DrMyers’s Blog

August 26, 2014

Aaron Myers at Blues Alley, an Unforgettable Experience

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmyers @ 4:42 pm

 

 

Washington, DC August 26, 2014 –  Jazz Recording artist and local DC Musician Aaron Myers will be headlining at Blues Alley September 3rd for two sets 8pm and 10pm. This appearance will be his first performance at the nation’s finest Jazz and Supper Club.

 

“I am beyond excited about the engagement.  It is indeed an honor to perform where so many greats have performed before me” said Aaron Myers. “I do not take  for granted the opportunity that has been afforded me.  It is my sincere prayer to give it my all while on stage”

 

Myers, who began his musical career in Texas, has been a mainstay on the local jazz scene.  In 2013 he released his debut album “Leo Rising” nationally, being reviewed nationally and locally.  Currently, Myers is the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge, where he has performed over 130 shows, and plans on doing many more.

 

“To those who come out to the show, they will be in for a great treat!  Music, Comedy, and the works!” , said Myers. “I will be backed up by Mark Meadows, Herb Scott, Paul Jung, and my dear friend Percy White!  We are all good friends who respect each others talents…we’re just ready to have a good time on stage.  I am sure the people will feel that energy!”

 

For concert and ticket information, contact Blues Alley at (202) 337-4141 or at the website http://www.bluesalley.com.

 

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– See more at: http://www.aaron2.me

 

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August 12, 2014

Depression is Real

Robin-WilliamsDepression is real.  As an artist, I live with it every day, and the operative word is “live.”  It is not easy, and at times it seems as if I have no problems with the  struggle.  There are times when I feel on top of the world…for a moment.  Then a tunnel surrounds me blocking out any affection or caring word I’ve ever heard from anyone else in my life.  It becomes me at my most isolated, not selfish, state where although people are surrounding me, they have been blocked from my vision.  

 

I remember hitting the bottom.  It was during lunch hour on a Thursday.  Homesick, pressured by the feeling of being inadequate, financial pressures and an overwhelming sense of anxiety had pushed me to my breaking point.  As I wondered on foot in downtown LA, I walked across an overpass and stopped at its peak.  I walked to the edge and grabbed the rail with my hands and watched hundreds of cars pass below.  I stood their frozen.

 

A short period of discomfort followed by an eternal rest seemed more appealing than the inner turmoil I was experiencing, moreover it was becoming like the right answer.  The sound of each car that passed below seemed to lull me deeper and deeper into a dark inner tunnel where death appeared to be the only solution.

 

 Hearing people passing behind me did not distract me and no one seemed to stop.  Maybe to them I did not appear to pose any danger, which as an entertainer, I was, and am, use to.  Making people smile and feel at ease while one is dying inside becomes a habit, and even a type of medication.  When I, and other artists, am on stage everything is ok.  There is no drug on the market that can compare to the gratifying feeling of a loving audience.  The show ends, people leave, they cut off the lights, and the artist is left alone.

 

As I became conscious of my breath, I felt the wind and began to smell the exhaust of the cars and slowly backed away from the edge.  I was lucky, but there are others who are not.
The death of Robin Williams, just as the death of others also involved in the arts, resonates with me in a personal way.  It takes a special person to channel all of the good in oneself to cheer or brighten someone else’s day while inside it seems like things are crumbling.  He was an inspiration to me and will continue to inspire many more to come.
Depression is not a “state of mind’ or a temporary “feeling”, it is an ever present disease.  If you, or someone you know, are coping with depression, seek help, encourage them to seek help, and do all you can to send as much positive energy  and prayers their way.
Again, I was lucky that time.  I am aware that there maybe a time in the future where I may not be so lucky.  That awareness is the daily burden I, and others in my position, carry.  Depression is real.

 

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

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