saxophone

Andrey Gonçalves - bass



José Guzmán Borrero is a native of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Guzman is a multi-genre guitarist that regularly performs with jazz ensembles, chamber groups, and rock groups. As a jazz guitarist, he recorded on Dimijtre Vasiljevic's Accidental Nomad (released on Rope a Dope Records), KASA String Quartet Forever Wild vol. 1, and Mr. Chair’s Better Days. Guzmán has performed as an artist in residence at the Caroga Lake Music Festival as both a classical and jazz guitarist. He is a recipient of the Mykytyn Composition Award in 2016 for his composition “Isochronal: A Suite for Big Band” and 2020 Urbana Arts Grantee for the Salsa Dance Night with The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective. He holds an undergraduate degree from the Puerto Rico Conservatory in Jazz Guitar and Afro-Caribbean Music, a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in Theory and Composition, and a doctorate degree (DMA) from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in Jazz Guitar Performance with a minor in Composition.

Born in Cartagena, Colombia, Fabián Correa is an active performer and educator in the Chicago Area. He has performed with the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Opera Festival Chicago, Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, South Arkansas symphony, amongst others.

He has a Professional Diploma in Orchestral Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, a master’s in Music Performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Bachelor’s in Music from Northwestern State University of Louisiana.Achievements include performing at the WASBE conference in Spain, Louisiana All-Start Percussion Ensemble, and being selected for the Orchestra Academy of the Americas 2020 and the Youth Orchestra of Colombia 2021.

Michael Rodriguez has dedicated most of his professional life to building community-based education programs focusing on Afro-Latin percussion in Chicago. He founded El Ritmo School of Latin Percussion in the early 2000’s to teach free weekly percussion classes in Humboldt Park, Hermosa, and Logan Square.  Michael plays for various local bands, including Los Pleneros de Don Segundo, and Shades of Time.

Ben Carrasquillo is a versatile trombonist who actively performs classical, jazz, and commercial music. He serves as Instructor of Trombone at Eastern Illinois University, in Charleston, IL, while also maintaining an active freelance career across the Midwest. He also maintains a private studio of middle and high school students in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Ben is the Principal Trombonist of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and performs regularly with symphony orchestras in the Midwest, including the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, the Danville Symphony Orchestra, the Heartland Festival Orchestra, and the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra. As a jazz and commercial player, he has performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Temptations and the Four Tops, the Beach Boys, Jukebox Saturday Night, the Unexpected Boys, the national tour of Chicago: The Musical, Black Jacket Symphony, and more.

Ben is the co-director of the Iron Post Jazz Orchestra, a big band based out of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He founded the band with Dr. Robert Brooks with the goal of fostering new, original music for big band written by members of the ensemble. The band’s debut album is forthcoming. Ben is also a founding member of the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective, led by Chicago-based guitarist Jose Guzman. The ACJC is a Latin jazz ensemble committed to writing and performing exciting music in a wide variety of Latin American styles. The band's discography and more can be found at

Will Schmalbeck is a rising professional trumpet player based in Chicago. Born and raised in Alton IL, Will graduated from Alton High School and was a member of the JazzU St. Louis All Stars. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in trumpet performance with Tito Carrillo and Ron Romm at the University of Illinois. During this time, he was a graduate teaching assistant and performed with jazz legends Doc Severinsen and Christian McBride. Now Will is a core member of the Afro Caribbean Jazz Collective and Chicago’s Shout Section Big Band. Will has also played professionally with the Tito Puente Jr. Orchestra, The Chicago Skyliners Big Band, The Hershey Park Band, The Iron Post Jazz Orchestra, and has subbed with many of Chicago’s finest jazz ensembles.

Dr. Reginald Lewis is the current Director of Jazz at Illinois Wesleyan University. He also teaches Jazz Improvisation and applied saxophone lessons at Chicago State University. Dr. Lewis graduated from Jackson State University with his Bachelor of Music Degree, Master of Music Degree from the University of Manitoba in Canada, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign. Dr. Lewis is also the current president of AAJC (African American Jazz Caucus).

Dr. Lewis has been featured in the Universal Studios biopic of James Brown “Get on Up” as a saxophonist in Little Richards band. He has also performed at the TD Bank Winnipeg Jazz Festival in the summer of 2015 with Q5, led by Quincy Davis, Super Duty Tough Work and The Thelonious Monk Tribute Band led by Jared Beckstead. Reginald also held a weekly gig at “The Yellow Scarf”, ran by Cassandra Wilson in Jackson, Mississippi. Reginald is also a part of “Simply This”, who released album entitled "Stepping Up” in 2021. Reginald has also given masterclasses at Ohio State University, Anderson University and Furman University with “Simply This”. Reginald recently performed at the Further Jazz Festival in Normal, IL. He has also guest conducted the HBCU All Star Jazz Band at the Midwest Clinic in December of 2022. As of 2023 Dr. Lewis is an active educator and performer.

Andrey Gonçalves is an Illinois transplant Brazilian bassist. He is a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Studies and Music Education. His dissertation focused on whole-body engagement and preventative care in jazz double bass pedagogy, blending music education with kinesiology, and healthy habits in music performance. His main research interests are in Preventative Care in Music Performance, Improvisation, and Aesthetics of Modern Jazz.

As a music educator, he currently holds two teaching appointments. In August 2020, Andrey Gonçalves started his appointment as a Bass Instructor at Olivet Nazarene, where he currently teaches Double Bass, electric bass, jazz improvisation, jazz theory, jazz history, jazz band practice, and world music. Simultaneously, he joined the Jazz Faculty at Eastern Illinois University in 2021, where he teaches double bass and jazz band practice.

Andrey’s strong background in Brazilian music, B.A.M., Afro-Caribbean music, and Pop allows him to navigate different styles while composing, performing, and connecting with the audience. As a bassist, Dr. Gonçalves has performed with jazz names such as Randy Brecker, Frank Gambale, Bob Sheppard, Chuchito Valdés, and Ron Bridgewater; the Champaign-Urbana Symphonic Orchestra, the Champaign-Urbana Civic Orchestra, and Sacred Winds Ensemble; the cellist Ben Sollee, and the trombone quartet Maniacal 4. Also, he has toured Europe, the USA, and Argentina. As a studio musician, he has recorded bass tracks for more than twenty albums, produced five records, and composed three computer game soundtracks.

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from the Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services Private Trust Foundations, which include grants from the Stanley A. and Flora P. Clark Memorial Community Trust Foundation (2020-2021; 2022-2023 seasons), the John, Anna, and Martha Jane Fields Memorial Trust Foundation (2021-2022; 2022-2023 seasons), and the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust (2021-2022; 2022-2023 season). Special concert event support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season). Activities are made possible in part by the Arts Organization Support (AOS), Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency (2023-2024 season).

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from The Esther and George Jaruga Charitable Foundation (2020-2023 seasons).

The Student and Home Grown Series concerts made possible, in part, with support from the ArtsEverywhere Grant from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, and the Arts Project Support Grant and the Arts Recovery Grant through the Indiana Arts Commission.


  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended
  • General

    $15 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended



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