John Merrill

  • John Merrill
  • Instruments: Guitar

  • Biography:

    Guitarist John Merrill began his musical studies at a young age. He played clarinet, recorder, and drums but once he discovered the guitar he became determined to learn the instrument. His teacher, bassist David Stoltz, not only showed him the basics of guitar but also shared with John his passion for jazz music. He was also very fortunate to live next door to a great saxophonist and music scholar Leonard Brown who further encouraged John's growing interest in jazz. John began playing professionally while still in high school and was in the band for several musical stage productions. He also participated in the jazz orchestra at Wesleyan University under the direction of vibraphonist Jay Hoggard and attended master classes at Hartt School hosted by the late Jackie McLean. John attended Five Towns College where he studied with Mark Elf - a wellspring of jazz guitar knowledge and disciple of Barry Galbraith and Tal Farlow. He then went on to attend The New School in Greenwich Village, New York, where he received a Bachelor Of Music. While at The New School, John had the opportunity to study with such luminaries as Junior Mance, Jim Hall, Arnie Lawrence, Gene Bertoncini, and many others. He was also very busy performing. John is currently a member of Lapis Luna featuring vocalist Shawn Clark. The band performs a rich array of classic standards and Brazilian songs and has an excellent book of arrangements, many of which are written by saxophonist Chris Byars, who regularly plays with the group. Beginning in 2001, John led a late night jam session at Smalls for about three years on Friday and Saturday nights where he had the chance to play with many outstanding musicians from all over the world. Band members included Renault Penault, Billy Kaye, Hagai Bilitsky, Opher Scheider, and Corin Stiggall... John has also had good beginning in the field of teaching. He taught guitar and piano to young people at The Florentine School in Chinatown and also at Slope Music in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was also a tutor of english and math in the New York City Public School System while in college. He now has a few private students and plans to continue this pursuit. John is working on several projects currently, most notably an album of standards that will be out in 2008 Weblinks: