Amina Claudine Myers, a Singer Who Still Needs No Words

Amina Claudine Myers was sitting in her apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, surrounded by paintings in addition to photographs as she recalled a rehearsal there almost 40 years ago. She’d been playing the same baby grand piano of which sits inside living room today, in addition to Cecil McBee had brought his upright bass. She recalled of which sounds came spontaneously to her lips. “I do remember thinking: You don’t need words to express,” she said. “Just your voice, the sound, can relay a message.”

at This kind of point 76, Ms. Myers never became a top name, however devotees know her as an uncategorizable force, someone who can communicate powerfully through poetry, piano, organ in addition to voice, in addition to even as an actor. She has recorded 11 albums as a leader since 1979 — mostly solo or trio efforts — however her legacy runs much deeper.

Born in 1942 inside tiny hamlet of Blackwell, Ark., Ms. Myers grew up playing the piano at Baptist in addition to Methodist church functions, in addition to leading gospel quartets. After graduating by college, she moved to Chicago in addition to in 1966 joined the A.A.C.M., a newly formed group of black composers dedicated to shepherding one another’s work. She developed a particularly close musical partnership with the pianist Muhal Richard Abrams (“my spiritual brother,” she said). At the same time, she was gigging with Gene Ammons in addition to Sonny Stitt, eminent soul-jazz figures. She soon began writing poetry in addition to setting the item to music. Her first serious work was “I Dream,” a set of songs for choir in addition to band.

She continues to compose ambitious, large-form pieces — a long-gestating opera based on the life of Harriet Tubman remains inside works — however of late Ms. Myers has been performing solo almost exclusively. The shows I’ve seen have been transcendent. In 2016, playing at the Community Church, she sang a tired, disillusioned, defiant original, her voice rising on a slant as she repeated a biting refrain: “Ain’t nobody ever gonna hear nobody hearing us at This kind of point.” however moments later, drawing the concert to a close, she played a simple, lapping, major-to-minor progression, in addition to insisted on gratitude. “Thank you for life,” she sang. “Thank you for blessings/Thank you for family/Thank you.”