Unsung local jazz hero Jymie Merritt gets well-deserved spotlight on NPR and at WCL (via Philly)

More than 40 years after the fact, Mike Merritt remembers his earliest experiences seeing his father, bassist Jymie Merritt, playing on New York stages alongside jazz legends like Lee Morgan and Max Roach.

“I wasn’t a musician yet, and I didn’t really understand jazz at all. I just knew I had a father that played it,” Mike Merritt said by phone from Los Angeles. “But the intensity that came off the stage drew me in. It was obvious how much the musicians he was playing with and other musicians watching respected and loved his playing.”

Those experiences had such a profound impact on the younger Merritt that he followed in his father’s footsteps, leading to an illustrious career highlighted by his long-running stint with Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band, Conan O’Brien’s house band on his TBS show, Conan. Mike will pay back that influence on Saturday night, leading Jymie’s long-standing band, the Forerunners, in a sold-out program of his father’s innovative compositions at World Cafe Live.

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