DC vocalist Aaron Myers has spearheaded an effort to lobby the DC Government and other DC area business and government groups to increase their support for local jazz and jazz musicians. Aaron created a Facebook group (DC Jazz Lobby) for the community, and has been attracting attention in the local media, following an intense lobbying campaign in April.
The Washington Post interviewed Aaron and DC officials for an April 17 article on the current and future life of jazz in DC. I was surprised to see a picture of me in the print edition of the article, on the front page of the Metro section. The photo from the Wednesday jam session at Mr. Henry’s also shows Steve Synk on bass and Elijah Cole on guitar, backing the amazing Herman Hawkins.
The digital edition of the Post piece featured an excellent photo of Aaron and fellow musician and activist Herb Scott.
My only concern with the article is that it describes jazz music as more of a historical artifact that needs to be “saved.” I disagree. The DC jazz scene is active and thriving, with many local musicians writing and playing jazz and improvisational music for right now, not recreating historical sounds (for a start, Aaron, Herb Scott, Mark Meadows, Akua Allrich, Sam Prather). The music and the musicians do need more support, and I support Aaron’s lobbying efforts. That support is needed to make a strong scene stronger, as an vital cultural and economic activity. It doesn’t to be “saved.”
These photos were taken by Astrid Riecken, who is producing beautiful work, some of which she shares on her Instagram feed.