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Amina Claudine Myers
*Amina Claudine Myers was born on this date in 1942. She is a Black jazz pianist, organist, vocalist, composer, and arranger.
Born in Blackwell, Arkansas, 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 took piano lessons around the age of four, and when she was seven, her family moved to Roosevelt, Texas, a black community outside Dallas. Myers took piano and violin lessons. 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. After graduation, she moved in 1963 to Chicago, where she taught music at an elementary school. Myers also attended classes at Roosevelt University and worked with musicians such as Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons.
Her first serious work was “I Dream,” a set of songs for choir and band. In the late 1960s, Myers added "Amina" to her name. She was one of the performers at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians' second concert.
In 1976, Myers relocated to New York City, where she intensified her compositional work and expanded it into Off-Broadway productions. Myers 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 2016, playing at the Community Church, she sang a tired, disillusioned, defiant original; they were “Ain’t nobody ever gonna hear us/Ain’t nobody hearing us now,” not “Ain’t nobody ever gonna hear nobody hearing us now.”