Jymie Merritt

“All life has a pattern, and once you can tap into that pattern, you tap into all aspects of life.”

  • Name: Jymie Merritt
  • Born: May 3, 1926
  • Died: April 10, 2020 (Age 93)
  • From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Occupation: 
  • Works: Live At the Lighthouse (1970), Moanin’ (1985), “Nommo” (1966)
  • Awards: The Forerunners, the Jazz Messengers, Jazz Heritage Award (2009), Living Legend Jazz Award (2013)
  • Fun Fact: He worked within real estate in his early life, he helped to establish the Vine Memorial Baptist Church, and he is a World War 2 veteran.

James Releigh Merritt or Jymie Merritt was an American bassist and composer who played alongside well-known jazz and blues artists including B.B. King, the Jazz Messengers, Chet Baker, and Max Roach. He was one of the earliest adopters of the electric bass. One of Jymie Merritt’s career highlights as a composer was when he reunited with Jazz Messenger trumpeter Lee Morgan. Morgan’s Live at the Lighthouse featuring Merritt’s composition “Absolutions” has since become a jazz classic. Merritt’s ensemble, the Forerunner, created jazz music that utilized Merritt’s own system of unique approaches to composition and has inspired musicians all around.


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