John Merritt

Failed pianist, writer.

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2017-11-07

I was first exposed to jazz when I was about 12 or 13. It was winter and the radio in the kitchen was playing BBC Radio 4. Ramsey Lewis was being interviewed to promote his Time Flies record. I caught about ten seconds of The In Crowd and I was hooked. I called the BBC and spent half an hour trying to figure out the name of the album, and my parents ordered the CD especially for me that Christmas. As a failing/very aspirational pianist, listening to him was really inspirational. He did these crazy improvisations over Bach tunes, as well as tight-as-heck R&B grooves. I went on and discovered Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Barron--the start of a never-ending rabbit hole!

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