Bob Merrill’s “Celebrating the Trumpet Kings”
In his new show, Bob Merrill captures the spirit of history’s greatest horn legends, beginning with pioneers Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke through swing era stylists Bunny Berigan, Harry James, and Roy “Little Jazz” Eldridge. Bebop innovators Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis are followed by post-Bop masters Chet Baker, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard, then Merrill closes with classics by Herb Alpert, Chuck Mangione, and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” The New York native’s engaging tribute includes historical details, anecdotes and even one of Gillespie’s upturned-bell trumpets.
Celebrating the Trumpet Kings debuted at the Kravis Center in January 2018. Upcoming performances include:
THE NEW ALBUM FROM ACCURATE RECORDS:
TELL ME YOUR TROUBLES
SONGS BY JOE BUSHKIN, VOL. 1
Jazz trumpeter/vocalist Bob Merrill presents an album of original songs by Joe Bushkin, curated from the personal archives of the great pianist and composer on the occasion of his centennial birthday celebration. His classic standard “Oh! Look at Me Now”—Sinatra’s very first hit—is featured with Bushkin himself at the piano on his last recording, as well as other songs both familiar and newly discovered.
With an all-star cast including Kathryn Crosby, Bucky Pizzarelli, Wycliffe Gordon, Nicki Parrott, Laurence Hobgood, Howard Alden, and Eric Comstock, Tell Me Your Troubles: Songs by Joe Bushkin, Vol. 1 is the first installment of a journey through the decades, exposing new listeners to classic tunes by this revered Jazz legend.
To read the complete album credits and liner notes, including an essay by Merrill on Joe Bushkin, click here.
“A wonderful labor of love by Bob Merrill that captures the spirit of Joe Bushkin, and that’s a mighty big spirit to capture. Oh, listen to this now!“
— Bill Boggs, PBS, NBC, WNEW
Sample these selections from the album below!
- FRANK SINATRA REMEMBERS JOE
- OH! LOOK AT ME NOW (feat. Joe Bushkin)
- HOT TIME IN THE TOWN OF BERLIN
- WISE TO MYSELF
- BOOGIE WOOGIE BLUE PLATE
- TELL ME YOUR TROUBLES
- GIRL WANTED
- LOVELY WEATHER
- GOIN’ BACK TO STORYVILLE
- SOMETHING WONDERFUL HAPPENS IN SUMMER
- MAN HERE PLAYS FINE PIANO
- RED BUTTONS REMEMBERS JOE
All songs by Joe Bushkin; lyrics by Johnny Devries, except (4) by Johnny Burke and (7) by Garson Kanin.
Critical Acclaim for “Tell Me Your Troubles”
Tell Me Your Troubles: Songs by Joe Bushkin has been receiving praise from a wide variety of reviewers since its release—here are just a few highlights from recent reviews:
“Trumpeter Bob Merrill honors Bushkin’s substantial legacy with an homage crafted with heartfelt reverence and respect.”
—Brian Zimmerman, DownBeat Magazine Editor’s Pick
“Merrill is charismatic and this album is a good example of his warm personality… each and every song is a gem… there is not one dull moment… listed as volume one, I sure hope there are future volumes!”
—Herb Young, IAJRC Journal
“Merrill sings in a soft, unforced croon… [he] has put together a caring, interesting tribute to Bushkin.”
—Robert Rusch, Cadence Magazine
“Merrill is in great voice on the sensuous ‘Lovely Weather’…Yogi Berra is proven wrong on this session, as for once, nostalgia IS what it used to be!”
—George Harris, Jazz Weekly
“Assembling a worthy cast of contemporary jazzbos to lend a hand, this overview of the Bushkin catalog swings and is leavened with the kind of love that can only come from appreciating these tunes up close and personally… Nostalgia? Nope, killer stuff throughout whether you are a classic jazz vocal fan or not.”
“A revelation—a cool contribution to the ‘Great American Songbook’ and lots of fun… thanks to Merrill for unearthing these songs and performing them so well.”
—E.C. Goodstein, Amazon
“With warm, pleasant arrangements and some dance beats, this is cheerful jazz lounge music and a knowing, honorable retrospective.”
—Dr. Jan Bibel, Amazon
BOB MERRILL is noted for his engaging vocal style, combined with great talent as a Jazz trumpeter, pianist, arranger and bandleader. His music has been heard around the world – at clubs and in concerts, in films and on television, and on recordings as a leader and sideman.
Born and raised in Manhattan, he studied with Red Rodney as a teenager. While in college, Bob led the Harvard Jazz Band, performing regularly around New England and touring with them overseas. While earning his degree in music at Harvard, he also attended New England Conservatory, studying and performing with legendary pianist Jaki Byard and his Apollo Stompers Big Band. In 1981 Bob became a teaching fellow for Harvard’s Seminars in Jazz course and founded the Jazz at the Pudding concert series at the famed Hasty Pudding Club, fronting the house band and presenting many prominent Jazz artists, among them Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Al Hibbler, Sheila Jordan and Archie Shepp.
In 1986, Merrill returned to New York where he opened Hip Pocket Studios, a 48-track recording facility specializing in music for commercials and host for recordings by artists such as Patti LaBelle, Sting, Art Garfunkel, Peter, Paul and Mary as well as television clients including The Cosby Show on NBC. He produced three CDs for his father-in-law, legendary pianist and composer Joe Bushkin, for whom he served as trumpeter, musical director and arranger. Together they appeared at New York’s Tavern on the Green and The Supper Club, L.A.’s Jazz Bakery, in addition to engagements in Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Jazz festivals around the country.
In 1997, Bob released his first album as a leader, Catch as Catch Can, and he was featured on the American Movie Classics channel leading the AMC Orchestra in the television series Gotta Dance! Bob’ second CD, Got A Bran’ New Suit, featuring Bill Charlap and an all-star lineup was released in 2005. He has appeared in concerts with Peter Nero and the Philadelphia Pops, as well as the Nassau Pops, and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall. His third album, Christmastime at the Adirondack Grill, has become a Yuletide season favorite.
Cheerin’ Up The Universe, Bob Merrill’s fourth album, was released by Accurate Records in 2015. The album is an eclectic mix of modern popular classics with Jazz interpretations featuring many notable musicians such as John Medeski on piano, Drew Zingg on guitar, Nicki Parrott on bass and vocals plus George Schuller on drums. Trombonist Roswell Rudd and saxophonists Harry Allen and Russ Gershon also appear, along with pianist Matthew Fries. View the video here.
In 2017, Bob released Tell Me Your Troubles: Songs of Joe Bushkin, Vol. 1, the first installment of a two-volume celebration and exploration of the works of the legendary pianist and composer, featuring a dazzling array of guest artists including Bucky Pizzarelli, Kathryn Crosby, Nicki Parrott, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Comstock, as well as the final recording of Bushkin himself accompanying Bob on his classic “Oh! Look at Me Now.”
Bob Merrill’s charismatic musical style has been hailed by critics and his band never fails to get a crowd on its feet.
CHEERIN’ UP THE UNIVERSE
Cheerin’ Up the Universe is jazz trumpeter/vocalist Bob Merrill’s fourth album. The disc features notable musicians including John Medeski, George Schuller, Drew Zingg, Nicki Parrott, Matthew Fries, Russ Gershon, Vicente Lebron, and John Van Eps, along with special guests trombonist Roswell Rudd, saxophonist Harry Allen, and vocalist Gabrielle Agachiko, in a program of reinvented classics from songwriters including Burt Bacharach, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Leonard Bernstein, Paul Simon and Pharrell Willams, plus Merrill’s original title track. To read more about the album, click here.
Praise for Cheerin’ Up the Universe
“Cheerin’ Up the Universe is a tunefest of the first order… A positive, affirming musical experience… Merrill assembled an impressive band to translate his feelings about the music to the listener and uses crackling fresh arrangements to do so.…His singing is infectious and his trumpet playing is top notch.… Merrill accomplishes all with a smile on his face, and obviously, in his heart.” – C. Michael Bailey for AllAboutJazz.com
“Merrill assembled a team of heavy hitters for this wide-ranging project… The big treat here is Merrill’s savvy lyric update of the politically charged ‘Compared To What’… his rather smooth vocals take on an extra bite in this update of the Jazz classic.” – Ken Franckling Jazz Notes
“An album of smiles… sweet with trumpet work… a relentless, exuberantly positive album… joyful pieces with strong rhythms that will appeal to others on alien planets…this jazz vocal album of popular hits will have us depart with smiles.” – Dr. Debra Jan Bibel for Amazon.com
In Arnaldo DeSouteiro’s 37th annual Jazz Station Awards for the “Best of 2015,” Cheerin’ Up the Universe received top 10 honors for Bob Merrill in both the Flugelhorn and Male Singer categories.
- CHEERIN’ UP THE UNIVERSE (Bob Merrill)
- WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW (Burt Bacharach)
- THE SECRET O’ LIFE (James Taylor)
- GLAD (Steve Winwood)
- POLITICAL SCIENCE (Randy Newman)
- SOMEWHERE (Leonard Bernstein)
- COMPARED TO WHAT (Gene McDaniels)
- IMAGINE (John Lennon)
- I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER (Burt Bacharach)
- FEELIN’ GROOVY (Paul Simon)
- OVERJOYED (Stevie Wonder)
- HAPPINESS (Clark Gesner)
- THE CREATOR HAS A MASTER PLAN (Pharoah Sanders)
- HAPPY (Pharell Williams)
- I.G.Y. (WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD) (Donald Fagen)
- I’M SO TIRED (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
GOT A BRAN’ NEW SUIT
This rollicking collection of 15 favorites features tunes ranging from beloved standards like “Three Little Words and “Just You, Just Me” to newer classics like “The Odd Couple” Theme and a medley from the film Toy Story. Featuring an all-star cast including Harry Allen, tenor sax; John Allred, trombone; Bill Charlap, piano; Joe Cohn, guitar; Duffy Jackson, drums; and Bob Merrill, vocals, trumpet, cornet, and flugelhorn. With special guests Howard Alden on guitar and Mike Ledonne on organ.
- Got a Bran’ New Suit
- Let’s Get Away from It All
- King of the Road
- Three Little Words
- The Good Life
- Too Marvelous for Words
- “The Odd Couple” Theme
- Can’t Take You Nowhere
- I May Be Wrong
- I Wish I Were in Love Again
- The Couple from Duluth
- Just You, Just Me
- When She Loved Me
- You’ve Got a Friend in Me
CATCH AS CATCH CAN
A fresh take on a swinging set of standards and jazz favorites from legendary songwriters like Rodgers & Hart (“This Can’t Be Love”), Burke & Van Heusen (“It Could Happen to You”), and Gershwin (“Our Love is Here to Stay”), plus Juan Tizol’s “Perdido,” Al Cohn’s “Nose Cone,” and Merrill’s original title track.
Featuring Harry Allen, tenor sax; Joe Cohn, guitar; Larry Ham and Jeremy Kahn, piano; Dennis Irwin and John Burr, bass; and Duffy Jackson, drums; plus a big band including trumpeter Chris Botti.
- Saturday Night
- Nose Cone
- It Could Happen to You
- Catch as Catch Can
- Indian Summer
- Theme from “Bewitched”
- This Can’t Be Love
- East of the Sun
- Secret Love
- Stompin’ at the Savoy
- Our Love Is Here to Stay
NY Post Page Six, Sept. 12, 2002
GUESTS at the recent wedding of ICM agent Chris Andrews and Jennifer Keohane were treated to an impromptu performance by Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz. As Rosie Perez and “Chasing Amy” star Joey Lauren Adams looked on, Duritz took the stage at Newport’s Inn at Castle Hill, R.I., and sang Cole Porter’s “Everytime We Say Goodbye.” Bandleader Bob Merrill says Duritz confided it was his favorite shower song. Duritz has done more than sing for the couple. His hit “A Long December” was inspired by Keohane’s recovery from a near-fatal traffic accident.
It’s a Nice Song If You Can Get It
The New York Times, June 26, 1998
BOB MERRILL is crazy for voice mail.
Mr. Merrill, a trumpeter and bandleader, had been hired to play at the wedding Of REGEN HORCHOW and JEFF FEARON on Nantucket. The requests for Gershwin tunes started coming even before he left New York — no surprise, considering that Ms. Horchow’s father, ROGER HORCHOW, was a producer of the all-Gershwin musical “Crazy for You.”
“They wanted ‘I Can’t Be Bothered Now,’ which was a stump-the-band thing for me,” Mr. Merrill said. “I was going to try to get the music, but Sam Ash was closed for the day.”
So he called ERIC COMSTOCK, a singer and cabaret historian, and left a message. Mr. Comstock returned the call, telling Mr. Merrill’s answering machine that he did not have sheet music for “I Can’t Be Bothered Now.”
“I learned it by ear,” Mr. Comstock said. “From an Astaire movie.”
Mr. Merrill called and left this message: “Call back and play it on my machine.”
As soon as Mr. Merrill landed on Nantucket, he checked his machine. Sure enough, there was a message from Mr. Comstock. In fact, there were two.
“The first time he did it, he got cut off,” Mr. Merrill said, who transcribed the melody and arranged it. The review? “They loved it,” he said.
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