DrMyers’s Blog

August 9, 2014

Jazz is Here to Stay

This blog was written in response to the opinion editorial “All that jazz isn’t all that great” written by Justin Moyer.

 

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.

  1.  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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhLdBFGCkl4

         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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecyHa_lktnI

        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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o2RS8WfcbY

        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!

 

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~Aaron Myers

Resident Artist

Black Fox Lounge

Washington DC

http://www.aaron2.me

@aaronmyers

February 21, 2014

Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Endorses DC Mayoral Candidate Andy Shallal

ImageDear Friends,
 

Washington DC is now moving towards a Democratic Primary which will determine who the Democratic Party will put forward to stand in the DC Mayoral Race.  After carefully listening and observing all of the candidates, I today offer my full endorsement to Andy Shallal.

 
The passion he has in working to offer affordable housing to those citizens who depend on it for their survival, a fair living wage, and addressing the plight of returning citizens, are just a few serious conversations coupled with action Washington DC needs right now.  
 
Seeing how he has moved his businesses into undeserved neighborhoods, listening to the residents in the neighborhood and offering his establishments as meeting places for those residents to express concerns, rally support for their causes and needs, and even being a hub for the entrepreneurs has helped revitalize these neighborhoods.       
 
Andy Shallal is offering renewed hope in the integrity we can expect from our elected officials, and I look forward to calling him the next Mayor of Washington DC.  
 
I ask all of you to consider Andy Shallal when casting your ballot.

If you are in DC, and would like to know more about Andy Shallal, I ask that you watch this VIDEO.

Join me as I host a “Meet the Candidate” fundraiser for Andy Sunday March 2nd @ 7:30pm at my home, 2101 16th Street NW, Washington DC.  

Thank You,
 
Aaron Myers    

October 22, 2013

Aaron Myers Considered for GRAMMY!

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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.

May 2, 2013

D.C. Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Announces Engagement of New Management and Video Director

Image

Michael Silas

Image

WeSupportMusic.com

PRLog (Press Release) – May 2, 2013 – WASHINGTON, D.C. — [Washington D.C.]  This Friday evening, May 3rd, at the Black Fox Lounge in downtown D.C., Aaron Myers is expected to announce the recent hiring of two new members to his promotion and production team.  In an effort to fully ensure that his upcoming album release“Leo Rising” due for release on June 7th, is all that it can be.  Details of the new record will also be presented at this performance.

Aaron will announce that he has brought on famed choreographer/dancer Michael Silas as the director for his official video “My Funny Valentine.”  Currently residing in Los Angeles, this is Michael’s debut at directing although he has quite an impressive history in the business.  Chosen as one of Lady Gaga’s original male dancers; gaining the Haus name “Mikey Mugler” –  Michael accompanied her on a rise to superstardom.  Silas also performed in both her jaw dropping “Paparazzi” MTV Music Awards performance, Fame Ball, the Fame Monster and Emmy Award winning Monster Ball world tours.  Some of Mr. Silas’s other achievements include the X Factor & The Braxton’s, Kelly Rowland, Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, and more. Michael is also known for his favorite quote by Martha Graham; “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”

And what is Aaron Myers feeling on the engagement of Mr. Silas; “Michael is a friend, and believed enough in “Leo Rising” to take this step of faith with me!  I am honored, humbled, and super excited about what’s to come!”

 Aaron will further announce the engagement of the independent music industry executive Lafond Wright, the CEO of the social media/online radio giant, and artist management firm WeSupportMusic.com.  Mr. Wright and his company will oversee the personal management of Aaron’s career and assist with the marketing of his social media and Internet radio initiatives. Wesupportmusic.com features internet radio shows, videos and articles covering all genres of popular music, and the cultures that surround them.  Aaron will be the featured artist on the management company’s roster.  To quote Mr. Wright; “We believe that independent artists are the very lifeblood of music, and artists should be celebrated for their creativity and their talents and not judged by their age, their looks, their gender, or their beliefs.”

This Friday night May 3rd will most assuredly be a very exciting performance for Aaron.  As the resident artist at The Black Fox Lounge, his performances always fill the house to the max.  But with the official announcement of his debut record release “Leo Rising” on June 7th, and the additions to his production and promotion team, this is one you must attend.

The Black Fox Lounge is located at 1723 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20009
PH: (202) 483-1723 — 
Web: http://www.blackfoxlounge.com
Aaron’s performance begins at 9:30pm. 

For more on Aaron Myers visit his official website at www.aaron2.me

April 18, 2013

Washington D.C. Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Dedicates Show to the Victims of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Image

Aaron Myers

Apr. 17, 2013 – WASHINGTON, D.C. — [Washington DC]  It’s one of Aaron Myers regular shows at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC.   But on this Friday evening, April 19th, at 9:30 PM, Aaron will take the stage of the Black Fox with a theme; “Music Still Heals.”  

He will be dedicating the show to the victims of Tuesday’s tragic bombing in Boston that took the lives of 3 innocent bystanders at the Boston Marathon, and injured countless others.

Aaron recalls Boston’s Motto; “As God was with Our Fathers, So May He be with Us”

The show attendees, along with Aaron in its dedication will be sending well wishes and cards to the city of Boston.  Stop by the Black Fox Lounge on Friday evening to show your support for the victims and the devastated city of Boston.

Aaron Myers is currently the resident artist at the “Black Fox Lounge” in Washington DC, on the first and third Fridays of each month.   Look for Aaron on NBC channel 4 in DC, where he will be the featured accompanist for the show, “Be a Voice VIP” contest’.  The show airs on June 1st. 

Aaron Myers website can be found at http://www.aaron2.me

January 26, 2011

DuPont Circle Snow Ball Fight and the Black Fox Lounge

Tonight at 8pm, Washington DC will be awaiting the start of what has grown to become a tradition in the District.  With the snow still falling, members of the community will gather in the historic Dupont Circle, and kick off a massive Snow Ball Fight!  Many can remember the hoards of people who joined in with the fun last year with the massive amount of snow that was available.  Come ready to rumble! There is also rumored to be scores to settle from last year between Georgetown and St. Johns!  Regardless of, it promises to be a FUN TIME!

After the Snowball Fight, many people will be heading over to the Black Fox Lounge for Complimentary Chicken Soup to warm up after what will promise to be a fun but chilling experience.  Warming up at the Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave NW www.blackfoxlounge.com) serves two purposes.  1st – To warm up after being covered in snow and 2nd – to dodge the massive wait for the metro!  Plus…it’s Complimentary *Free!  Things you should remember: Socks CAN substitute as gloves, but make sure they’re clean; Don’t trust anyone…it’s anyone’s ball game out there; If you get too cold, beat everyone else to the chicken soup at the Black Fox Lounge!

 

December 29, 2010

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble…on Twitter! Raz B Vs Chris Brown

Twitter users got a Tuesday evening ring side view of a live Twitter Rumble between R&B Artists Chris Brown and Raz B.   As Chris Brown was commenting on the children who would undoubtedly get a laugh at seeing him ice skate, Raz B was sending out some love to Rihanna (former girlfriend of Chris Brown).  One tweet merged their two timelines that undoubtedly got the rumble started!

Skype me RazB2K 

@razb2kSkype me RazB2K
Im just sittin here Thinking how can niggas like @ebenet & @ChrisBrowndisrespect women as Intelligent as @HalleBerry11 @Rihanna
After this tweet, the Rumble was on!!  Raz B apparently was commenting not on the ladies break up from Eric Benet and Chris Brown, but the reasons motivating the break-ups, which sparked retaliation from the Chris Brown Camp!
Chris Brown  

@chrisbrownChris Brown
@razb2k nigga you want attention! Grow up nigga!!! Dick in da booty ass lil boy
In Chris Brown’s tweet, he decided not only to retaliate, but decided to comment on an ongoing situation between Raz B, and former manager/band mates regarding homosexual activities, all of which has been in the urban media and has even involved the police.  These two tweets have sparked the following remarks from both artists, such as: To quote Raz B –  “yo @chrisbrown i heard about all yo BoyFriends & tell yo cheerleader @1omarion 2 shut the fuck up b4 i send J BOOG 2 fuck HIS MaMa again” – and a remark from Chris Brown: – “@razb2k… you didnt get raped??? so that means you liked it..#EPICFAIL“.
Both young men have “entertained” many twitter users with their banter, but both have displayed the lack of maturity that comes along with a public platform.  With millions of  people suffering the long term effects of Domestic Violence and with some reports indicaticating that 30% of all teen suicides are those who are members of the LGBT Communities, today’s “Twitter Rumble” has done nothing but shed negative light upon the issues of Domestic Violence and Homosexuality.   Has twitter offered a social platform that can at times shed light into the inner thinking of an account holder, and if so, are the tweets we read today by both artists, how they really feel about members of the LGBT Community or those who have sufferd with the aftermath of Domestic Violence? 

One person mentioned in the original Tweet by Raz B has not entered this rumble, and one would think that age and maturity may be the reason why.  While these to young artists were going at it, Eric Benet had only this to say

Eric Benet 

@ebenetEric Benet
Sold out theater in DC lst night..bout to give ‘em the same love in Cleveland 2nite ! God is Good.and I am grateful ! Thnx to all of you!
Maybe, it’s best to say nothing…when you have nothing productive to say!

December 24, 2010

Karrine Steffans – McCrary battles Facebook Impostor!

For the last five years, the public has had an inside look at the world of Hip-Hop through the eyes of the beautiful women who model in Print Magazines and Music Videos.  Karrine Steffans- McCrary opened up to the world not only her expereince of being a “Video Vixen” but she capitolized on the very industry that she exposd for shaming, abusing and also exploiting women who, in many cases, were looking for their “Break” in the entertainment industry. Despite critisicm from some members of the Hip-Hop Community, Steffans has excelled as a best-selling author, host, producer, and creative director, taking what could have destroyed most, and using it to inspire other women of her generation.

Having displayed the strength of a Prize Fighter, she might be up for a very interesting fight that has plagued many others in the entertainment community.  Today she is reaching out to her Facebook Fan Base and requesting that they go through her website http://www.karrine.com to access her facebook page and NOT an Imposters Page (Listed under Karrine Steffans only, not her full name).

“ALERT: if any of you are following another account, claiming to be mine, it is not. Please stop following fake accounts and let everyone know the account is not real, which should be obvious since this is the only account linked from my website. Thanks.”

Hopefully all of this will pass over pretty soon, but this would be a great time for all of us to double check out Facebook Friends, and to perhaps hope no one is posing as us too!

July 22, 2010

Flying Cars are HERE!! Terrafugia is leading the way…with spinners!

I remember growing up and watching cartoons in the mornings, and my whole family knew I liked 3 cartoons in particular!  The first was “The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show” with the character “Foghorn-Leghorn” as my favorite character (he ran a close second to Yosimite Sam!).  Second was “The Flinstones”…and Fred Flinstone was the prime reason I experineced my first “Time-Out” in Kindergarden.  But my ultimate favorite was “The Jetsons”!  Not only did I have a crush on Judy Jetson…but I just new that when I grew up…I would have a flying car and a boss that was short and mean (the latter has already happened!)

Today, my childhood dream is becoming a reality, and in 20 years the work Terrafugia is doing today will dominate the flyways all across the world.  Terrafugia, based in Massetustses, has developed a car that can also spread wings and fly in the air.  While you can’t buy one immediately…start saving your money now; because in 2011, around $200,000 could buy you a brand spanking new car that can either get you up down the highway, or the flyway! 

Founded by award-winning MIT-trained aeronautical engineers and MBA’s – who also happen to be passionate private pilots  in 2006; the company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions to the challenges facing personal aviation.

What many may not realize is that Terrafugia is not all “Techie” and no “Style”.  If you notice around second 19

 or 20 of the video, in their test flight 1146, as the car takes to the air…the rims start to do this funky move.  Now it takes a trained eye to understand what’s really happening here!  What you have is the FIRST COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE CAR…THAT CAN FLY…has SPINNERS!!!! 

What are spinners?  A spinner is a type of hubcapthat spins independently inside of a wheel itself when the vehicle is in motion, and continues to spin once the vehicle has come to a stop. Being an attachment to the car’s wheel, spinners operate by using one or more roller bearings to isolate the spinner from the wheel, allowing it to turn while the wheel is at rest. The spinner’s own momentum helps it overcome what little fricton iis transmitted through the bearing. When the car is in motion, the small amount of friction transmitted through the bearing sets the spinner in motion.

As we really move into the 21st century, and flying cars become a reality…who would have thought that spinners would play a role in our advancement!  Who knows…maybe they can throw in some “Hydraulics” and make it a package deal!

George Jetson ~ “We wouldn’t last on unemployment checks, a 1000 a week doesn’t stretch very far these days.”

May 5, 2009

Dallas Texas and the Penal System – What do they have in Common?!

 

Big Tex

Big Tex

Dallas Texas can boast about many, many things.  It is the ninth largest city in the United States, and the third largest city in Texas.  Dallas is the core, of the largest inland metropolitan area in the United States that lacks any navigable link to the sea, and is the home base for retail store Neiman Marcus.  In terms of voting patterns, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the third most liberal of the Texas metropolitan areas (outside of Austin and El Paso).  The Super Bowl winning Cowboys call Dallas their home, as well as many other sports teams.  

 

Approximately 1.3 million people call Dallas home, and I must ask; what else could you do with 1.3 million people.  The country of Trinidad and Tobago has a population of about 1.3 million.  The truth is, with 1.3 million people, Dallas has a larger population than 68 other countries in the World.  It is quite impressive to see 1.3 million people, building sky scrapers, growing businesses, creating parks, and contributing to art.  With these facts, it is hard to imagine that there is another population, right here in America that is larger than the population of Dallas Texas, and shows no signs of diminishing.

As of June 30, 2007, a population of 2,299,116 would call a prison or jail home.  This number has tripled since the early eighties, bringing money to the pockets of contractors and those who have interests or equity in the existence of prisons. While failing to upgrade and re-evaluate the effectiveness of our rehabilitation process, approximately 500,000 youth are taken to detention centers, and the door appears to be revolving.  This number can continue to decrease, or increase, dependent upon how congress and this administration choose to deal with:  Same-Sex Marriage (with currently 55.7% of American’s 18 and older married, marriage between heterosexuals is on a continual downward spiral.  Affording marriage rights to Same Sex Couples could give displaced children, who are at high statistical risk for entering the penal system, a potential home, which may help decrease the number of juvenile crimes and arrests), Revamping No Child Left Behind ( A 2008 study from the Department of Education, “Reading First Impact Study: Interim Report,” concluded that the Reading First Program, a major billion dollar a year No Child Left Behind effort, had proven “ineffective.”), Medicaid (Medicaid provides health coverage and services to approximately 49 million low-income children, pregnant women, elderly persons, and disabled individuals.  Under the new federal rule, states are now allowed to charge premiums and higher co-payments to Medicaid participants.  At this time, there is no way to determine how juveniles will be impacted by this rule, thus no way to predict how this will impact the number of juvenile arrests.)

A more disturbing figure, impacts the minority sector of the United States.  The lack of male role models is often depicted in mainstream media outlets, when trying to replicate a typical minority family setting, function, or event.  This reflection is accurate within the African American Community. About 10.4% of all black males in the United States between the ages of 25 and 29 were sentenced and in prison in 2002.  If these men were arrested as a part of a “non-violent related” crime, they will be introduced to gang-violence (usually for protection) while incarcerated, and will have a higher rate of returning for a more aggressive charge.

Where and when does this stop?

Reformation of the current penal system has not been addressed by this current administration.  As stated on the White House Website concerning Criminal Justice Reform:

“The President will lead the fight to build a more fair and equitable criminal justice system. He will seek to strengthen federal hate crime legislation and will work to ensure that federal law enforcement agencies do not resort to racial profiling. He supports funding for drug courts, giving first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, if appropriate, in drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than prison terms in changing behavior. President Obama will also improve ex-offender employment and job retention strategies, substance abuse treatment, and mental health counseling so ex-offenders can successfully re-join society.”

The administration has not addressed a plan or the need, for procedural techniques in regards to how the rehabilitation process can be more effective to prisoners while incarcerated.  The lack of proper rehabilitation results from detention centers can be attributed to over crowdedness.  For an example (as reported by Don Thompson in his book “Prison Attacks Calling Attention to Overcrowding”) California’s 33 prisons have a total capacity of 100,000, but they hold 170,000 inmates.  Overcrowding can also be found in another place some juvenile prisoners may find familiar…the schools system (which could be another reason why Fort Worth had to take major precautions with the Swine Flu Outbreak).  

Regardless of politics, the next 4 years must produce solutions for the youth of this country.  With the Republican Party trying to “re-invent themselves” instead of going to their districts and observing the needs of their constituents, and with the Democratic Party brainstorming ways to hold on to a slim majority in the Senate and State Houses; One in every 31 American adults find themselves in the penal system, whether it is in prison, on parole or serving probation.  Something has to change!

Perhaps these words from Sitting Bull, could give insight to what we are dealing with even now:

 

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull

 

 

Each man is good in His sight. It is not necessary for eagles to be crows. 

Sitting Bull

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