Amina Claudine Myers

Pianist, Organist, Vocalist, Composer, Arranger, Educator
Headshot of a woman

Photo by Crystal Blake


From her early beginnings as a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Amina Claudine Myers has gained acclaim as a skilled composer for voice and instruments, often displaying her gospel influences. Her move to New York City in the 1970s led her to prioritize her compositional work and to take on theatrical production projects.  

Myers was born in Blackwell, Arkansas, and was brought up primarily by her great aunt and her great uncle. She started taking piano lessons at the age of six and, when she was seven, her family moved to a Black community in Dallas, Texas, where Myers continued her lessons. The family moved back to Blackwell in 1957 and, soon after, Myers formed a gospel group that toured the local circuit. The recipient of several college scholarships, she majored in music education at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. During this time, she played in the music department jazz band, became student director for the choir, and taught herself to play the organ.

After graduation, Myers moved to Chicago, where she taught music at an elementary school for six years. She became a member of AACM in 1966 and was one of the performers at the AACM’s second concert. In the late 1960s, she added “Amina” to her name.

As an AACM member, Myers started composing for voice and instruments. Her original compositions incorporated traditional influences, including blues, gospel, and jazz. In 1975, she organized her first voice choir for her musical called “I Dream,” which was first presented in Chicago. After moving to New York City, she premiered her work "Improvisational Suite for Chorus, Pipe Organ and Percussion"(with an ensemble of nineteen: sixteen voices, two percussionists, and Myers on pipe organ) at St. Peter's Lutheran Church and "When the Berries Fell," consisting of eight voices, electric organ, piano, and two percussionists, at Manhattan Community College.

In New York she wrote for theater, composing music for a number of Off-Broadway productions and even acting in some. She was the assistant musical director for Ain’t Misbehavin’ prior to its Broadway production. She expanded her palette and has created works for dance and for chamber orchestra and chorus as well as works in collaboration with the Chinese composer and vocalist Sola Lui.

She has also continued working in the jazz realm, recording and performing with many great jazz artists, including notable tours with Lester Bowie, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra, and Archie Shepp. She has performed throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North America, and also held residencies and conducted workshops at colleges and universities nationally and internationally.

Myers has received many grants and awards, including the 2021 Living Legacy Award from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and New York Foundation for the Arts. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 2010. She resides and teaches privately in New York City.

Select Discography

Poems for Piano: The Piano Music of Marion Brown, Sweet Earth, 1979
Muhal Richard Abrams, Duet, Black Saint, 1981
Women in (E)Motion Festival, Tradition & Moderne, 1988
Augmented Variations, Amina C Records, 2005-2008
Sama Rou: Songs from My Soul, Amina C Records, 2016


Being selected as a 2024 NEA Jazz Master is a wonderful surprise and a great honor in my career as a musician. I am thoroughly surprised and ever grateful to be included amongst great artists that have come before me. This award has shown me that my music has touched people in a positive, spiritual, and loving way. I am inspired much more, and for that I am thankful.


A musical podcast with pianist, organist, vocalist, composer, and 2024 Jazz Master Amina Claudine Myers exploring her life in music from gospel to jazz.

Music Credits:  

“NY”, composed and performed by Kosta T, from the cd  Soul Sand, used courtesy of the Free Music Archive.

“Soul Funk No.1” written by Amina Claudine Myers and performed by the Amina Claudine Myers Trio with  Oluwu Ben Judah and Reggie Nicholson from the album, Augmented Variations.

"Dance from the East." Written by Amina Claudine Myers and performed by Amina Claudine Myers and Muhal Richard Abrams from the album Duets.

“Do You Wanna Be Saved” performed by Amina Claudine Myers and Generation 4 live at the 2019 BRIC JazzFest.

“African Blues” and “Steal Away” performed live in her home during my interview with Amina Claudine Myers.

Jo Reed: From the National Endowment for the Arts, this is Art Works, I’m Josephine Reed.

 You’re listening to the music of pianist, organist, vocalist, composer, arranger,  educator and 2024 NEA Jazz Master Amina Claudine Myers. Her contributions to jazz, gospel, and blues have not only crossed genres but have also bridged continents. Myers' journey through music has been a testament to her creativity, resilience, and profound influence on the genres she touches. From her early days in the church to her transformative years in Chicago with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)  to her groundbreaking compositions and collaborations with musicians like Muhal Richard Abrams, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Archie Shepp and Sola Liu, Amina Claudine Myers has shaped a path that's uniquely hers, marked by innovation and a deep reverence for the roots of American music. Her unique blend of jazz with gospel and blues sensibilities has resulted in a body of work that is both deeply personal and universally resonant. I was lucky enough to speak with Amina Claudine Myers shortly after she was named an NEA Jazz Master—Here’s our conversation 

Jo Reed:  Amina, first of all, congratulations on being named an NEA Jazz Master. 

Amina Claudine Myers:  Thank you.

Jo Reed:  Many congratulations. 

Amina Claudine Myers:  Thank you. It's an honor.

Jo Reed:  Tell me where you were born and raised.

Amina Claudine Myers:  I was born in Blackwell, Arkansas. It's 50 miles northwest of Little Rock. I was raised partly in Blackwell, and I moved to Dallas, Texas, with my great-aunt who raised me, and then I moved back to Arkansas when I was 15.

Jo Reed:  And your great-aunt and your great-uncle-- your uncle was a carpenter by trade, but he was also a musician, wasn't he?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes. Uncle Buford, he loved music, and he started me on music. I never will forget. I used to march around the dining room as he counted, one, two, three, four. And I also sat in a little chair, a little child's chair, and he did the heel-toe thing, one, two, three, four, and that was the beginning of my music lessons.

Jo Reed:  And when did you start studying music formally? You were very young, weren't you?

Amina Claudine Myers:  I was about six years old, yes, and I went to the white Catholic school, which was about seven miles away. I still have my piano book from there. They were very nice, and I had piano lessons until I moved to Dallas.

Jo Reed:  And did you continue studying in Dallas?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes. Miss Fullilove was her name, and she'd sit on the side of the piano with a ruler. She didn't hit me or anything like that, but she was teaching me how to play hymns, and I didn't like that. Hymns were difficult for me at that time, but as I got older, I realized that was some of the best lessons I could have had, learning how to play hymns in those different keys, and then Dr. Mitchell came in. He was very good. He moved me quickly. In eighth grade, I was doing Chopin's Etudes. [gap in audio] 

Jo Reed:  Gospel music was a big part of your childhood, wasn’t it?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Well, I had started playing gospel music when I was in Dallas. I started playing in church when I was about 11. Buying sheet music and stuff, that didn't appeal to me, because I played piano by ear, and people would always say "That girl can sure pick that piano." I didn't think about it. It was always someone giving me gigs. I didn't go looking, but I had nerve. I was studying classical piano. I would go to the Baptist churches. They had Easter plays, Christmas plays, and when they had a pianist he couldn't play.  And so I started being the pianist for the vacation Bible school. In the meantime, the Baptist women in the church formed a gospel group. We were emulating the quartet singers, so some kind of way I became one of the pianists, the main pianist, and I also taught the songs. We were singing songs from the hymnal, like James Cleveland and other gospel writers, or Thomas Dorsey, who started gospel music. He used to play for Bessie Smith, but he turned into religious music. And there used to be-- when black people-- we were singing what they called sorrow songs or spirituals, but the gospel part was what caught on with young ladies at the Baptist, so I was doing gospel and then moved back to Arkansas. I rebelled about moving back, because I was in 10th grade, going into 11th grade, and I thought I was becoming popular in school. I didn't want to move back to Arkansas, back to the country. As I got older, I realized that was a wonderful life in the country. I rode my grandfather's horse without saddle, fruit on the trees, you know, plums, blackberries along the side of the road. The stars at night, it was beautiful. All of those things were what inspired me today, that country living. That was the best thing for me. Then I was able to go to college. I got small scholarships to go to Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Jo Reed:  When did jazz come into your life?

Amina Claudine Myers:  I got into jazz when I got into college. The head of the music department had a band that went around and played the high schools, the black schools in Little Rock, and the band let me play. And I learned how to play the blues. So later on I moved out into the city. It was cheaper than living in the dormitory. In my second year, I moved out to the city. And this young lady came up to me. Her name was Gloria Salter from Detroit. She says "I have a gig for you, but it's playing in a nightclub." I said "Girl, I can't play in no nightclub." She said "Yes, you can. It pays $5 a night." So that's when I started jazz. So I went down to the Safari Room on Ninth Street in Little Rock, Arkansas. That was the street where all the activity, clubs, restaurants-- and I got the gig as a solo pianist. So that’s when I started jazz. I learned how to play jazz in the jazz club, play and sing. I learned how to sing "Stomping at the Savoy." That's Ella Fitzgerald's, 20 minutes long. I could sing it exactly the way she sang it. And there were musicians, piano players that came from Memphis, Tennessee, I would go visit them, and they'd show me the stuff, but just being around the jazz musicians. So the Safari Room I played solo. So second year the club owner put a bass player and a drummer with me. Then I was going to Louisville, Kentucky, in the summertime. I'd go there every summer, and the drummer lived in Lexington, Kentucky. He says "I got a gig for you, but it's playing the organ." "I can't play no organ." He said "Yes, you can. The pedals are like the keyboard." I knew three songs on the organ, "Money" <imitates melody>, I think "Summertime," but I learned three songs in a night. I put the words up on the organ, because I played by ear. And it was an organ gig. I was with a trio. Paid $15 a night, and I was able to save up money to help me in college, and I was still trying to play jazz and singing.

Jo Reed:  And your degree at Philander Smith was in music education, correct?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes. I needed something to be able to get work and everything, and so I got a degree in music education.

Jo Reed:  And when you got your degree you ended up moving to Chicago.

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes. And when I got to Chicago I remember that I went down to the Board of Education, and they said they had nothing available. I was walking down the street feeling sorry for myself. I think I went to the Board of Education on a Friday, and on a Monday I get a call, said "Miss Myers, can you come in as a day-to-day sub?" Right down the street. I started teaching down there, and I would ask the principal "Should I come back tomorrow?" Finally she said "You keep coming back until I tell you not to come back." 

Jo Reed:  At that time, were you playing or going out to hear music?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes. They had the black and white ball, you know, these events at the clubs. We didn't have no dates. There was one young man. He was a photographer. He asked me to go with him on the West Side of Chicago, because he was going to sit-in on the drums. So we went to the West Side, and he told the band leader that I played the piano. I said "Why'd you tell him that?" And then I had to play, and the band leader fired his musician and hired me, just like that.

Jo Reed:  So you were teaching school and playing.

Amina Claudine Myers:  On the weekends.  And then I started playing for the church. I'd be over there asleep, and then I had to wake up and go up onstage I was so tired, and it only paid about $2 a Sunday <laughs> and 50 cent for rehearsal, so I was playing, <laughs> and I love choral music, playing jazz on the weekend, playing just church service. I was doing all of those things.

Jo Reed:  Well, how did you come to join the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, AACM?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes, that was another milestone in my life. Okay, I was playing with this band. Ajaramu, whose name was Gerald Donovan at that time, asked me to be in his group. He was a member of the AACM. I didn't know anything about the AACM. The AACM was developed by Steve McCall, the drummer; Phil Cohran; Muhal Richard Abrams; and Jodie Christian. They decided we should have some place where we can play, where we can rehearse and where we can write our music and have it performed. That was the purpose of the AACM, a place for musicians to create and play their own music, have a place to play. You had to be invited into the AACM. You can't go and join. I was selected, voted in to become a member. So when I got in, I had to write music and perform. I said "Wow." That was a challenge. I began to write, started writing for big band, and the AACM musicians would play the music, and that's how I learned how to write, and that made me more creative. All of them had their own style. They were a great inspiration to me. Improvisational music is very important in jazz. When I started playing with Ajaramu at the Hungry Eye in Chicago, I didn't know how to improvise. Ajaramu said "Listen to the horn players." I learned by doing. There was no such thing as buying no music. Played by ear. And I was fortunate to play with Eddie Harris, and Eddie played songs that he knew that I could play, because I was limited. I was playing with Eddie Harris. The club was empty, and there was a song that we played. Eddie usually played that in B-flat. Of course, I was on the organ. Well, this night he played it in the key of B, and he knew I fumbled. He told me "Learn how to play the blues in every key." He knew I was limited, and he was showing me what I needed to do without embarrassing me in front of people. I'll never forget that. The experiences of playing all this music, it was just beautiful. It was a beautiful time. [gap in audio] 

Jo Reed:  And you began playing with the great saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Von Freeman

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes. I was fortunate enough to go and do a European tour with Von Freeman, the master musician in Chicago. For some reason, I was chosen to tour with Von Freeman. I had no idea what Von was going to play, but I was worried. I picked out several songs. I got over to Belgium, and I was worried, worried. I said "Von," in a nice voice, nonchalantly, "you have any idea what we're going to play?" He said "No, I do not," and that was it. <laughs> That was it. But after that, if I didn't know a song, after about one or two choruses I had it. Had a great time, because Von would play, and then he'd go back to the back of the stage and put his shades on, and Von would let us do what we wanted to do. He didn't announce no song. One song he announced was "Summertime," but no announcement. No, they'd just start playing.

Jo Reed:  What about pianist and NEA Jazz Master Muhal Richard Abrams? I know you and Muhal performed together a lot, and you recorded some beautiful, beautiful music together, the album "Duet," for example. Tell me about that collaboration and how you and Muhal worked together.

Amina Claudine Myers:  Well, Muhal asked me to do the duet. It was his music, but he let me do one of my songs, "Dance from the East." It's beautiful playing with Muhal, because, of course, you know, he's strong, and you've got to be able to be strong to make it even.

Jo Reed:  In your composition, how would you describe the interplay between jazz and gospel and blues and the way that comes together in your own compositions?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Well, I believe they come together because my experience is playing gospel. I love the blues. I love the hardcore blues. When I say "hardcore," you know, John Lee Hooker is one of my favorites. I like Jimmy Reed. So when I write music sometimes there are gospel songs I write. I consider them total gospel. And then when I write some blues, like "From a Woman's Point of View," I think of John Lee Hooker. It's the blues-blues. The choral experience in college-- I love choirs. You listen to choirs today. This gospel music is different from what I grew up in, because it has expanded and grown. They're doing wonderful work, but I'm doing the traditional gospel when I play. I first heard the quartets back in the '40s. The black quartets would travel to small towns. That music was so powerful, it drew everybody. And then I heard the country and western, Hank Williams, and the country and western music told stories that were very visible, so all of that is in the music that I write, but mostly gospel, jazz and blues. 

Jo Reed:  What precipitated your move from Chicago to New York

Amina Claudine Myers:  I retired from teaching in 1969. They closed the music department, and we started having a lot of paperwork to do, and it seemed to be taking away from the activities with the students, but after I resigned I didn't have any money, so I went back to playing in the church. This is one of the big churches in Chicago. I think Mahalia Jackson had gone to this church. Very respected, conservative church. I was playing for weddings and funerals. The head of the music in the church was the senior choir that played the-- they sat in the back in the balcony with the pipe organ. Then they had the angelic choir, which sang short anthems. Then you had the gospel choir. I was a pianist for that. Then I became the organist for the young adult choir, and then members of the church wanted to take music lessons with me. And I was making a lot of money, but I felt like I was going backwards. I did all that, but Chicago was dying, as far as I could see, musically, because the AACM members were going to Europe and leaving. And I had come to New York several occasions, several times working with Gene Ammons. I started working with Gene Ammons around 1970 by going to see them in Kansas City.

Jo Reed:  You played with him for two and a half years, didn't you? 

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes.

Jo Reed:  You came to New York in 1976. How was it sort of finding your feet and getting work and beginning to do gigs and play?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Okay. I was walking in the Village, see if I saw a piano, somewhere I can go to try to get some work, and they said "Well, who is your agent?" I didn't know you had to have agents. And walking in trying to get work I met this man. I don't know. He owned a restaurant in Soho on Greene Street, and he hired me. He liked me, and it paid $40 a night. He had a little spinet piano, and it was a place where hockey members come, and he had a TV up behind the bar, and they didn't care nothing about the music. And I was glad to get the gig. I could play anything I wanted.  It was a seafood place, wonderful food. Then the AACM, we were doing things at the lofts. Some of the AACM members, we performed in the loft scene. The loft scene was very popular here. I remember one night I got $6 and some change. So I got a few gigs. After the $40 gig, that's when I got hired for another restaurant, and it was a big, nice restaurant, and Jerome Harris was the bass player, and also Don Pate had been a bass player, and I had a singer and a young man. They would sing and dance to my music. Now, some of the jazz musicians didn't like playing there because the people came there to eat. It was a large-- it was a beautiful place. Upstairs they had like a cabaret, but I liked playing there because I could do whatever I wanted to do, and the people, sometimes they applaud, sometimes they wouldn't. Well, like I said, they came there to eat, but sometimes they'd be listening, but, as I said, that was a growth, because it was like a rehearsal. I liked that gig. I really did.

Jo Reed:  Were you composing your own music at this time?

Amina Claudine Myers:  A little bit, yes. I had the singers and dancer. They would sing songs that I had written. They were really good. That went on for a long time. And so Marion Brown, he came to me and said he wanted me to record his piano music, "Poems for Piano." So where I was staying there was a piano. The piano was out of tune, out of shape,  but that's where I worked on his music, on that raggedy piano. And so we went to Yale. Marion would do his solo. I'd do his piano music. We went to Chicago, different places, and then I recorded "Poems for Piano."

Jo Reed:  What year was that?

Amina Claudine Myers:  It was around 1978, '79.

Jo Reed:  Was that your first solo record?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes.

Jo Reed:  What was that experience like for you?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Well, I was prepared to play his music. I just played it the best way I could. And then it was open for improvisation, and to me that improvisation is what opens up the music. When I was playing with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, it was traditional music, which is also beautiful, but by being in the AACM I started wanting to open up the music, instead of just playing, you know, repetition of playing, just open it up and expose it more, do more things when you open the music up.

Jo Reed:  What are the opportunities but also the challenges of being a leader?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Well, I became a leader. I don't know. I was put in those positions. I didn't realize that I was leading. I was just teaching the songs and stuff. There were church choirs that I led and directed. I went back to Arkansas and developed this group of young ladies that could sing all-- it was four of us, and I taught them the songs and everything. I was bold and daring. I see that now, but I didn't realize it at the time. I was teaching the grown people. I had several vocal students. This young man, he must've been in his eighties. He wanted to sing for the men's ceremony, men's day program. He wanted to sing the Lord's Prayer. I worked with him and worked with him. There was a part in the Lord's Prayer where he was singing incorrectly all the time. He couldn't change, but I encouraged him to do the song because this was going to make him happy, and that one little part that he sang wrong, that was okay, and he wanted to be able to sing. So I found out that I am a teacher, and I realized that. I've been one for a long time, especially with this music.

Jo Reed:  Your voice is as distinct as your playing. How did you develop your vocal style?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Well, the gospel music-- I could sing the classical music, you know, Handel's Messiah. I was a soloist in those. Like I said, Mozart's Requiem. But when I was singing rhythm and blues in Chicago, when I was singing jazz, I developed corns on my vocal cords because I was singing evidently on my throat, but when I sang classical music I was singing from my diaphragm. I don't know how that happened that I was singing on my throat and ruined my voice, but I had to learn how to sing from my diaphragm and get those notes and play in the keys that were comfortable for me, to, like I said, learn by doing and working.

Jo Reed:  You also sing without words.

Amina Claudine Myers:  Oh, yes. Songs without words started around 1980 when I recorded "African Blues" on "Amina Claudine Myers Salutes Bessie Smith." I was at the piano, and Cecil McBee was on bass, and Jimmy Lovelace was on drums, but Cecil and I were here working, and "African Blues"-- I just started. <imitates melody> That melody came up, then I was improvising. "Hey, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well," you know, "Ahhh," and I stretched it out. I think it was about 15 minutes on the record. Cecil said the spirit came in the room when we did it on the record. We just did one take on that. And then I thought about being in Africa at a ritual where the spirit comes into you and you go with the spirit. The music takes the people into the trance. And, see, it's different every time. That's how those came about.

Jo Reed:  Your composition "Improvisational Suite for Chorus, Pipe Organ and Percussion"-- first, what year did you write that?  And what was the inspiration for that piece, and what was the whole process for creating it?

Amina Claudine Myers:   I wanted to show opera singers in an improvisational setting because opera singers never improvise. And the classical singers, it's always the music. They're used to reading the music. I got a lyric coloratura, a lyric countertenor, and I got these wonderful singers and soloists just to show them improvising, and that's how that came about.

Jo Reed:  In your own compositions, how do you see the interplay between improvisation and the structure that you create?

Amina Claudine Myers:  In most cases, you play the melody, you sing the melody, and then you improvise according to what the song is about. And you're thinking you may want to show trees falling down. You try to make that sound. You want to put a slow, sad, sorrowful piece or a happy-sounding piece, then the piano is there for you to do anything that you want to do. And the organ. The kind of sound--you may want a dark, deep sound, and you just started creating things in your mind as you're playing to try to show what the song is about.

Jo Reed:  You're so versatile. 

Amina Claudine Myers:  Oh, thank you. 

Jo Reed:  It's really quite extraordinary. As a soloist, with a sextet, with a quintet, with a chorus, on the organ, on the piano, you're singing. When you're about to begin a project, how do you decide where you're going to put that talent? How do you know "Okay, I'm going to write something for the organ. I'm going to write something for the piano. This is mainly for voice"? How do you come to that decision?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Well, it's with the help of the spirit world. I tried to write something for the choir, and nothing was coming. And then I heard this voice. "Ohh-ohh. Ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh." I heard it in a key that I'm not singing it now. And so I heard a lyric coloratura doing that, and it became "TAKIN," because I lived in Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois and New York, so I took the first letter of each. And I added the drum. He's like a military kind of thing behind her, and then the choir comes in at the end. But sometimes it's hard because sometimes the songs don't come. You have to work on the piano, organ, whatever, and keep working, and it comes when it's supposed to come.

Jo Reed:  You have collaborated with legendary musicians throughout your career. Muhal, we've mentioned, Archie Shepp, and most recently Sola Liu. And before we talk about Sola Liu, what makes a good collaborator?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Someone that's professional and knows their work and understands you. Sola Liu, she liked the way I improvise. I loved working with Sola. She was so dramatic and so understanding. Bill Ellsworth, bassist, record producer, he brought Sola here because she was doing a recording, and he recommended me. I did a recording with her. She comes from China. During the revolution, they took her piano when she was 11 years old, so she wanted to play the piano. Sometimes she would play with me, but she just concentrated on voice and dance. She was reading for operas, plus made the costumes. I-- "Sola, you do everything." She's very soulful and very warm and loving, so we did duets.

Jo Reed:  Tell me about Generation IV.

Amina Claudine Myers:  Okay, I formed Generation IV to honor the gospel singers of the '50s like Clara Ward, the Caravan. You don't hear about those singers. The Davis Sisters. They were the beginning. I call it the classical gospel period. So all the gospel singers and everybody now, they came from that area, but those artists are not recognized or known about. So what I'm trying to do with Generation IV is to sing, to introduce some of those creators, and they were innovators. And Generation IV, they know how to harmonize. That's the main thing in traditional gospel music, is singing in harmony, and they blended very well, and that's how Generation IV-- because I'm the oldest, and then we have Richarda, then you have Pyeng and then Pyeng's daughter. 

Jo Reed:  So four generations.

Amina Claudine Myers:  Mm-hmm. So now we keep singing, then I had to extend that. We'll grow, start doing different stuff. We're still keeping the same traditional feel of showing what was happening during the past. 

Jo Reed:  Okay. And finally, you are a 2024 NEA Jazz Master.

Amina Claudine Myers:  Yes.

Jo Reed:  What does winning this award-- and you have had many, but what does being awarded this mean to you?

Amina Claudine Myers:  Well, I couldn't believe it. I was honored, very surprised. That's a big title, "jazz master," and I'm just honored and blown away by the fact that I'm called a jazz master. That's a wonderful, unbelievable feeling for me, and I want to thank everyone. I want to try to continue to be a jazz master or to begin to be the jazz master that I should be.

Jo Reed:  It's certainly a well-deserved honor, Amina. Many thanks. And thank you for your time and your patience too.

Amina Claudine Myers:  Quite welcome. Thank you.

Jo Reed:  That was of pianist, organist, vocalist, composer, arranger, educator and 2024 NEA Jazz Master Amina Claudine Myers.  The Arts Endowment in collaboration with the Kennedy Center will celebrate the 2024 NEA Jazz Masters with a free tribute concert on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 pm. The concert is free and open to the public. You can get ticket details at And if you can’t make it to DC, don’t despair, the concert is available through a live webcast and radio broadcast at  You’ve been listening to Art Works produced at the National Endowment for the Arts. Follow us wherever you get your podcasts and leave us a rating on Apple—it will help people to find us.

For the National Endowment for the Arts, I'm Josephine Reed. Thanks for listening.

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