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Fri, Oct 25


Merrimans' Playhouse

The Merrimans with J.J. Wright and Nick Sednew

Merrimans' Playhouse Home Grown Jazz Performance Series presents South Bend musicians Stephen Merriman (drums), Mary Merriman (bass), J.J. Wright (piano), & guest artist from Chicago, Nick Sednew (trumpet). Partnering with the South Bend Jazz Festival, this concert is part of "Club Night" for SBJF.

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The Merrimans with J.J. Wright and Nick Sednew
The Merrimans with J.J. Wright and Nick Sednew

Time & Location

Oct 25, 2019, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Merrimans' Playhouse, 1211 East Mishawaka Avenue, South Bend, IN, USA


About the Event

(Tickets for this event are separate from the The Bend Jazz Festival Tickets)

Merrimans' Playhouse Home Grown Jazz Performance Series presents South Bend musicians Stephen Merriman, Mary Merriman, J.J. Wright, and guest artist from Chicago, Nick Sednew. Featuring J.J. Wright on piano, and Nick Sednew on trumpet, Stephen Merriman on drums, and Mary Merriman on bass. We are partnering with the South Bend Jazz Festival, and are hosting this concert as part  of the "Club Night" for SBJF.

This performance will highlight their enjoyment of the the art of the small combo, with harmony, bass, and rhythm, in the spirit of Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, and Keith Jarrett, exploring spontaneous interpretations of standard jazz tunes, created in a “flow”.  

J.J Wright is the Director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir, but also an accomplished composer,  jazz pianist, and recording artist. His style cannot be easily categorized. Trained as a jazz improviser at the New School for Jazz in NYC, he’s also passionate about sacred music. Dr. J.J. Wright recently completed his D.M.A. in Conducting from the University of ND’s Program in Sacred Music. He studied in Rome during his final year, where he wrote his dissertation on translating the early Baroque oratorio to jazz. Also, he studied at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and interned with the Sistine Chapel Choir. J.J. released O Emmanuel with the Notre Dame Children’s Choir, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Classical Charts. His latest album, Vespers for the Feast of the Transfiguration, is a participatory jazz vespers service that incorporates improvisation and popular music with congregational singing. The service was was recorded and filmed live at Saint Peter’s Church, NYC. 

Since completing a Bachelor of Music degree at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2007, Nick Sednew has built a broad career as a versatile jazz musician and trumpet player. A well-established and in-demand member of the Chicago music scene, Nick is equally comfortable in studios, small jazz ensembles, big bands, pit orchestras and horn sections. He has toured extensively, playing lead trumpet with the Broadway musicals “Man of La Mancha” (2014), “A Christmas Story” (2014), “42nd Street” (2015-16), as well as the “Jersey Boys” spinoff vocal group “Under the Streetlamp.” Other recent and notable performances include Matt Ulery’s Loom Large at the 2018 Chicago Jazz Festival and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Chicago Theatre in November, 2018. Nick performs regularly with Brian O’Hern and the Model Citizens, The Heritage Jazz Orchestra at Winter’s Jazz Club, Matt Lewis and The Union, Alan Gresik’s Swing Shift Orchestra at the Green Mill Jazz Club, and David Rothstein Music. He is featured on recent recordings with Chicago Afrobeat Project (“Nyash UP!), Terry Bartalota Group (“Above the Clouds”), The Urban Renewal Project (“21st Century Ghost”), and John Elmquist’s Hard Art Groop’s forthcoming release “I Own and Ion”.

Stephen, playing professionally since 1978, has worked in a variety of musical genres from reggae to rock to jazz, in the Pacific Northwest, Canada, New York City, San Diego, and Boulder, Colorado. Some of his credits include the Boulder Jazz Improvisation Group, Chiaroscuro, and the piano and drum duo, The Great Leap, based in New York City. Since returning to South Bend, Stephen has focused solely on jazz, and has played with the jazz groups, Random Elements, Apogeebop, and currently The Merrimans. Stephen is also a piano technician and tuner. Together, Stephen and Mary own and operate their business, Merrimuse Enterprises, LLC (DBA Merrimans’ Complete Piano Service), which includes a full piano restoration and service business.

Mary began playing bass in orchestra along side playing alto saxophone, during her early school years, and played electric bass in jazzband during middle school. She then discovered jazz at Central Michigan University sitting in with an improvisational jazz studio class during her high school years, and has been in love with it since. She focused on the upright bass performing with orchestras and various jazz ensembles during high school, college and during her professional year. Although she pursued other degrees and careers in the sciences, the bass remained a vital part of her life. She now operates Merrimans’ Playhouse with her husband Stephen, hosting jazz performances and open sessions, while continuing to explore and perform as a jazz bassist.


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