Nima Rezai

There is no more fitting name for Nima Rezai's group than Merge. It's all about mergers. Merging musical styles: jazz, world music, progressive rock. Merging instruments: Nima plays Stick with MIDI'd synth sounds, Dan Heflin plays saxophones and Brad Ranola provides drums and percussion. Merging musical cultures: North American, Eastern, West African, South American.

Under many circumstances, all those elements converging into a single space would lead to confusion and cacophony. Not so for the Los Angeles based Nima and Merge. Their music transcends the sum of the individual influences, creating a fresh, exciting, unique and engaging experience.

Merge's latest album Live in London has received rave reviews. The trio recorded the disc at several different venues around London during the 2003 Jazz on The Street Festival. The sound is full of the raw energy of highly skilled improvising musicians. René Meuris of All weather Music writes, "Merge offers a mix (merge!) of jazz, rock, ethnic music and performs with such passion that they give you the impression that each concert is their last chance to prove their value."

Their third CD, Separate Worlds, is scheduled for release in November. The three core members are there, augmented by Randy Graves on guitar, fretless guitar, and didgeridoo, Mas Koga on the flute and alto flute, Ali Shayesteh on saz and bouzouki, and Jesus Florido on 7-string violin.

Merge is hitting the road in 2005, with performances scheduled for the Palma Music Festival on the Island of Mallorca, the Aachen Jazz Festival in Aachen, Germany, the Zitadellen Jazznacht in Julich, Germany, Veneto Jazz Festival in Venice, Italy, and a return engagement at the Jazz on The Street Festival - London, UK.

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