Jim Steele has performed extensively around his home base in Indiana, and has made appearances in Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and New York City at the legendary Blue Note jazz club. He has shared the stage with artists such as Ernie Watts and Richie Cole, and led his own groups pursuing original music. Jim has written hundreds of compositions, from jazz, fusion, and progressive rock to piano solo, chamber, and electronic works. Jim has appeared on numerous recordings, including his own “Who’s There?” and “Neptune Rising”. “For years Jim Steele has been an in-demand jazz and session keyboard player in the Fort Wayne area, even snagging the Best Keyboard Player Whammy in 2001. But until the recent release of Neptune Rising fans have had to console themselves with solitary tracks on compilation albums” (Jason Hoffman, from “Whatzup: Heartland Art, Entertainment & Recreation”).
July 16, 2010 Concert
The Merriman Sisters with The Merriman Quartet
WVPE Fernwood Friday Event
Fernwood Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve
13988 Range Line Road
Niles, MI 49120-9020
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.
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.