Dr. Alton Merrell is a world class pianist, composer, and educator based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His musical artistry is a unique blend of lyrical melodies, rich harmonies, and fluid technique that spans multiple music genres including jazz, gospel, classical, pop, and rhythm and blues. His music is known to take listeners on spirit-filled excursions that deeply touch the soul.
Currently, Dr. Merrell leads his own instrumental jazz group, "The Alton Merrell Quartet," as well as his own gospel jazz vocal group “Dr. Alton Merrell & Impact.” In both groups, Dr. Merrell incorporates diverse musical styles in the repertoire to minister love to people worldwide.
Dr. Merrell has been blessed to minister with Gospel / Christian artists Kim Burrell, Martha Munizzi, David and Nicole Binon, Donnie McClurkin, Darwin Hobbs, Alvin Slaughter, Maurette Brown Clark, Dorothy Norwood, Israel Houghton, LaShunn Pace, Morris Chapman, Parkes Stewart, and the late Rev. Timothy Wright. He has also been seen several times on the nationally televised Bobby Jones Gospel Show. Dr. Merrell has also performed with jazz artists: Benny Golson, Delfeayo Marsalis, Hubert Laws, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Owens, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Rufus Reed, Sean Jones, and Roger Humphries.
He is a current member of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra and has also performed with, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, Cleveland State Jazz Heritage Orchestra, Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, YSU All-Star Alumni Jazz Ensemble,Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, and the OMEA Intercollegiate All-Star Jazz Ensemble.
From Youngstown State University, Alton earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Classical Piano Performance graduating Cum Laude, and a Master of Music in Jazz Piano performance. From the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Merrell received his Ph.D. in Jazz Studies with a research focus on jazz piano performance and pedagogy. Dr. Merrell has taught students all over the world, and continues to train music students at his school Minstrel School. (www.minstrelschool.com)
Dr. Merrell is happily married to Geida Merrell and they are the proud parents of two beautiful children, Jaden and Zion Merrell.