July 25, 2007 Concert
Marc Abel, Rich Cohen,
appearance by The Merriman Sisters
Marc Abel, cousin of the Merrimans, began his musical journey in Detroit, where he studied classical and jazz piano. Before moving to his current home in Chicago in the 1990’s, Marc gigged extensively and enjoyed the musical influences of Houston and New York City for many years. Marc is fortunate to have had a variety of musical opportunities, from club gigs and private parties to musical direction off-Broadway and big band concerts. The interplay and subtlety of the trio or quartet is what Marc most enjoys.
Rich Cohen, husband of Susan Merriman, hails from the east coast, where his formative years consisted of a mix of classical training and participation in an award-winning high school jazz program. Since relocating to the Midwest in the early 90’s, Rich has worked extensively throughout the club circuit of northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Rich’s style of playing is melodically oriented with a sound that reflects the influences of a number of alto greats, most notably Jackie McLean and Kenny Garrett.
The Merriman Sisters: Their names are Martha, Jane, Susan, Mary Ellen and Emily and they are truly sisters. They blend their voices together to produce a sound clearly born in each one of them, and conveyed in harmonies, rhythm, and timing that can only come from innate knowledge of one another. In their preschool years, Martha, Jane and Susan began their musical trio life taught and nurtured by their father who encouraged the vocal talents they inherited from their mother. The girls were unusual at that age not only because they could carry a tune precisely and blend as one voice, but because they could hear the complexities of three-part harmony and maintain their own parts within a tune. The more they sang together the better they learned to intuit each other’s harmonic movements in a song. In time, Mary Ellen and Emily, further down the birth order line, added their voices to the older sisters and the Merriman Sisters were complete.
The sound of the Merriman Sisters music has woven itself into the identity of the whole Merriman family, as evidenced by the number of family toddlers over the years that could hum an Andrews Sisters tune. The Merriman Sisters appearance at Merrimans’ Playhouse is a singularly unique opportunity for all on stage – sisters, brothers, cousin, and instruments and voices, to celebrate this musical tradition.