Hailed as, "One of New York's most exciting musicians..." A.J. Merlino’s intense and versatile performing style has made him a highly sought after percussionist. As a touring musician he has played in Scotland, Croatia, Greece, Thailand, Australia, and Argentina. He has also presented masterclasses at various seminars and colleges in the United States, Argentina, Australia, and Canada. While residing in Las Vegas, he performed on the Las Vegas strip with popular music artists such as Jay-Z, Ronnie Vannucci of The Killers, Eric Marienthal, and Cee Lo Green.
A.J. Merlino currently serves as the percussionist for Remember Jones, We Used to Cut the Grass, Bella Vita, Colton Kayser Band, and performs as a soloist for an electronic percussion show entitled Percussion avec l'électronique. He can be heard of various recordings including: Ladies and Gentlemen, Remember Jones – Percussionist for Remember Jones, Woodpecker – Percussionist for We Used to Cut the Grass, Stranger Heads Prevail – Percussionist for Thank You Scientist, Lost Vegas - Soloist and Principal Percussionist for UNLV Wind Orchestra CD, 2012, Welcome to Las Vegas - Ragtime Rebels Marimba Band CD, 2011, Rebels in Paris - Soloist and Section Percussionist for Vox Ama Deus Ensemble CD, 2011, Colt Kayser EP - Percussionist for Colt Kayser Band CD, 2010.
Merlino has worked as music director, composer and performer for many projects held at The Venetian, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, as well as the production show Resurrecting Sin City, which premiered in Las Vegas and traveled to Adelaide, Australia. As a clinician, he has presented to numerous colleges, high schools, festivals and has worked for the International House of Blues with Kurt Rasmussen.
A strong supporter of new music, Merlino uses his diverse skills on dozens of percussion instruments to commission new works from up and coming composers, such as a work for six-mallet marimba and choir by Los Angeles composer Justin Raines and new works for marimba by Casey Cangelosi and Pius Cheung. His work with new music also extends to numerous premieres utilizing various instrumentations by David T. Little, Virko Bailey, Jim Barnes, Scott Steele, Eric Whitacre, and Michael Daugherty.
Merlino holds percussion performance degrees from Kutztown University and the University of Nevada Las Vegas where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. A.J. Merlino was a 2017 and 2018 quarterfinalist for GRAMMY Foundation's Music Educator Award for his work as the Director of Music Industry Studies at Albright College and President of the Reading Samba School.