Amina Claudine Myers
|Amina Claudine Myers|
March 21, 1942|
Blackwell, Arkansas, United States
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, arranger|
Born in Blackwell, Arkansas (a small community on US 64 in western Conway County), Myers started singing and playing the piano and organ as a child in church choirs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas, where she grew up, and directed choirs at an early age. "Myers was brought up largely by her great-aunt, a schoolteacher, and her great-uncle, a carpenter by trade who played the clarinet, piano, and flute". She "started taking piano lessons around the age of four, and when she was seven, her family moved to Roosevelt, a black community outside Dallas. Myers took piano and violin lessons, but eventually, partly for financial reasons, settled on the piano, taking weekly lessons of fifteen minutes each." She began to learn some European classical music at high school, but this was interrupted when she and the family moved back to Blackwell.
Myers majored in music education at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. In her second year, she was invited to play at The Safari Room in Memphis, Tennessee. This engagement, however, was very brief, as her musical repertoire was too limited. After graduation, she moved to Chicago in 1963, where she taught music at an elementary school. She also attended classes at Roosevelt University and worked with musicians such as Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons. In 1966 she joined the AACM in Chicago, focusing on vocal compositions and arrangements. She was one of the performers at the AACM's second concert. She recorded her first jazz album with Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre in 1969. In the late 1960s, Myers added "Amina" to her name.
In 1976 Myers relocated to New York City, where she intensified her compositional work and expanded it into the realm of Off-Broadway productions. She also continued performing and recording as a pianist and organist. Around 1978 she began touring in Europe with the Lester Bowie Quintet and his New York Organ Ensemble. In 1985 she joined Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra.
Notable collaborations also include recordings with Bill Laswell, Marian McPartland, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Archie Shepp, David Murray, Arthur Blythe, Frank Lowe, Leroy Jenkins, Jim Pepper and Ray Anderson.
- Poems for Piano: The Piano Music of Marion Brown (Sweet Earth, 1979)
- Song for Mother E with Pheeroan akLaff (Leo, 1980)
- Salutes Bessie Smith (Leo, 1980)
- The Circle of Time (Black Saint, 1983)
- Jumping in the Sugar Bowl (Minor Music, 1984)
- Country Girl (Minor Music, 1986)
- Amina (RCA Novus, 1987)
- In Touch (RCA Novus, 1989)
- Women In (E)Motion Festival (Tradition & Moderne, recorded 1988 released 2004)
With Muhal Richard Abrams
With the Art Ensemble of Chicago
- Salutes the Chicago Blues Tradition (AECO, 1993)
With Arthur Blythe
- Blythe Spirit (Columbia, 1981)
With Lester Bowie
- African Children (Horo, 1978)
- The Fifth Power (Black Saint, 1978)
- The Organizer (DIW, 1991)
- Funky T. Cool T. (DIW, 1991)
With Frank Lowe
- Exotic Heartbreak (Soul Note, 1981)
With Greg Osby
- Season of Renewal (JMT, 1990)
With Jim Pepper
- Afro Indian Blues (recorded 1991, released 2006)
- South Delta Space Age (Antilles, 1995)
With Henry Threadgill
With James Blood Ulmer
- Blue Blood (2000)
- Lewis, George E. (2008). A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. University of Chicago Press.