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Take Five With Steve Myerson

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My music provides a feeling of uplifted spirits, storytelling, and general well-being.
Meet Steve Myerson:
Steve Myerson has performed, recorded, and/or toured with The Stylistics, Christian McBride
Christian McBride
Christian McBride
b.1972
bass
, Frank Lacy
Frank Lacy
Frank Lacy
b.1959
trombone
of The Jazz Messengers, Gianni Russo, Grover Washington, Jr.
Grover Washington, Jr.
Grover Washington, Jr.
1943 - 1999
saxophone
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.

Instrument(s):
Piano.

Teachers and/or influences?
Bill Charlap
Bill Charlap
Bill Charlap
b.1966
piano
, Andy LaVerne
Andy LaVerne
Andy LaVerne
b.1947
piano
, Mike Longo
Mike Longo
Mike Longo
b.1939
piano
, Trudy Pitts
Trudy Pitts
Trudy Pitts
1932 - 2010
organ, Hammond B3
, Jim Ridl
Jim Ridl
Jim Ridl

piano
, Brian Trainor, Dr. Min Kim, James Williams
James Williams
James Williams
1951 - 2004
piano
, Harold Mabern
Harold Mabern
Harold Mabern
b.1936
piano
, Geoffrey Keezer
Geoffrey Keezer
Geoffrey Keezer
b.1970
keyboard
.

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 away—just by listening—how 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
Phineas Newborn
Phineas Newborn
1931 - 1989
piano
. I am highly influenced by the great sound of the Memphis jazz tradition, which includes Phineas Newborn, Harold Mabern, James Williams, Donald Brown
Donald Brown
b.1954
, Sir Charles Thompson
Sir Charles Thompson
Sir Charles Thompson
b.1918
piano
, and honorary Memphisian Geoffrey Keezer. I also approach the music with intent to learn and study the masters before me including—but not limited to—Art Tatum
Art Tatum
Art Tatum
1909 - 1956
piano
, Bud Powell
Bud Powell
Bud Powell
1924 - 1966
piano
, Ray Bryant
Ray Bryant
Ray Bryant
1931 - 2011
piano
, Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
1925 - 2007
piano
, Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
b.1943
piano
, Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
, Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, Hank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
, 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
Benny Golson
Benny Golson
b.1929
sax, tenor
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!

Favorite venue:
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
Nathan Eklund
Nathan Eklund
b.1978
trumpet
'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).

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