Roy D. Meriwether, the one-time child prodigy and life-long jazz piano virtuoso, was born in Dayton on February 24, 1943. After Roy crawled up on the piano bench when he was 3 years old and played his first song, much to the amazement of his family, Roy has been amazing audiences ever since—in jazz clubs, concert halls, and jazz festivals across the country. By age 4, Roy was playing every hotel in Dayton, played at Dayton’s Memorial Hall for the General Motors convention, and made the down payment for the family’s first Cadillac. He started playing for a 22-voice choir at the age of 7.
Renowned jazz critic Arnold Shaw once described Roy as a “two-fisted pianist who in this day of right-handed wizards has the sound of a champion, with thunder in his left hand and lightning in his right.” Roy has had an amazing career with 25 albums to date, including dozens of originals and a 21-song musical, Black Snow. That musical, partly sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which is a musical interpretation of African-American history, was performed live, April 10-11, 1976, at Memorial Hall in commemoration of the American Bicentennial. The world-class performance included the Howard Roberts Chorale and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (another Dayton Original). Another proud moment in Roy’s life-long composing achievements was penmanship of the Thomas Edison State College (Trenton, New Jersey) Alma Mater in 1984.
Roy has received numerous awards including the Jamaica Queens New York Jazz Community Award, the New York Manhattan Association of Cabaret Award (MAC Award), and has been considered for a Grammy nomination. In March of 1999, Roy received a Lifetime Achievement to Music Award. Now at 70 years of age, Roy recently returned to his hometown of Dayton to perform at Gilly’s Jazz, a long-time local favorite and another Dayton Original. From all accounts, Roy brought down the packed house, leaving those lucky enough to attend a night to remember. Some of Roy’s greatest performances have been forever captured on video and are available on his YouTube channel. Now living in New York City, Roy continually elicits standing ovations from his audiences. This Dayton Original’s sound is unmistakable and his music is timeless!