The Philadelphia-based bassist Jymie Merritt’s place on the historical register of jazz was cemented by his work with major players like Art Blakey, Max Roach and Lee Morgan. But there’s a lot more music that he hasn’t received due credit for: notably, his own. Starting in the 1960s, he began developing a personal system of polyrhythms and harmonies called Forerunner, and a working ensemble to match. It’s rich in mathematical complexity, but it left a mark on many Philadelphians like saxophonist Odean Pope and his son, Mike Merritt (now the bassist on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show band). Now, Mike has taken up the mantle and reassembled the band to finally record his father’s music.
Jazz Night In America goes to Philly to meet Jymie Merritt and see The Forerunners live in concert, as presented by WXPN, WRTI and the Philadelphia Jazz Project at World Cafe Live.
1:56 – “Angela”
5:36 – Jymie’s System
7:14 – “CrossModes”
16:31 – Mike Merritt and Jymie Merritt chat
18:32 – “Nommo”
Recorded Jan 16, 2016 @ World Cafe Live
Mike Merritt (bass), Colmare Duncan (piano), Terry Lawson (tenor saxophone), Warren McLendon (piano & percussion), Alan Nelson (drums), Odean Pope (tenor saxophone)