Jymie Merritt | Photo via http://www.bmansbluesreport.com/2013/05/absolution-part-1-jymie-merritt.html

Join WRTI, WXPN, the Philadelphia Jazz Project, and NPR Music’s Jazz Night in America, hosted by Christian McBride for a rare performance by The Forerunners playing the music of legendary Philly bassist Jymie Merritt. Merritt, whose career spans over 60 years, was known for his work with BB King, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Chet Baker, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and many more, and is known as an innovative double and electric bassist, band leader, and composer.

The Forerunners were formed by Jymie Merritt in 1962, and are now led by Jymie’s son, bassist Mike Merritt, who has been a member of Conan O’Brien’s band since 1993 and has worked with an impressive group of artists including Levon Helm, Phoebe Snow, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Osborne and many more. The other longtime members of The Forerunners who’ll be playing are Warren McLendon on piano and percussion; Colmare Duncan on piano; Alan Nelson on drums; Terry Lawson on tenor saxophone; and original member Odean Pope on tenor saxophone. They will perform original compositions written by Merritt between 1964 and 2009.

Born in 1926, Merritt learned tenor sax as a teenager, but switched to bass due to the health reasons. He attended the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music (now The University of the Arts), and went on to an important career not just as a performer, but also as a composer.

The concert will be held at World Cafe Live on January 16. RSVP for free here.

Below, listen to several songs written by Merritt, “Absolutions,” and “Nommo.”