Ninety Miles Brings Unique Jazz Blend to Mercyhurst

Praised as “the most important young musicians in jazz,” Ninety Miles, featuring Stefon Harris, Nicholas Payton & David Sanchez, takes its name from the distance separating Cuba and the Florida Keys. They will bring their unique mix of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and American jazz and blues to Mercyhurst University on Wednesday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. The performance is presented by the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture and JazzErie and sponsored by PNC Bank.

The three crème-de-la-crème jazz players have each received multiple Grammy nominations for both their solo and collaborative projects.

Harris, one of the most in-demand vibraphonists on the jazz scene, has been honored as “best vibist” by Jazziz, Jazz Times, and Downbeat, and is a six-time “best mallet” winner by the Jazz Journalists Association. He received his Bachelor of Music in classical music and Master of Music in jazz performance degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and tours worldwide with his scintillating ensemble Blackout, which fuses soundscapes of R&B, pop, hip-hop and funk. He also tours with the San Francisco Jazz Collective.

Payton, born to a family of musicians in New Orleans, is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist – most notably on the trumpet, piano, and keyboards, as well as bass, drums, tuba, trombone, clarinet and saxophone. Hailed as a virtuoso before he was even out of high school, Payton attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts to study with Clyde Kerr Jr. and attended the University of New Orleans where he studied with Harold Battiste and Ellis Marsalis. In addition to accomplishments in composing, arranging, performing and recording across musical genres, he has added another dimension to his musical achievement with the launch of his own imprint, BMF records.

Puerto Rico-born Sanchez has received exultant praise as one of the finest saxophonists of his generation. Shaped by the bomba and plena rhythms of his native country, along with Cuban and Brazillian rhythms, Sanchez started playing drums and percussion at age 8 and then switched to tenor sax at age 12. His career as an exemplary player with more than a decade’s worth of bold, brilliant work includes collaboration with Dizzy Gillespie for his 1991 “Live the Future” tour. Sanchez, who studied at the Universidad de Puerto Rico and Rutgers University, actively assists with jazz education programs in addition to maintaining his busy tour schedule.

Don’t miss an unforgettable musical evening when these three young jazz luminaries collaborate to bring their distinct mélange of jazz to the PAC stage.

Tickets are $32 for Gold Circle, $27 for adults and $24 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased by calling 814-824-3000 or by visiting