Black Bear Combo at the White House

black bear white house 2013

left to right: Rob Pleshar, Gerald Bailey, Ehsan Ghoreshi, Dersu Burrows, Doug Abram.

This past week I had the pleasure of joining the Chicago based Balkan brass band entertaining military families for a Halloween party at the White House.  The band debuted a new orange and black costume designed by saxophonist Doug Abram.

East Coast Tour April 1 – April 8

I’ll be playing with the Balkan, brass, punk, jazz freak out band called Black Bear Combo at these spots next week.  There are a ton of great lineups in each city so please check their page for more information.

April 1 – Southgate House Revival Newport, KY

April 2 – Howlers Coyote Cafe Pittsburgh, PA

April 3 – Studio 1469 Washington, DC

April 4 – Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY

April 5 – Building 16 Providence, RI

April 6 – Littlefield Brooklyn, NY

Balkan Invasion of Wicker Park

For close to a year and a half DJ Roma Soul and Black Bear Combo have played to a packed house downstairs at Subterranean on the third Friday of the month in Chicago.  This has grown to be one of the more successful nights I’ve seen featuring an instrumental act since I moved to Chicago nearly 7 years ago.  The crowd demands high energy.  I look forward to it every month and I hope that you will join us this Friday February 17th 2012.  More about the night in the Chicago Tribune.

Photography by Antonio Bovino

New Pages & Upcoming Shows

Charles Mantis is evolving faster than I can keep up with.  Please check out the new fan page and e.p. preview. Please hit like to help get the band approved to become and official fund raising group and write me an email with any ideas about what nonprofits should benefit from the proceeds.

Tuesday October 25th: fundraiser at the Mercury theater and the release of JC Brooks “Want More”.

Wednesday October 26th: The Ian Torres Big Band at Phyllis’s.

Picture from record research trip to Toronto last week.

Thursday October 27th: The Green Mill Jazz Club.

Friday October 28th:   JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound release concert at the Double Door.

Saturday October 29th: Black Bear Combo at Star Lounge.

Sunday October 30th: Black Bear Combo at Navy Pier at 12pm and Black Bear Combo at Millennium Park with Red Moon Theater Company.

Happy Halloween!

Black Bear Combo at the Milwaukee Ave Arts Fest

Black Bear Combo at the 2010 festival.

Black Bear Combo is a four to six member brass/reed band. It is described as a raucous mutt channeling the common energy between traditional music from eastern Europe and the Balkans, punk rock, and free jazz.  The band will be performing on the main stage of the Milwaukee Ave Arts Fest on Sunday July 31st at 2pm.

Balkan Beat Box returns to play with Black Bear Combo July 20th.


This is a concert poster from our 2007 concert with Balkan Beat Box by Doug Abram. Black Bear Combo will be opening for them at Lincoln Hall 7/20/2011.

Balkan Beat Box  is a high energy live electronic Balkan band.  There will be a raffle for two tickets to the show this Friday July 18th during DJ Roma Soul’s Balkan Invasion of Wicker park at Subterrainian.  The performance at Empty Bottle in 2007 was pretty crazy so I would expect that Lincoln Hall will be a good party.  If you missed them at Lollapalooza last summer this is a good opportunity to see the band in a more intimate setting.  Check out blackbearcombo.com for more information about the Chicago brass band.