Take Five With Steve Myerson
“ My music provides a feeling of uplifted spirits, storytelling, and general well-being. ”
Steve Myerson has performed, recorded, and/or toured with The Stylistics, Christian McBride, Frank Lacy of The Jazz Messengers, Gianni Russo, Grover Washington, Jr. Sony Grosso, and worked as a Program Manager for Jazz House Kids. Myerson's film credits including arranging music and performing for the film Brooklyn Lobster, which stars Danny Aiello and Jane Curtin, Comcast commercials, and Mars Candy.
Myerson is currently the pianist for NJ Soul & Jazz Review, Deftet Jazz Trio, and performs with local and national artists while maintain a full private teaching studio at the Lindebalad School of Music in Pine Brook, NJ.
Teachers and/or influences?
Bill Charlap, Andy LaVerne, Mike Longo, Trudy Pitts, Jim Ridl, Brian Trainor, Dr. Min Kim, James Williams, Harold Mabern, Geoffrey Keezer.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I first sat down at the piano at nine years old. My parents brought home this Betsy Ross Spinet and I knew right awayjust by listeninghow it worked. I couldn't wait to take piano lessons and learn how to play. I knew right away that I wanted to spend the rest of my life behind this instrument.
Your sound and approach to music:
I approach improvising with the tradition of jazz in mind and the keyboard with the same training and practice as a classical pianist. But my approach stems more from the jazz tradition of Phineas Newborn. I am highly influenced by the great sound of the Memphis jazz tradition, which includes Phineas Newborn, Harold Mabern, James Williams, Donald Brown, Sir Charles Thompson, and honorary Memphisian Geoffrey Keezer. I also approach the music with intent to learn and study the masters before me includingbut not limited toArt Tatum, Bud Powell, Ray Bryant, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Barron, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Hank Jones, and a host of others.
Your teaching approach:
I have been teaching since I was a student. That is actually the core of my philosophy, which is "A good teacher is also a good student." I take a unique approach to learning piano through a mix of traditional and non-traditional methods merging classical studies with jazz improvisation. A lesson covers the piano basics using courses from the popular Faber and Alfred method books, but from the books we draw out music theory and improvisation in order to keep the lesson engaging while challenging enthusiastic students.
My teaching methods including ear training, note reading, rhythm, music theory, improvisation, and song composition. The goal of teaching is to cater to the individual goals of the student while exposing them to many new musical possibilities.
Your dream band:
I would love to work with Benny Golson and any of the living The Jazz Messengers.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
I was in Japan while touring with The Stylistics. During a day off from playing, I decided to go explore and wander the city of Tokyo. It was an amazing four-hour experience until I got lost! Imagine being in a place where no one speaks your language! People who I thought might be American only spoke Japanese and all the signs are in Japanese! Finally, I ran into an Australian in a record store and he kindly recited me back to my hotel. I don't even know how I ended up in the record store, but they had the most amazing jazz records that were not available in the United States!
Cecil's Jazz Club. RIP
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
In Your Absence (Jazz Excursion, 2009).
I am new to the scene, and have only one solo recording out. The other recordings I've been a part of are Gianni Russo (The Godfather) "Live at Feinstein's," Nathan Eklund's Coin Flip (OA2, 2010), and a movie soundtrack I did called Brooklyn Lobster, which starred Danny Aiello and Jane Curtin.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
Thelonius Monk, Underground (Columbia, 1968)
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
My contribution so far is to continue to honor the Memphis Jazz Piano legacy of Phineas Newborn Jr.
Did you know...
I love to cook. I am half Puerto Rican (mom's side) and other half is Romanian (dad's side).
CDs you are listening to now:
Geoffrey Keezer, Heart of the Piano (Motema, 2013);
Donald Brown, Born to be Blue (Space Time Records, 2013).