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Sat, Jan 13


Merrimans' Playhouse

The Sam Robinson Sextet

Celebrating their album "Third Time’s A Charm", The sextet will perform straight-ahead jazz, mainly from the hard-bop/post-bop era. The band also performs original compositions in a similar style.

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The Sam Robinson Sextet
The Sam Robinson Sextet

Time & Location

Jan 13, 2024, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM EST

Merrimans' Playhouse, 401 E. Colfax Ave., Suite 135, South Bend, IN,46617


About the Event

TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student. End time is not set.

The members of the sextet are:

Sam Robinson- trumpet

Scott Angst - tenor

Josh Torrey- trombone

Jim Holman- piano

Christian Hindratno - drums

Aaron Krings - bass

Since 2003, Sam Robinson has played in venues all over Chicago and the Midwest. He has played in various groups, such as “The YoungBlood Brass Band,” “Shelly Yoelin’s Jazz Work Shop,” “Unity the Band” and “Sons of Chicago.” He currently leads his own group, the Sam Robinson Quintet/Sextet, which plays straight-ahead jazz, mainly from the hard-bop/post-bop era. The band also performs original compositions in a similar style. In 2019, he released his debut album, “Sweet Love of Mine,” and in 2022 his second album, “Be With Me:Live at the Eastgate Café.” According to Chicago Jazz Magazine, Robinson’s solos can be characterized as “intelligent extemporization (s) that have burnished sound and simmering passion.”

For more information including YouTube footage, upcoming shows, CD information, interviews and reviews, please visit


Tenor Saxophonist, Scott Angst, studied Jazz Performance and Composition at Northern Illinois University and DePaul University. He studied saxophone with Mark Colby, Steve Duke, and Rich Corpolongo; and composition with Joey Sellers and Tom Matta. He performs in and around Chicagoland with various artists. 

Josh Torrey is a freelance low brass artist and teacher based in Chicago. Raised in upstate New York, he relocated to Chicago in the fall of 2012 following completion of a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. While attending U of I his primary teacher was Jim Pugh, and he also studied with and performed in ensembles directed by Chip McNeil, Chip Stephens, Dana Hall, and Tito Carillo. Josh has performed with U of I’s Jazz Trombone Ensemble (winners of the 2012 Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble competition) at the 2012 International Trombone Festival in Paris, France.

Since moving to the city, Josh has cultivated an active performing career in both creative and commercial music. He freelances with a wide variety of projects, and can be heard regularly with The Josh Torrey Nonet playing his original compositions; with Brooke and the Nice Things, one of Chicago’s top event and party bands; and with Blueshift Big Band and Heisenberg Uncertainty Players playing genre-bending modern music for big band. Josh has also recorded on several albums by Heisenberg Uncertainty Players, Blueshift Big Band, and Shout Section Big Band. Other career highlights include touring domestically and internationally with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (often playing Tommy’s solos), and playing trombone and tuba for the Chicago premiere of Tom Waits’ opera Woyzeck, produced by Chicago Fringe Opera. For a full list of performances and recordings, please visit

Jim Holman is a pianist/composer/instructor rooted in Chicago. Holman started taking private lessons in middle school before earning his BA in Music at University of Pittsburgh and MM in Jazz Performance at DePaul University. Upon his graduation from Pitt in 2010, he jumped right in earning his living teaching and gigging around the greater Chicago area.

It was during this fruitful period of time that Holman first started playing with multi-instrumentalist icon, Ira Sullivan, who would travel from Miami to Chicago every year during the late summer for his residency at the Jazz Showcase. Holman made an effort to book gigs every year around this time to play and record with Sullivan. This continued every year until Ira’s passing in 2020.

Through conversations and experience sharing the bandstand with Sullivan, Holman grew quickly, and started to cultivate his own voice as an artist. It was on Ira’s recommendation that he met Bob Koester at Delmark Records, who would soon after release Holman’s first two albums as a leader.

In 2012 he released his debut album “Explosion” on the Delmark label. It featured the late alto legend Richie Cole, and Chicago mainstay Frank Catalano–with whom Holman had performed at the Green Mill for 4 years. It received critical acclaim and international airplay. In 2013 he released his second album on Delmark, “Ira Sullivan Presents the Jim Holman trio: Blue Skies.” It features legends Ira Sullivan and Roger Humphries. It too received acclaim and international airplay.

In 2017 Holman, along with his father Scott Earl Holman, launched the Annual Labor Day Jazz Festival (originally called the Rusty Jones Labor Day Jazz Festival as a nod to the late great drummer Rusty Jones). In its first incarnation, it was a non-stop 9 hour jam session, with Sullivan and the Holmans as co-hosts. It featured several house bands including drum legend Paul Wertico.

Soon after the Labor Day Jazz Festival moved away from the jam session format and continued to feature a plethora of headliners each year. Sullivan co-hosted along with Holman each year on Labor Day until Sullivan’s passing. The fest continues each year. The most recent being held at the Jazz Showcase featuring Eric Alexander, Paul Wertico, Clark Sommers, Ari Brown, John Sutton, Matt Ulery, Mark Neuenschwander, Tim Davis, Sam Robinson, Ted Sirota, Linard Stroud,  Jim Holman, and Scott Earl Holman.

Holman’s compositional approach is documented in his latest Album “Faith,” which features alto great, Greg Ward II. Holman tends toward melodic themes that spin out within a through-composed form. Harmonically he has an affinity for dense sonorities with careful voice leading being juxtaposed against block voicings. In “Faith,” in particular Holman experiments with the implications of the back-beat, and electronic orchestration.

As a performer, Holman draws most heavily from bebop, and post-bop language. Particular artists that weigh heavily on him: Sonny Clark, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Wally Cirillo, Gonzalo Rublecaba, Brad Mehldau, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Drew Jr., and many more. Although his adventurous harmonic sense is often cited, perhaps a greater portion of his focus aims at phrasing.

Holman’s upcoming album features New York legend, Eric Alexander, along with Clark Sommers, and Tim Davis. Jim has performed with Eric Alexander, Paul Wertico, Ari Brown, Claudio Roditi, Jimmy Chamberlin (drummer for the smashing Pumpkins), Frank Catalano, Roger Humphries, Cecil Bridgewater, Yotam Silberstein, Donald Harrison, John Moulder, Abe Laboriel, Dennis Carroll, Clark Sommers, and Dana Hall to name just a few. Visit

Aaron Krings is an upright and electric bassist living and performing in the greater Chicagoland area. Originally from St. Louis, MO, he has been passionate about music since a young age. Aaron started playing electric bass at age 11 and double bass at age 16. He holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and a master's degree in jazz studies from Western Illinois University, where he studied with bassist Matt Hughes. In 2019, Aaron toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, showcasing his bass skills across all 48 continental states and internationally in Japan and Canada. Since returning to the Chicagoland area in 2020, he has been actively involved in the local music scene, drawing inspiration from the city's rich musical heritage. Aaron's performances cover a wide range of styles including jazz, big band, progressive rock-fusion, roots rock, bluegrass, R&B, and theatre productions. He has had the opportunity to collaborate with notable artists such as Leroy Jones, Ashlin Parker, Rick Margitza, Chris Vadala, Sam Robinson, Jim Piela, and the Blueshift Big Band.

Aaron teaches both in person and virtual upright and electric bass lessons. Additionally, he holds a board certification in music therapy and works with adult and older adult clients in long term and hospice care. Aaron resides in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, who is also a board-certified music therapist.

Christian William Hindratno is an Indonesian drummer. He started playing drums at a very young age. He moved to Chicago 2 years ago and has been playing music in Chicago’s Jazz scene. He’s studying with a lot of great drummers such as Paul Wertico and Joe Farnsworth.

ALBUM REVIEW: Third Time’s A Charm

While most of the tunes on this album are not original compositions, I feel as though they allow the originality of our band’s sound to come through. That, to me, is the beauty of this music: no matter how many times you play the same tune, something new can come out of it. Furthermore, each song has a special memory/connection associated with it. Finally, the title of the album is meant to convey a deep feeling of pride. I am extremely pleased with the music we have created on this album, and while our two previous albums display much of this band’s talents, I believe that this album gives a more complete and accurate portrayal of what can do.

The first track, Rahsaan’s Run, reflects the style of music that I have enjoyed playing and wish to continue to play. I have always been a huge fan of jazz from the hard bop/ post bop era - particularly the music of Woody Shaw - going back to my youth. For many of us, growing up is not always easy, and I remember that during some troubling times during my high school years, Woody Shaw’s CD “Cassandranite” happened to be in the car. Maybe that’s why his music has always been so important to me.

The second track, Señor Blues, is a great “blowing tune” for the band. This particular band has played this tune several times in different venues, and the arrangement we do highlights the strengths of each member of the band: the solid, rhythmic playing of our bassist, Aaron Krings, the dynamic, exciting style of Linard Stroud, who, despite his innovative ideas, never loses the beat, the intricate, intelligent improvisations of our pianist, Jim Homan, and the impressively powerful playing of both Scott Angst (tenor) and Josh Torrey (trombone).

The third tune, “Da Brain,” is a tune I wrote during the pandemic. I must confess, I’m not much of a tune writer, per se. Rather, I play ideas that come into my head, record them on my phone, and send them to Scott Angst who puts them to paper. (He’s the one with the degree in composition)! It’s called “Da Brain” because the first time we performed it was at “The Hungry Brain” in Chicago. Prior to that gig, the song had no name, so I named it right there, on the spot. I was wondering whether or not to include the alternate take on the album. Why, after all, should the same tune be on there twice?  Yet I ultimately decided to keep it, because in the words of our brilliant pianist, Jim Homan, the stories we told on the alternate take were quite different than those of the first. I’m glad I took his advice.

“Infant Eyes” has a special meaning for me. First, it’s a beautiful, intricate tune with harmonies that only someone as gifted as Wayne Shorter could create. Second, it felt especially appropriate to record this tune given the recent passing of its composer. Another unforgettable musician who passed away around the same time, Kelly Sill, was a huge fan of this tune. Not only that, he knew the song inside and out and could explain its harmonic movement in a way that not many others could. I was fortunate enough to play with Kelly a few times at a local Monday-night jam session hosted by the great pianist Tommy Muellner. My memories of playing with Kelly are quite vivid, probably because when I played with him, I truly believed I was in the presence of greatness. He had a quiet, subtle way not only of playing, but of teaching.  He taught me how to be a better player, and he did so without saying a word. I remember trading fours with him on a tune, trying to cram in every note I possibly could in the small space that the four bars would allow. I then turned back to look at him when it was his turn to play. He played one note and smiled at me – not a condescending smile, but a reassuring smile that seemed to say, “Don’t worry, if you find the right note, then one note is all you’ll ever need.”

The fifth track, “What’s New,” is a famous standard, often played as a ballad. We play it, however, as an upbeat waltz. The originality, then, lies not in the melody but in the way the tune is played and (hopefully) in the improvisations. I remember playing this tune often at the Sunday night jam session at Andy’s Jazz Club in Chicago, hosted by the great John “Grandpa Bass” Bany. John was another wonderful mentor to me, teaching me the importance of knowing tunes, knowing how to play with others, following the band leader’s cues, etc. The local jazz community is extremely saddened by his recent passing, and I will think of his kindness and generosity towards me every time I listen to and play “What’s New?”

This album, then, is a sort of summary of my musical experiences in Chicago. The prior albums I’ve recorded, the wonderful musicians with whom I’ve shared the stage, and the music we’ve made over the years has in a sense come together in “Third Time’s a Charm.” I am not suggesting (as one might infer from the title) that our band has reached its ultimate potential or that I think our work is done. Rather, I mean to let our listeners know that to date, the sum total of my previous musical experiences has led to something worth listening to.

We hope you agree.

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.

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