Sunday, December 4th
Alex Merritt/Jeff Williams Quartet
Bandleader leader Alex Merritt, along with two other young stalwarts of today's jazz scene - the prodigiously talented pianist John Turville and burgeoning bassist Sam Lasserson - have teamed up with legendary American drummer Jeff Williams to produce a critically acclaimed debut CD, Anatta.
An impressive graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire’s jazz course, Alex Merritt incorporates the sound of early Stan Getz with the approach of Warne Marsh. He quotes Joe Henderson and John Coltrane among his influences. Others include Lennie Tristano, Eubie Blake and Bela Bartok.
Regarded by many critics as a major new talent, pianist John Turville cites the late John Taylor as one of his primary influences, along with Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans, while Sam Lasserson was described by The Observer’s Dave Gelly as an “outstanding” bassist.
Jeff Williams' CV just about matches anyone's, and his wealth of experience is both staggering and very deep - Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Cedar Walton, John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, Art Farmer, Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, to name but a few - and his gently propulsive, sympathetic drumming is an absolute joy to watch.
These musicians produce inventive, contemporary sounds that won’t raise the hackles of those with an ear for a well-turned phrase, so expect originals from Alex’s debut album, along with reinterpretations of compositions by Monk, Tristano, Henderson and Blake, among others.
Have a listen to the promo video for Anatta.
“A promising jazz debut of striking quality.” -
John Fordham, The Guardian ***
" . . . as beautiful a British offering as you're likely to hear all year." - Bebop Spoken Here
“Merritt’s warm, dry, Getzian fluency is a joy.” - Adrian Pallant, AP reviews *****
“It’s one of the best UK jazz recordings I’ve heard this year.” - Stephen Graham, Marlbank News ****
"Williams has honed a sound that seamlessly blends a sinewy, propulsive rhythmic sense with a masterful appreciation of space and atmosphere." - Matthew Miller,
The New York City Jazz Record