All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Jymie Merritt

Jymie Merritt

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.

Read more

Tags

Albums

The Complete Live at...

Blue Note Records
2021

buy

Just Coolin'

Blue Note Records
2020

buy

Art Blakey and the...

Blue Note Records
2013

buy

Similar

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.