Washington, DC, October 20, 2014 – Local Jazz artist Aaron Myers has garnered attention from independent music professionals across the Globe. It was announced Wednesday October 15th, Myers is ranked Number One on the Reverbnation Jazz Charts for Washington DC, the United States and World Wide. He has maintained this rank since that time.
October 20, 2014
August 9, 2014
Jazz is (not) boring.
Jazz is (not) overrated.
Jazz is (not) washed up.
Anytime I see these words, without the added parentheses, starting off an opinion editorial, immediately I am reminded that our forefathers/mothers fought for the freedom of speech. It is also my opinion that in there fighting, they would hope the generations that followed them would strive with even more ferver to have responsibility with this right. Alas, I read the words chosen by Mr. Moyers as he begins a diatribe against a genre of music drenched in self expression…and I drop my head in shame.
The first Jazz album I heard came by accident. While rummaging through some records at the home of my Grandparents, I stumbled upon a record that seemed different from the others. It was thicker, visibly older, worn, and on one side simply read, “Gut Bucket Blues” Little did I know, the sounds that I heard would evoke such emotion 70 years after it was first recorded, and leave such an impression on a 12 year old boy.
Since then my love of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Eubie Blake, Jack Teagrden has not only evolved, but aided me in my appreciation of musicians like Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Kris Bowers and Allyn Johnson. Each person represents a snapshot of an era, and through their individual expression, a timeless, ageless story is told that transcends words and in some moments, demands change.
- Jazz allows a story to be told in different forms
As a southerner, I appreciate a good story. Some of the greatest stories I remember hearing were told over the Sunday dinner table. Waiting in anticipation of a punch-line or a climax in a tale I had heard countless times from my Grandparents is still one of my fondest memories. With that said, some of my soberest memories come from hearing the same tales, told by a family friend, my mother, or even when passing on the tale to other family members and friends for the first time. Humans are unique, and even reading stories from a printed text, our voices, inflections, and tones differ adding a different flavor to the text. Thus is Jazz.
How awesome it is to have heard Louis Armstrong’s version of “Stardust”! You hear as he takes his trumpet and paints a picture for you with only tones from his instrument. How equally touching is it to hear Mel Torme sing the lyrics of Stardust, in his twilight years, written by Hoagy Carmichael, some 60 years earlier. Jazz gave freedom to artists of all genres to not be afraid to add their “flavor” to a song, not taking away any substance or meaning from the composer/lyricist. If you don’t believe me, ask Aretha Franklin about her cover of “Respect” or Nikki Minaj about the work she put into her mixtapes.
2. Improvisation encourages musicians to evolve
I am so thankful that the history of man did not stop with the discovery of fire. With each generation, this concept was built upon. Likewise it is with music. When improvisation is captured, it allows other musicians to take one persons’ improvised expression, and to build upon it.
With improvisation, a new voice is given to the musician/composer to share his/her expression.
3. Jazz Continues to Evolve
In the legal definition of “evolve” one finds that it also includes “preserving the good characteristics” and that change can be “random, generationally slow, good, bad or deadly.” Evolution takes on different tones, in different times, to different people.
The expression of Jazz at one time was only regulated to speakeasies, gin joints, and back rooms. Then, only in Dance Halls. Festivals captured Jazz for a while, and then it stayed in school auditoriums or during special performances by Jazz originators. Now you find Jazz, again, in small clubs and intimate venues, but this time with the invention of new instruments and tools to, again, express Jazz in a different or an “evolved” manor.
4. Jazz is Radical
There were 8 recorded lynchings, not sure if there were others undocumented, in 1937 when the poem “Strange Fruit” was written. When Billie Holiday recorded this with added music to the poem, the number of lynches had decreased to 3, but this terrible act was now introduced through the expression of Jazz to the world. The honesty of the pain, disappointment and fear Holiday felt towards her country due to its lack of inaction and the continuation of the practice of lynching was, and is, overwhelming. Her 1939 recording of this, in time, became her biggest selling record.
This courage has been adopted by other artists to use Jazz to speak up, out, and against injustice of people throughout the world. “Mushy” is not the first or last word that comes to mind when I, and many others, try to describe Jazz.
5. Jazz is Re-emerging and Local
When I moved to Washington DC in 2008 I was surprised at the classic venues located here in the district that offered Jazz. More venues have now opened their doors to Jazz. The Capitol Jazz Festival now offers “Jazz in the Hood” showcasing the hundreds of local Jazz musicians in the District of Columbia. You will find new festivals starting up every year across the country, and globe, to also showcase the growing number of jazz musicians, that bring with them the influence of their time along with new technology.
Trends have been adopted and thrown away. In the future we will view the fads and technology of today as we now view leisure suits, hoop-skirts, and the “View-Master”. Jazz has not and shows no sign of being dead or on life support. To borrow from Mark Twain, Rumors of its demise has been greatly exaggerated!
If you do not believe me, walk into a local restaurant or small venue and ask for their live music schedule. You will be surprised just how “alive” Jazz is, and will continue to be!
February 3, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Aaron Myers Announces Upcoming Fall Tour, New Album Release, And WAMMIES Nominations
Jazz aficionado, Aaron Myers, II has announced that in celebration of the successful release of his debut album “Leo Rising”, upcoming release of his sophomore album “Lion’s Den”, and recent award nominations by the Washington Area Music Association; he will be embarking on a Northeastern tour.
Aaron Myers is a native Texan who began playing the piano at the age of 3. A veteran of the United States Army, where he also Played, Sang, Directed & Composed music; Aaron went on to Navarro College, majoring in Theatre and Business, where he was the musical director with the College Gospel Choir. In May of 2013, Aaron Myers released the Video “What’s a Man to Do” from his Debut Jazz/Neo Soul Album “Leo Rising” (released nationwide July 4th 2013) to critical acclaim. In July of 2013, Aaron Myers opened the musical, “My Civil War” for the Capital Fringe Festival. Currently, Aaron Myers is the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington, DC and Minister of Music at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ.
Congratulations are in order as singer/songwriter Aaron Myers, II has garnered three prestigious Washington Area Music Awards (“WAMMIE”) nominations in the following categories:
- Best Jazz Vocalist
- Best Jazz Recording – Leo Rising
- Best Debut Recording – Leo Rising
Aaron’s sophomore album “Lion’s Den” is set to release on July 4, 2014 and he will be touring this coming fall. The following tour dates are as follows:
Washington, DC (Blues Alley)
New York, City New York
October 22, 2013
October 22, 2013 (Washington DC) – DC Jazz/NeoSoul Artist Aaron Myers, Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge and Minister of Music at Covenant Baptist UCC, has recently been considered in five categories by the Recording Academy for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. Entries are recordings submitted for GRAMMY consideration. Entries that meet all eligibility requirements are then voted on by The Academy’s voting members and the results of that vote are the nominations.
A native Texan, Myers moved to Washington after working as a field organizer on the campaign of then Senator (now President) Barack Obama. After working with the late writer Linda Grover at the Global Family Program, Myers made a pivot becoming a full time musician. Within a year’s time, he found himself playing weekend shows at then newly opened Black Fox Lounge and using his musical talents within his new found church. Four years later, he’s the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge, and you can find him every Sunday at Covenant Baptist UCC serving as Minister of Music.
In April of this year, Myers recorded the Album “Leo Rising” at the legendary Avatar Studios in New York City, releasing it on July 4th. “Some people told me that I was brave to release my Album, which is primarily Jazz/Neo Soul, the same day as Jay Z released his, but I figured …if he didn’t mind neither did I” chuckled Myers. “I’m just happy knowing that more people will now have a chance to hear my music!”
“Lockett Consulting sends a special congratulations to our client Aaron L. Myers II for being selected for consideration for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards!” states Lockett Consulting and, “We’re so proud of you” is posted proudly on the website of the Black Fox Lounge. These are two of many congratulatory announcements recognizing this achievement, with Covenant Baptist UCC alerting its members during a worship service.
The recording industry’s most prestigious award, the GRAMMY, is presented annually by The Recording Academy. A GRAMMY is awarded by The Recording Academy’s voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences. Myers summed up his experience so far by saying, “Just making it on the Grammy Ballot is awesome…and taking home the Gold would be awesome as well!”
Updates about Myers’ GRAMMY considerations and his album Leo Rising can be found on his website www.aaron2.me.
December 15, 2010
On December 17th, people will be gathering at the Black Fox Lounge at 9:30 to be apart of an exciting part of History. After birthing such Jazz Greats as Duke Ellington over one hundred years ago, and providing the inspiration for people such as Roberta Flack, DC has opened its doors to another young musician who loves and embraces what has grown to be called “America’s Music”…Jazz.
Aaron Myers, along with a Jazz Trio, will record in front of a live audience at the Black Fox Lounge in DuPont Circle. Whereas many people might have thought that Jazz was on the decline, these young people have fully embraced the music as their own, even adding new original compositions to the genre. This live recording will debut two new singles “Partisan” and “What’s a Man to Do”.
Admission is free to this event, and an overflow of people is expected. Jazz is alive and well in DC, come witness it in action!
July 11, 2010
It is with a heavy heart that I pass along information regarding one of Gospel Music’s most influential people. Dove Award and Grammy Award winning Gospel Artist Bishop Walter Hawkins died today at the age of 61 of cancer.
As more information arrives, I will update the blog.
The music of Walter Hawkins played an influential role in my life, and the life of many others. Thank GOD his music will continue to live on and inspire generations to come!
To the Fans here is a song he did many years ago! ===>>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YMF86irxeM
May 3, 2009
Sunday morning, I woke up singing a little song under my breath. Rolling out of bed, and into the bathroom, this song kept resonating with me, as my mood grew more inquisitive to knowing, “What’s the Name of that Song”. With a few things I needed to get done on the computer, I sat down, and started to surf the net. Researching, as usual, I began to bob my head, to the nameless tune, where by this time, I narrowed down I heard Frank Sinatra sing. Reaching for the spoon as I ate my yogurt, I began to audibly attempt to put some variation of words together, to complete the mystery composition…this was becoming an irritant: What’s That Song?
Suddenly I remember, “Something…Knife”, is in it somewhere. Whimsically laughing, how absurd, of course my mind would equate a nice sounding song to violence. By this time, my research effort was becoming pathetic, and I finally gave in, starting a search for the song. Unlike when I woke up, I had found myself stressed because I could not remember the stupid song (it is amazing how a refreshing song just became stupid because I could not remember its name).
When thinking of stress, I usually think of GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome) which is a human’s response to the “stressor”. In my opinion, over the last week, the political machine in America is dealing with a tell -tell sign of stress…GAS!
The first stage of “GAS” is Alarm. This alarm comes once the potential stressor is identified or recognized. With the public’s rejuvenated interest in “policy”, politicians have become more forthright with “WHY” they are not the blame for some of the nation’s problems. When questioned if his involvement with the automaker “Chrysler” this past week, and his public call for the GM Chief to step aside, was too close for comfort, President Obama defended his actions by reminding the press/public that things were not “perfect” when he came into office. The errors of his predecessors are quickly stated when introducing solutions and new policies to the American people. This is a classic sign of Alarm; seeing the American people’s reaction to the policies and procedures set forth by the Bush Administration, and his desire not entice the same reaction towards his own policies and procedures.
Resistance is the second stage of GAS. If the stressor persists, it becomes necessary to attempt some means of coping with the stress. Although the body begins a sequence that attempts to adapt to the strains or demands of the environment, the body cannot keep this up indefinitely, so its resources are gradually depleted. The Republican party this week, has shown definite signs of resistance, so much so, it lost one of its members to the other side and is poorly contesting the race in Minnesota, which is expected to go in favor of Democratic candidate Al Franken. Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele have been in a public struggle, competing for the megaphone to speak on behalf of the Republican Party, accusing Specter of flipping his former party the bird, to bidding him good riddance! The Democratic Party has been using a strategy, labeling the Republican Party as the “Party of No”, painting an ever more unlikable picture of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell while a likable picture of the President is being portrayed to the people. The effectiveness of this strategy is shown in the recent polls which reflect a high approval rating for the President, although not all that approve support his policies.
A very visible sign of stress lies in the spirit of the American People which is Exhaustion. As in relation to the body, when dealing with stress under exhaustion, all the body’s resources are eventually depleted and the body is unable to maintain normal function. With the Economic system in shambles, and the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics reporting that 9% of the population as of March 2009 is unemployed, I would say that the American people are in the most dangerous position when it comes to GAS. Being in the last stage, if extended, long term damage may become a result; and with the H1n1 present now, I think that an immediate remedy is needed to rid the US of GAS. It will take the American People holding their representatives up for scrutiny and accountability if we plan on implementing some form of “Stress Management” that can be effective enough, to start focusing on problems facing the American People that are currently jeopardizing the health and well being of the nation.
As for the song, it finally came to me. Frank Sinatra sang a great song called, “Mack the Knife”, which although is a fun moving song, tells the tale of many who fell victim to Macheath! If you ask me, there have been many victims to what some call the “Political Match Game” here in America, and when trying to figure out exactly what it is that is causing more problems than solutions, it closely resembles the art of trying to remember the name of a tune, to which you know no words, but only melody.
Regardless, I am reminded of the words stated by that great American writer that sums up our current political positions:
“Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.”
April 30, 2009
Wednesday night, I had the privilege of meeting with friends I have not seen together since the Inauguration. After working closely with each other in Southwest Florida, a bond had developed that can be shared with no one else; through our collective experience, we shared something that can only be relived in memories, and we did just that! Sitting around a small table, we relived our time in Robert E Lee County Florida, and of the many people that we met. Our time spent together was not by happenstance, but it was destiny. Where else could people from across the globe meet each other, fall in love with each other’s personality, and keep genuine concern about the each other’s well being.
Our time together was ended after the country made its decision. The bond we had built, pushing toward a common goal, was then cemented in posterity, and we then went on our separate ways. I drove back to Texas, while another boarded a plane for Switzerland. One decided to stay around an extra week to get some rest, while the last person drove back to the DC Metropolitan Area. It is a weird feeling when ones future, at times, lye in the hands of a majority vote or when a group decides to go in a different direction. Many of our lives are dependent upon the consensus of others, and we are not even aware of it.
This realization came abruptly to Kenneth Lewis, CEO at Bank of America, during a board meeting Wednesday. Mr. Lewis was removed by a majority vote from his position as Chairman of the Board, but was unanimously supported, by the board, in being kept on as CEO. With the recent downturn in the economy, his steady hand and judgment was examined by the way he handled the acquisition of Merrill Lynch. Several shareholders stood to their feet, and freely expressed their anger, disappointment, and personal loss due to the banks mismanagement by Lewis.
It appeared that the root of his alleged bad judgment call, came from his willingness to support and push for the acquisition of Merrill Lynch, after becoming aware of its current losses. Shareholders expressed, with good reason, the disclosure of this information would have weighed heavily against their support of the deal: which cost one shareholder $27,000. Mr. Lewis defended himself by stating, “It [the acquisition] was “good value” and that abandoning the deal would have caused “serious harm” to Bank of America and other banks.” According to Lewis, “as a legal matter, there was no duty” to disclose the bank’s talks with the government.” Undoubtedly, the decision is viewed as a precursor of a similar decision regarding his current position at B of A.
In this case, one can not overlook the amount of trust placed upon an Executive, System, Administrator, or Liaison to the People/Members/Boards. Time and time again, history shows that once these players lose faith in their leaders, all that was certain, in respect and protocol, becomes uncertain and shaky at best. In 1867, congress enacted the Tenure of Office act, because they suspected the President would misuse the power of his office. As predicted, he (in their eyes) abused that said power, and they proceeded with the Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. The same thing happened when TV Evangelist Jim Baker was accused with the mismanagement of funds and infidelity while overseeing the PTL Club. Jerry Falwell took over as Executive Director of the operations, and publically denounced his fellow brother in the ministry, thus ending the credibility of Jim Baker and his family.
Although the people hold their leaders accountable to certain standards, and when violated, take measures to oust them: What happens when the leaders decide that “They” must go a different direction from their employer?
You can currently watch this being played out in the interesting merger of William Morris and Endeavor. These two “Hollywood Rivals” decided on Monday to merge, creating the quintessential Hollywood Powerhouse that is already speculated to dominate the industry, while other smaller agencies cope with the Recession. With William Morris signing Grammy Award Winner Mary J Blige on Wednesday, one would think this upcoming merger would be viewed positively by all players involved. Not So!
Representing Endeavor on the other coast, Richard Abate boasts a loyal and faithful clientele, while having a clear track record of scoring his clients healthy deals. After fighting his way in court to work at Endeavor, it became apparent that the literary focus of these two powerhouse agencies was waning…at best. But, with a 114 year history, William Morris’s literary department has stronger roots and is much bigger than that of Endeavor, leaving an obvious decision for Mr. Abate to make, which was to not join his employer in the final merge as William Morris Endeavor.
Parting ways, under any circumstance, isn’t a sought after component to any relationship. When choosing professions, one weighs his options by choosing what he can see himself doing for the rest of his life. When choosing a place to live, one envisions himself content and happy there until his dying days. When reciting marriage vows, we end each solemn oath by stating “Till Death Do Us Part”. Unfortunately, with a bad economy forcing people out of their jobs, homes, and marriages, one can only hope that recovery is sweet and swift.
Perhaps, the great playwright understood all the more when he penned these famous lines:
“Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”