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Thu, Jan 19


Merrimans' Playhouse

Zakk Jones Trio

The Zakk Jones Trio is a dynamic group that fluidly blends styles as varied as modern jazz, Americana/country and fusion. Between unique arrangements of classic standards and original material, the trio brings any audience a fresh listening experience that’s filled with creative improvisations.

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Zakk Jones Trio
Zakk Jones Trio

Time & Location

Jan 19, 2023, 7:30 PM EST

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


About the Event

TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student. End time is estimate.

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, Stanley A. and Flora P. Clark Memorial Community 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. Special concert event support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season).

The Zakk Jones Trio is a dynamic group that fluidly blends styles as varied as modern jazz, Americana/country and fusion, often even in the same songs. Between unique arrangements of classic songs/standards and original material, the trio brings any audience a fresh listening experience that’s filled with creative improvisations. Audiences can expect everything from Herbie Hancock and John Coltrane to Bill Withers and Randy Newman to Hank Williams and David Bowie. The concert is part of our Student Jazz Performance Series, as Dylan Bretz Jr. is currently in his Master of Music program.

Zakk Jones - guitar

Dylan Bretz Jr. - bass

Brad Billmaier - drums

The trio has spent countless hours gigging, rehearsing, writing and simply hanging together, which is all an anchor for their strong musical connection The Zakk Jones Trio has performed at venues/clubs like Bar Next Door (NYC), Bop Stop (Cleveland), Dick's Den (Columbus), Schwartz's Point Jazz & Acoustic Club (Cincinnati) Pausa Art House (Buffalo) Light Club Lamp Shop (Burlington, Vt) and many more!   Their debut album “Mise-en-Scéne” was released in 2019 digitally, on CD and with a special release of Vinyl, produced and engineered by Grammy-award winning professionals. A new EP “In My Life” was released in Sept. of 2022. 

Zakk Jones is an Ohio based guitarist, bandleader, composer, and educator. In 2022 he received his Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Bowling Green State University, and holds a B.M. in Jazz Studies from Capital University. He is currently an adjunct professor and head of guitar studies in the Conservatory of Music at Capital University, where he directs the big band, guitar ensembles, and teaches applied lessons. In addition, he is the guitar area coordinator at Truman State University. Since his emergence in the Midwest scene, he has played and toured all over the country and world at such venues as the Amsterdam Blue Note, Bar Next Door (NYC), Bop Stop (CLE), Cliff Bell’s (Detroit), the Troubadour (LA), Bluebird Theatre (Denver), the Newport (Columbus) and many more. He can be seen frequently with Doc Robinson, the Tony Monaco Trio, Hoodoo Soul Band, Third Shore Collective, and the Zakk Jones Trio. In addition, he has played with The Coasters, The Midtown Men, Lou Marini Jr, Ryan Keberle, Jaleel Shaw, Dwight Adams, and Bobby Floyd. In mid-2019 he released his debut trio record “Mise-en-scène”, produced and mixed by Grammy-winning professionals Jeff Ciampa and Rob Griffin, known for their long-standing work with Wayne Shorter.   

As an educator, Zakk has previously been on faculty at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, Bowling Green State University, and hosts online masterclasses for students from around the world. Outside of his busy gigging and teaching schedule, Zakk is an avid composer/arranger, writes educational articles for and hosts the podcast "Beyond The Frets".

Dylan Bretz Jr. is an upright and electric bass player originally from Cleveland, OH. He received his B.M. in Jazz Studies from Bowling Green State University, where he is currently pursuing his M.M. in Jazz Studies. Dylan performs regularly across the Midwest and specializes in jazz and popular musical styles.

Drummer, Brad Billmaier is a Toledo, Ohio based performer, composer, and educator specializing in jazz. He began playing music (piano, guitar, and drums) at the age of 8 and did so consistently until his time in academia. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in jazz from the University of Toledo and a master’s degree in jazz from Bowling Green State University. During this time, Brad was performing actively and cultivated a “modern-mainstream” style of playing and composing; rooted deeply in post-bop, bebop, and swing but frequently incorporating fusion, avant-garde, Afro-Cuban, R&B, and pop sensibilities.   

Much of Brad’s career in jazz is owed to the Ohio and Michigan jazz elites that influenced him. He has studied music under Dr. Olman Piedra, Tad Weed, Scott Gwinnell, Ariel Kasler, David Bixler, Dr. Dan Piccolo, Norm Damschroder, Dr. Aaron Ziegler, and many others. Brad has led his projects to widespread recognition and acclaim throughout the region, while collaborating and sharing the stage with a diverse array of artists including: Vic Juris; David Bixler; trombonist and Maria Schneider alum Ryan Keberle; Kim Buehler; Ray Parker; Gene Parker; Jeff Halsey; Ramona Collins; Cliff Monear; Alvin Waddles; Zakk Jones; Bobby Sevlaggio; Galen Abdur-Razzaq; and many more.   

Brad’s self-titled ensemble has been featured in numerous venues ranging from the historic Cliff Bell’s in Detroit to the Blue Llama Jazz Club in Ann Arbor. He has performed at hundreds of clubs/festivals across the region including Dick’s Den in Columbus, Chicago’s Fulton Street Collective, Ziggy’s in Ypsilanti, The River Raisin Jazz Festival, and The Orchard Guitar Festival. He has also performed at the genesis of new, lauded clubs like Ginger Rabbit in Columbus and Lucille’s Jazz Lounge in his hometown of Toledo.


  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sold Out
  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended



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