Like many young people do, Roy went to discover the world outside his home town when he moved to New Your City in 1976. His influence on the New York scene is perhaps best represented by the number of accolades and awards he received while he was there, including a Grammy nomination. He also had a long, mutually beneficial relationship with The Jazz Foundation of America. An album once described as “some of the most compelling soulful Jazz ever recorded live to tape,” following the 2016 rerelease of this 1973 recording, “Nubian Lady,” a New York Times “Popcast” proclaimed that “one yearns to have been present in the small Dayton, Ohio club [The Magic Carpet, for you Daytonians who remember] on the night this dazzling set was recorded.” A jazz critic once described him as a “two-fisted pianist who … has the sound of a champion, with thunder in his left hand and lightning in his right!” Roy also became known for his interpretation of Jesus Christ Superstar. Luckily, you can still find renditions of this piece on YouTube, along with various other Meriwether performances.
Jazz composer/arranger, Roy Meriwether wrote In the liner notes to his recording, “The Art of the Groove”: “What is it that gets our toes tappin’, our hands clappin’, our fingers snappin’ or our heads swayin’ and ultimately reaches into our hearts and souls? IT’S THE GROOVE!...” It seems safe to say that Roy did reach into our hearts and souls and no doubt he’s still out there somewhere, in the groove! A Dayton Jazz Honor Roll would help shine a light on Dayton area musicians like Roy Meriwether, who died last December, and the musical influence of the Dayton area.