Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series
Home | Concert | Schedule | Philosophy | About Us | About Merrimans' Playhouse | Archives | Piano Service | Links | Contact

Joan Hickey

Joan Hickey, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series

 

Joan Hickey, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series

photos by David S. Hachen Jr.

June 20, 2007 Concert

Joan Hickey

Howard Reich, of the Chicago Tribune, wrote of her playing, “Hickey remains one of the most appealing and distinctive pianists in the city ... (she) produces gorgeously singing lines and unexpected harmonies … The gentility of her touch is matched by the intellectual accomplishment of her improvisation.”

Joan Hickey is an educator and freelance artist throughout Chicago and the greater Midwest. She was one of the 49th Annual University of Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival Adjudicators, February of 2007. She shared the judge's seat and the "Judges Jam" with Jon Faddis, James Carter, Carl Allen, and Rodney Whitaker.

Joan has been teaching and performing in the Chicago area since the 1980's. She has performed in such venues as The Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Pete Miller’s, and the Chicago Jazz Festival.

She has been awarded 2 National Endowment for the Arts grants and Illinois Arts Council grant in music composition. Her quintet was a finalist in the Hennessy Jazz Competition. The C.D., "Soulmates" was nominated for Best jazz C.D. at the Chicago Music Awards. She performed at the Kennedy Center in May 2006 during the Women in Jazz Festival. Joan has played with Nat Adderly, Von Freeman, Frank Morgan, Lou Tabakin, Jon Faddis, Clark Terry and Buster Williams. Tours include Italy, Sweden, and Denmark with the Jazz Members Big Band featuring Joe Williams, vocalist.

Teaching has been an important part of Joan's work for many years. She has taught at Univ. of Illinois, her Alma Mater, since 1994, and Northwestern University with her husband (drummer) Joel Spencer, since 2004. She still keeps a small studio of talented high school jazz students, and has seen them go on to USC, New School, UIUC, and Eastman in jazz studies.

Visit Joan Hickey's Web Site

 

Check out Joan's recording "Between The Lines". Personnel: Joan Hickey (piano), Dennis Carroll (bass), Dana Hall (drums), John Wojciechowski (saxophone),
Tito Carrillo (trumpet).
 

Joan Hickey, "Between The Lines"


Joan Hickey, Stephen Merriman, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series

Joan Hickey, Mary Merriman, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series

Joan Hickey, Stephen Merriman, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series

Joan Hickey, Mary Merriman, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series

Joan Hickey, Stephen Merriman, Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series

photos by David S. Hachen Jr.


SouthBendTribune.com

June 17. 2007

Chance to play in combo strikes a chord

Tribune Staff Writer -- Howard Dukes

 

SOUTH BEND -- If Joan Hickey gets that been-here- before feeling during her concert on Wednesday, nobody will blame her. Hickey, who will be the guest performer for the June installment of the Merrimans' Playhouse Jazz Performance Series, has been here before.

Perhaps not here as in the Century Center, but the Chicago-based pianist was in South Bend in February. Back then, Hickey served as one of the judges for the University of Notre Dame's Collegiate Jazz Festival, where drummer Stephen Merriman heard her perform during the judge's jam that takes place at the end of the festival's Friday night program."I had the idea then to ask her if she might be available to do (The Merrimans') Playhouse," he says.

Merriman made his move the next day at a workshop held by the judges. "I went up and told her what we were trying to do, which is to create a jazz scene here," he says. "Then I asked her if she would be interested, and she said, 'Yeah.' " What Hickey agreed to do is occupy The Merriman Trio's rotating chair -- Merriman and his wife, upright bass player Mary Merriman, invite a guest each month to round out their trio for their concert series at the Century Center.

The Merrimans have employed a pedal steel guitarist and a saxophonist at previous concerts, but piano players have been the most frequent occupants of that rotating spot. Four of the six shows so far, including Hickey's show, have featured a pianist."Mostly, it's because that's the more traditional setup," Stephen Merriman says. "That's the rhythm section -- drums, bass and piano -- that came out of the big-band format and then became an art form of its own." Besides, the three instruments complement each other, Merriman says. "It's really good because the three instruments don't step on each other," he says. "They can each play both melodically and rhythmically."

Hickey says she jumped at the chance to join the Merrimans because it gives her an opportunity to play in a small combo that includes a drum and upright bass. "There's not a lot of opportunity to play in an acoustic piano trio here," she says. "I thought that would be fun. Around the Chicago area, there's a few places where they have larger groups, and there's places where they have solo piano. There's places where they have duos, and the places that have a trio, you play with a singer or they don't have piano."Hickey agrees that the trio setup of piano, upright bass and drums is an important part of the jazz tradition. "In that format, the piano becomes the leader in that we have to lead the group, we have to play the melody," she says. "The pianist's improvisational style is showcased in that situation."

"The setup used at the Playhouse concerts," Hickey says, "will allow audience members to appreciate how the musicians work together." The concerts take place in the Century Center's Recital Hall -- a room large enough to seat 166 people but small enough to provide the intimacy a trio needs. "The concentration is higher in this situation because it's like recording," Hickey says. "The listening and awareness is also at a higher level."

Staff writer Howard Dukes:
hdukes@sbtinfo.com
(574) 235-6369

 

Home | Concert | Schedule | Philosophy | About Us | About Merrimans' Playhouse | Archives | Piano Service| Links | Contact
© 2007 Merrimans' Playhouse. All rights reserved. Site design and maintenance by Merrimuse Enterprises