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Fri, Oct 29


Merrimans' Playhouse

The Paxton/Spangler Septet

"Our seven-piece band brings plenty of energy and Detroit soul to the music. South African music has always spoken to us and we wish to perform this music as part of our musical contribution to the world."

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The Paxton/Spangler Septet
The Paxton/Spangler Septet

Time & Location

Oct 29, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Merrimans' Playhouse, 401 E Colfax Ave, South Bend, IN 46617, USA


About the Event

TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student.

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.

Our seven-piece band brings plenty of energy and Detroit soul to the music. South African music has always spoken to us and we wish to perform this music as part of our musical contribution to the world.

For over 30 years, Tbone Paxton and RJ Spangler have been exploring the beauty of South African jazz, inspired by such artists as Hugh Masekala, Miriam Makeba and Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath. They began their journey with the Sun Messengers Band in 1980, followed by the Sun Sounds Orchestra, which was awarded Best Jazz Recording at the Detroit Music Awards in 1991 for the CD “Open the Doors (Eastlawn Records), which RJ produced. Decades later, they recorded a two-CD collection with their PD9 Township Jazz Project; “The Duderstadt Session/Live at the Scarab Club” (Eastlawn Records), which won a Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Jazz Recording in 2015.

Their new project, is a follow-up effort to 2020’s vocal jazz recording featuring Tbone, “Back in Your Own Backyard,” on the Detroit Music Factory imprint. A collection of compositions, by pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim, formerly known as Dollar Brand. The album is called “Theme for The New Nation” after one of the songs on the album. It is about respectfully paying tribute to a great master and lifelong influence.

The band is built around drummer Sean Perlmutter and bassist Jeff Cuny. To round out the rhythm section, they tapped Phil Hale, the pianist from the Township Jazz Project. Phil is well known around Detroit as a strong jazz player and for touring the world with blues diva Thornetta Davis.

Also from the Township Jazz Project is tenor man Dan Bennett, a powerhouse player who toured and recorded with the Afrobeat band NOMO. On alto sax and flute is Rafael Leafar, a Kresge Fellow who has performed with Reggie Workman, Robert Hurst, and Wendell Harrison. Rafael offers plenty of improvisational gusto to the proceedings.

Several months into this project, Jeff Cuny had to move to Washington, DC. Jeff has been with Tbone and RJ for about five years, working with them in two other bands He did yeoman duty playing electric and acoustic bass and crafting the original arrangements heard on this recording. It was an easy decision to tap the excellent bassist Damon Warmack, who’d already played with them in the Township Jazz Project. Daman brings the experience of a veteran musician, having toured Europe with baritone sax master Ronnie Cuber. Daman is the only musician involved with the band to have performed in Johannesburg, on tour with the modern-day Motown artist Kem.

Rafael became very busy as a producer around Detroit. This project was picking up steam, so RJ called Kasan Belgrave, an excellent alto sax player, and flutist who has recently played with the Jazz Lincoln Center Orchestra. His father Marcus was a legendary trumpeter. RJ grew up in the ‘70s watching his Uncle Bud play drums in the band Tribe with Kasans’ dad. They are excited to bring Kasan into this project.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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