Alex was lucky to have grown up in Cambridge, home to a very strong musical education system and to have had some very inspiring teachers – Janet Mcleod, Trevor Barlow, David Gordon and Kevin Flanagan that supported and encouraged his growing interest in jazz. There was a strong jazz scene in the city when Alex was a teenager and lots of opportunities for a young player to sit in and learn on the bandstand, something he is happy to see returning to the city at Hot Numbers Cafe – a vital experience for any young musician. Alex keeps strong ties with the city, has ran jazz nights here (notably at The Geldart) and intends to keep such connections going for the future.
After meeting and being inspired by many london jazz musicians in Cambridge at the the jazz nights John Turville ran at La Raza, Alex went to Birmingham Conservatoire to study jazz performance. He had a great experience there studying and meeting many brilliant musicians and thinkers, many of whom remain good friends. Saxophonists Mike Williams, Julian Seigel, Jean Toussaint and composer and pianist Hans Koller and Mike Gibbs amongst others.
For his final performance at Birmingham and for the year following Alex performed with Kit Downes, Calum Gourlay and James Maddren (the Kit Downes trio) and at this time also formed an early incarnation of the Alex Merritt Quartet, (building on the connection Alex had made with Jeff Williams in his last two years in Birmingham) who have been developing their group sound over the last five years of playing together.
Alex has been freelancing in London since graduating and has been fortunate to perform with many of the top players on the UK jazz scene. He is very excited about his current performance projects which have seen him playing at Ronnie Scotts Jazz club, the London Jazz Festival and Brecon Jazz Festival. Likewise, Alex is consistently developing his skills as a composer and is pleased to be asked back to Birmingham Conservatoire to lecture on his compositional approach this term.
Musical education is something Alex is deeply involved with and finds both his positions as a visiting saxophone teacher at the RWCMD and his private teaching endeavours constantly fulfilling, stimulating and mutually complementary with his experiences as a Vipassana meditator.