Medinea On Air
Guitarist | Composer
Enrico Merlin is one of those unusual cases of an accomplished musician and composer who is at the same time an acclaimed expert on the subject of 20th-century music. These two worlds, which rarely come together in a single person, have infused the artist with an exceptionally creative and expressive performing talent and at the same time have inspired numerous successful literary publications.
As a musician, he has played on more than 60 different recordings alongside artists such as Steven Bernstein, Giorgio Gaslini, Michael Manring, Rova Saxophone Quartet, e Markus Stockhause, to name but a few, and has also performed at numerous international Music Festivals together with artists such as Carla Bley, Médéric Collignon, Garrison Fewell, Paolo Fresu, Mark Baldwin Harris, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Boris Savoldelli, Maria Schneider, Giovanni Sollima, Elliott Sharp, John Surman, Steve Swallow, Henry Threadgill, Tino Tracanna, and many more besides.
In 2021 the music for the short movie Aria by Barbara Sirotti won the first prize as the best original soundtrack in four different festivals in Los Angeles, London, and Singapore. His 6-CD retrospective anthology Never Again!, was elected «Best Jazz Album of 2019» by the US web magazine The Arts Fuse; the winners in other categories were Peter Gabriel (pop-rock), Carlos Santana (world music), and George Benson (soul).
He has been the founder and leader of several bands including the Merlin UN-Covered Music Project, which was recently selected by the Italian Jazz Magazine JazzIt to represent the new wave of Italian Jazz at Webnotte, a television broadcast hosted by Repubblica TV / Radio Capital TV. Worthy of note amongst his more recent musical endeavours are his solo guitar and electronics audiophile album Dangerous Mind (Kutmusic 2022), released on vinyl, and the CD with the double bass player Pierpaolo Martino, It’s About That Time (Kutmusic 2022), dedicated to producer Teo Macero and to Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way.
He also writes music for the theatre and for documentaries and promotes, together with Andrea Brunello, an innovative form of interaction between words and sounds, which they call Jazz Teatrale (Theatre Jazz). At the Fringe Festival of Edinburgh in 2013, Enrico performed for an entire month in the show The Principle of Uncertainty, and then in many European venues and at Next Einstein Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2018.
From 2015 through 2019 he was elected one of the 10 best Italian guitar players by Jazzit Magazine readers. On the musicology front, Enrico has an undisputed worldwide reputation as one of the most important experts on the music of Miles Davis. His comprehensive and painstakingly detailed catalogue of released and unreleased works, parts of which have been published both in written and in multimedia form (first and foremost the DVD A Different Kind of Blue – Miles Davis at Isle of Wight, Eagle Vision), led to his nomination back in the 90’s by Gordon Meltzer (Davis’ last producer) as the official discographer for the milesdavis.com website.
In 1996 he was invited to the annual Miles Davis Convention, held in St. Louis at Washington University, where he presented a paper on the subject of nonverbal communication and coded phrases. The transcription of the presentation was later integrated into a course at the Harvard University Extension School: Music E-145, Electronic Music, History and Aesthetics of Popular Music Since the 1960s. He has been the inspiration and guiding light for a number of multimedia exhibitions.
In November 2012, he published 1000 dischi per un secolo. 1900-2000 is dedicated to the history of Western Music seen through the evolution of recording techniques and the innovation in musical languages. In December 2017 a new art book is published: Miles Davis 1959 – A Day-by-Day Chronology, A diary of Miles Davis’ life and music through incredible research work on the international press, complete with exhaustive discographies, biographical facts, interviews, and musical analyses.
After, he started to upload dozens of video pills during which, in a bunch of minutes, he explained the meaning of several particularly innovative records in the history of music. The videos caught the attention of Cameron Crowe and A.J. Eaton and EM was invited to join the production of A.J. Eaton’s David Crosby documentary, which premiered at the Salt Lake City Sundance Festival in January 2019. The film (Remember My Name) is produced by Cameron Crowe and was nominated at the 2019 Grammy Awards.
During the lockdown, he started a new online share video every day at 18:02 with a series of 75 music history lessons on the Facebook platform (now uploaded to YouTube) which obtained over 100,000 views!
Enrico holds regular seminars and workshops in many of the most important music schools and Italian conservatories and in 2014 he became a member of the prestigious teaching staff of the Nuoro Jazz Seminars.
He is part of the regular writers of the Italian magazine Jazzit. His articles about music appeared in many international magazines. In 2018, he was interviewed by US magazine Down Beat.
He has also been the artistic director of the NonSoleJazz Festival (now known as TrentinoinJazz) from 2003 through 2016.