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Fri, Oct 01


Merrimans' Playhouse

Vine Street Alternative

Bass, sax, and drum Trio featuring first album Boffo: a tight-knit, punchy record that combines campy humor with tender interplay and delicious skronk.

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Vine Street Alternative
Vine Street Alternative

Time & Location

Oct 01, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:40 PM EDT

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


About the Event

TICKETS are $20 General/$10 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.

Vine Street Alternative began playing in Kalamazoo in 2005, where they carved out a surprising niche as a high-energy acoustic jazz trio capable of sharing stages with much louder rock bands, and stunning audiences with reinvented pop covers and oddball-yet-memorable original anthems. After relocating to Brooklyn together, the band continued playing shows until 2011 when they took a hiatus before ever formally releasing a recording.



After eight years without playing a note together, the band reunited to record their long-awaited first album Boffo: a tight-knit, punchy record that combines campy humor with tender interplay and delicious skronk. The album became possible as drummer Jon Wert and saxophonist Karel vanBeekom spent just one week of 2019 with Chicago bassist John Sutton writing, recording, and performing new music. Boffo was released digitally in December 2020. The album was finished with the feverish energy that defined the band’s inception, but now with the focus and clarity of veteran experience.

John Sutton is a bassist/composer and educator based in Chicago. His playing and writing reflect his belief in the power of simplicity and humor. Over the past 5 years, John has composed for over 15 feature length and short films as well as theme music for multiple web series and commercial projects. He has released four original film scores as albums and was featured as a soloist and composer on the 2020 album Boffo by NYC based saxophone trio The Vine Street Alternative. John has been featured on recent releases by Ryley Walker and Mikel Patrick Avery, he can also be heard on Tammy McCann’s 2014 release Love Songs (featuring Laurence Hobgood), as well as two studio albums with Rana Santacruz. He has performed at prestigious venues such as The Getty Museum, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, NYC Winter Jazz Festival, Millennium Park Pritzker Pavillion, as well as NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. He is the creator of the web series Bass Solo: a comedy show about what it means to be a musician in today’s world. To find out more, please visit:

Grand Rapids native Jon Wert is a drummer who resides in Brooklyn. He spent his senior year of high school at the world renown Interlochen Arts Academy and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies at Western Michigan University, where he studied with drumming legend Billy Hart. Since relocating to NYC in 2008, he has played at dozens of venues including The Blue Note, Lincoln Center, The Opry City Stage, Rockwood Music Hall, City Winery, Joe’s Pub. He has ongoing residencies at East Village Social, Red Lion and Skinny Dennis. He has also traveled extensively around the US, the Caribbean, and abroad. As an instrumentalist, Jon brings versatility and his playing crosses many genres, bringing a broad range of experience, insight and flexibility.

Karel vanBeekom is a career saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist living in New York City. A Michigan native, Karel attended the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy, and graduated with a degree in music from Western Michigan University. During his training Karel performed and/or studied with jazz greats Fred Hersch, Billy Hart, Slide Hampton, Kenny Garret, Denilo Perez, Stefon Harris, Rich Perry, and many others.

In NYC Karel performs regularly with the roots ska and reggae unit Top Shotta Band featuring Screechy Dan, the dope MC and songwriter Ryan-O’Neil, NOLA devotees the Ad Hoc Brass Band, and the longstanding improvisational trio Vine Street Alternative.

Karel lives and practices in deep Brooklyn beyond the trains with his wife Marah, their two kids Ysabel and Kaius, and their cat Paul Newman.


  • General

    $20 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended
  • Student

    $10 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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