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Artists - Jymie Merritt



Recording period between


A classically trained player with a surging style characterized by the frequent use of triplet figures and putting notes ahead of the beat, Jymie Merritt made a successful switch from jazz to R&B and blues and back to jazz again in the '50s. Merritt played with John Coltrane, Benny Golson, and Philly Joe Jones in 1949, but worked with Bull Moose Jackson and B.B. King playing electric bass in the early and mid-'50s. He returned to jazz when he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the late '50s, and also went back to the acoustic. He later invented his own instrument, the Ampeg, sort of a modification hybrid of both. Merritt stayed with Blakey until 1962, then recorded with Chet Baker in 1964. Merritt played with Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lee Morgan from the mid-'60s to the early '70s. He helped form an organization comprised of musicians and performers from other disciplines known as the Forerunners in 1962. This became Forerunner, a cooperative organization that was active in Philadelphia's cultural and community activities into the late '80s. Merritt never recorded as a leader, but can be heard on CD reissues by Morgan, Roach, and others. ~ Ron Wynn