Jymie Merritt was an American jazz double-bassist, electric-bass pioneer, band leader and composer. Merritt was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers group from 1957 until 1962. The same year he left Blakey's band, Merritt formed his own group, The Forerunners, which he led sporadically until his death in 2020. Merritt also worked as a sideman for blues and jazz musicians such as Bullmoose Jackson, B.B. King, Chet Baker, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lee Morgan.
Jymie Merritt worked in jazz, R&B, and blues. In the early 1950s he toured with rock and roll musicians Bullmoose Jackson and Chris Powell moving on to work with bluesman BB King from 1955 to 1957.
In 1957, Merritt moved to Manhattan, New York, to work with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. The Messenger ensemble Merritt joined featured his friend Benny Golson as well as Bobby Timmons and Lee Morgan. Merritt's touring and recording with Blakey extended until 1962, when an unknown ailment forced him to stop touring.
By 1964, Merritt was back, working with the trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker, and is featured prominently in Baker's unfinished autobiography published under the title As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir.
From 1965 to 1968, Merritt worked with the drummer, composer and activist Max Roach, not only in the rhythm section but as a composer, recording Nommo on Roach's Atlantic album Drums Unlimited (1966). Nommo would earn Merritt a nomination for Best Jazz Composer in DownBeat magazine's Critics Poll.