Bob Myers

Item

Title

Bob Myers

Description

Bob Myers describes his experience with jazz music. Born in Queens, his encounter with jazz music began in early childhood when his grandmother, a piano teacher, would play the music of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. He attributes his initial enthusiasm to the album covers of popular performers at the time, such as Creed Taylor, Blue Note, Miles Davis. As a college student at Syracuse University, he would acquire the albums for their artistic covers without much regard for the actual records, but he remembers some of the popular artists he listed to at the time were Art Blakey, GiGi Gryce, Freddie Hubbard, and Cedar Walton.

Myers lived in different areas of Brooklyn, but identifies Crown Heights as the most memorable neighborhood. In particular, Crown Heights had important jazz sites with many clubs and performers, all along Nostrand Avenue toward Fulton. Myers notes that the Blue Coronet was a Mecca for musicians; while a small luncheonette on Nostrand and Fulton called Bixfords was a prime location for informal gatherings. Reggie Workman created The Muse, which served as an important site for education in jazz music. Myers describes The Muse’s importance and gives details regarding the site’s creation.

Myers discusses the changes in the Crown Height’s neighborhood after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He remembers that in 1968, the area was in transition as clubs began to close down; soldiers returned from Vietnam; and drug use in the community increased. He also notes that there was a transition to hard bop music, due to the influence of Max Roach, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie.

In 1995, Myers opened his own club, called Up Over Jazz Club, which operated until 2004. In creating the club, Myers was trying to create the original jazz scene he remembers by reaching out to the musicians and bartenders who staffed the clubs from earlier periods. He talks at length about his initial stages in creating the club, its operation, management, music policy, and performers. Myers mentions that he took inspiration from a club called Bradley’s in Manhattan. Up Over Jazz served as a haven for young musicians, such as Robert Glasper. In the ongoing Q & A regarding his club, Myers talks about the kind of audience he would have, programming, lessons learned about running a business, and ideas for how to create a successful jazz site.

Myers discusses the differences between Brooklyn and Manhattan as neighborhoods and, in particular, jazz sites. Myers calls Brooklyn a “bedroom community” but notes the efforts of the community and the borough president, Marty Markowitz, in making Brooklyn a destination with festivals like the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival.
Myers’ oral history concludes with a detailed discussion of his work with the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium, starting with 1998. He talks about the organization’s upcoming festivals, their relationship with the Black Renaissance, and the level of community, church, and legislative support it has received over the years.

Contributor

Coverage

[1960s, 1990s]

Creator

Date

April 7, 2018

Identifier

2010.05.02

Language

English

Publisher

Subject

interviewer

interviewee

Location

Duration

58 minutes, 40 seconds

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