Alex Merritt

LONDON Oliver's Jazz Bar
9 Nevada St,
SE10 9JL


The critically-acclaimed saxophonist presents a new band influenced by contemporary classical music, John Coltrane, and Buddhism. Expect risk-taking, interaction, and reinvention. "One of the best UK jazz recordings I've heard this year" ★★★★ Stephen Graham

Saxophonist Alex Merritt will present the debut performance from a new quintet featuring Miriam Ast (Stan Sulzmann), John Turville (Julian Argüelles), Freddie Jensen (Alex Ridout), and Joshua Blackmore (Troyka). 

Merritt's music draws on influences ranging from classical composers such as Henri Dutilleux and Bela Bartok, to masters from the jazz canon including Warne Marsh, and Joe Henderson. His debut album was named after the Buddhist concept of ‘Anatta,’ meaning ‘a moment of awakening, whereby one can come to realise the illusory nature of self.’ For Merritt this applies to the creative process, with those moments where a musician's playing or writing feels effortless seen as a glimpse of 'no-self.' Should we be able to free ourselves from the fetters of self, a process described by the composer Peter Schat as like ‘Houdini escaping from the straitjacket,’ all that is left is the moment. The album was released to rave reviews, described by Stephen Graham as "one of the best UK jazz recordings I’ve heard this year" (Marlbank). 

This exciting new ensemble will be exploring a fresh set of Merritt's compositions and arrangements. Expect risk-taking, interaction, and reinvention. 

Alex Merritt - Tenor Saxophone Miriam Ast - Vocals John Turville - Piano Freddie Jensen - Double Bass Joshua Blackmore - Drums 

‘Merritt’s warm, dry, Getzian fluency is a joy, whether intertwining with Turville’s mysterious, unpredictable chordal shifts or bubbling with controlled fervour...This feels like just the beginning… and what a beginning’. AP reviews, ★★★★★ 

‘It’s one of the best UK jazz recordings I’ve heard this year’. Stephen Graham, Marlbank ★★★★ 

‘Merritt is not only an artist to watch, but also to listen to, as one would a dawn chorus: with eyes closed and mind opened’. Tyran Grillo, All About Jazz, ★★★★1/2

★★★★ - Jazzwise