12:30pm / April, 8th 2016View Map
Tropical Isle Hand Grenade Stage
Mervin Campell was exposed to music at an early age by his mother, Millie Campbell. Millie, a member of the Fairview Baptist choir, taught Merv to sing before buying him his first trumpet when he entered the fifth grade. In 1981, Merv joined the Olympia Brass Band, led by Harold Dejan and Milton Batiste. Dejan and Batiste dubbed Merv “Kid Rena” after his uncle, trumpeter Henry “Kid” Rena.
In 1987 Merv joined the Junior Olympia Brass Band, led by Milton Batiste. Two years later, Merv formed his own group called the Young Olympians. The Young Olympians evolved into a group with two identities: the Young Olympians playing traditional events by day, and the funky Soul Rebels playing at clubs and parties by night. The band toured throughout the US and Europe and were recorded live in 1997 for the Peabody Award-winning documentary River of Song.
While playing with the Soul Rebels, Merv played with Deff Generation (also known as the Young Nevilles), Tuba Fats & His Chosen Few with Linda Young, and with the Jackson Square Jazz Band. He also recorded with The Olympia Brass Band, the Young Olympians, Deff Generation, Cyril Neville and the Uptown All-Stars, and the Neville Brothers.
After Merv’s split with the Soul Rebels in December of 1997, he began working on a solo album at Milton Batiste’s Dubat Studios. Again, Batiste dubbed Merv “Kid Merv” in honor of Kid Rena. The name stuck and the resulting CD, Kid Merv & All that Jazz won two 1997 Offbeat Awards.
Kid Merv has also played with the Treme Brass Band, the Original Royal Players Brass Band, and the Louis Armstrong Society Band, and toured all over the country playing at events such as French Quarter Festival, Satchmo SummerFest, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and the Essence Festival after parties.
After a brief hiatus, Kid Merv has returned to New Orleans to start a series of shows with Kid Merv & All That Jazz. Their album “Body and Soul” was released in 2012.