Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Merritt, Michael (Monroe)

Merritt, Michael (Monroe), bassist; born Philadelphia, PA, 28 July 1955. He's the son of James (Jymie) Merritt and Dorothy Viola (Small). His siblings are sister Mharlyn, b.1950, vocalist, and brothers Marlon, b.1951, guitarist; Martyn (1952-1989); and Marvon b.1954. His father Jymie is noted jazz bassist who made his reputation during 50's and 60's, on gigs and recordings with Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, Max Roach, Chet Baker, Lee Morgan and many others.

Michael studied bass guitar w/Jymie 1971-73; studied double bass w/Eligio Rossi, Settlement Music School, 1972-73; studied cross-rhythms and polytonality w/percussionist/composer Warren McClendon and played in his group The Nuclei, in Phila 1973-77; moved to NYC in 1980; gigs, tours and recordings with Texas bluesman Johnny Copeland(1981-89); performed w/Ruth Brown at Bern Jazz Festival(1985); gigs and recording with St.Louis-bred blues pianist Johnnie Johnson(1989-); since 1993 bassist in NBC'S Late Night with Conan O'Brien's band Max Weinberg Seven; sideman on gigs with Al Kooper, Jimmy Vivino, Donald Fagen, Phoebe Snow, Hubert Sumlin, Son Seals, Robert Palmer, Southside Johnny, Bruce Springsteen, Odetta, many other rock and blues artists. He has also shared the stage with many jazz artists including Max Roach, Arthur Blythe and Wynton Marsalis. Current projects include instrumental acid-jazz w/The Coalition (Scott Healy, keybd, Glenn Alexander, guit, Shawn Pelton, dr) more straightahead jazz and blues with saxophonist Jerry Vivino's Quintet (w/Lou Soloff, tpt, Brian Charette, organ, James Wormworth, dr); and bluesy, funky jazz with The Love Trio (w/Paul Tillotson, piano, James Wormworth, dr). His self-produced debut CD w/sister Mharlyn on vocals was to be released in mid-2003 featuring jazz arrangements of pop and rock standards.

He's married to Savitri Gita Ragoonath since 1991. His children are Adom Ravi, b.1993 and Indu Angelica b. 1995.

The Nuclei: Spirit of The Ghost Dance (unissued, 1976); Johnny Copeland: Make My Home Where I Hang My Hat (1982), Bringin' It All Back Home (1985), Ain't Nothin' But A Party (1988), Boom Boom (1989), When The Rain Starts Fallin' and Honky Tonkin'; Vivino Bros: Chitlins Parmigiana (1992); Johnnie Johnson: Johnnie Be Back (1995); Various Artists: Live From 6A: Conan O'Brien (1997); Hubert Sumlin: Wake Up Call (1998); Phoebe Snow: I Can't Complain (1998); Shemekia Copeland: Turn The Heat Up (1998); Odetta: Blues Everywhere I Go (1999); Vivino Bros: Blues Band (2000); Son Seals: Lettin' Go (2000); Max Weinberg Seven (2000); Sherie Rene Scott: Men I've Had (2000); Shemekia Copeland: Wicked (2000); Odetta: Lookin' For A Home (2001); Paul Tillotson &Love Trio: Funky Good Time (2002); Various Artists: Hey Bo Diddley (2002); Various Artists: Gotta Serve Somebody-The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan (2003)

The Blues/Rock Piano of Johnnie Johnson (1999); The Blues Guitar of Hubert Sumlin (2000)

Television broadcasts:
Late Night with Conan O'Brien (NBC-TV,1993-)

Radio broadcasts:
BBC Radio One broadcast performance with Johnnie Johnson (1991)

"Who Played It?-Mike Merritt of Late Night With Conan O'Brien"(Bass Player
Magazine, Sept/Oct 1994)

Contact information:
Business phone: 212-664-4923

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