“When I was back in Philadelphia, after I left Art Blakey, I put together certain concepts that were indigenous to Jazz—predicated on the fact that there are all these guys who are “fore-runners”: people who started this music. They paid their dues and dealt with the American evolution coming out of oppression and segregation, all of which made it very difficult for them. It is hard just being an artist in this society and surviving. It is this kind of thing that we eulogize without getting smothered by what happened before us.”

– Jymie Merritt

Welcome to the official website of Jymie Merritt and Forerunner. We are pleased to present this site to introduce you to the original music of a Philadelphia–bred Jazz communicator: bassist and composer Jymie (pronounced “Jimmy”) Merritt.

“Forerunner” is a creative Jazz concept that uses numbers as a tool for gaining access to and exploring the energies of the historical forces of Jazz music—the pioneers of Jazz to whom the term “forerunner” pays tribute.
Over the years, the term has been used to include not just the musicians playing Forerunner music in any particular band but a wider community of both musicians and listeners who have returned again and again to an experience they have found enjoyable and rewarding.

A goal of Forerunner is to motivate hearers to become listeners. For young musicians in particular, the hope is that they will become intrigued enough by what they hear to want to investigate what the Forerunner concept has to offer them regarding their own creativity.

We will be updating this page regularly with information about the early days of Forerunner,  the musicians who participated in the first workshops, and the artists (musicians and other creative individuals) who have associated themselves with Forerunner at various times over the years. Along the way, we also intend to explore some of the ideas that Jymie brings to the Forerunner concept.