Saturday, October 25, 2008

Amina Claudine Myers

Across three decades I've been listening to the music of Amina Claudine Myers without ever having had an opportunity to see her in concert.

I first heard her in the company of her many brilliant colleagues in Chicago's AACM -- particularly pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams.

From the outset, though, Myers was an accomplished composer and performer in her own right. Among the many albums of her work in my collection are Jumping in the Sugar Bowl, The Circle of Time, Song for Mother E, Amina Claudine Myers Salutes Bessie Smith and my favorite (surprise), Poems for Piano. Many of these collections are still available on CD, and you can check this Amazon page for information about them.

Myers has a MySpace page here.

This past Friday night, Myers performed on the campus of Penn State University, with Ronnie Burrage on drums and RaDu Williams on bass. The trio was joined on stage at several points during the concert by student musicians from the Essence of Joy Choir and the Centre Dimensions Band.

The audience was small (I didn't see much publicity beyond an announcement in the student newspaper), but many came equipped with video cameras and all were intent on the music.

The concert kicked off with "Jumping in the Sugar Bowl," a signature tune for Myers that has its roots in the game she played with her childhood friends in Arkansas. The evening closed with a rousing jam built on top of an election-season social comment.

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