Five Questions With Jazz Musician Adi Meyerson

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Adi Meyerson sitting on steps next to a bass
Adi Meyerson, a jazz bassist who grew up in Israel, is part of the lineup at this year’s Center City Jazz Festival. (Photo courtesy of MediaVista Public Relations)

Rising jazz musician Adi Meyerson, a bassist and composer who hails from Israel, will have her first show in Philadelphia later this week.

She is performing as part of the lineup for the Center City Jazz Festival on April 27 at 3 p.m. at Franky Bradley’s. She’ll be playing the bass, alongside Mike King on the piano and Cory Cox on drums.

Meyerson, who was born in San Francisco and moved to Israel at the age of 2, first started playing the electric bass in high school. A jazz album changed the trajectory of her life. She went on to study jazz at the Israel Conservatory of Music and The New School in New York City.

She has since stayed in New York, where formed her own musical group, called The Adi Meyerson Band, and released her first album, Where We Stand, last year.

For Meyerson, it’s just the beginning.

Is there anything you are trying to express with your album?

I felt like I needed to express just the first glimpse of who I am and what I do as an artist, and my take on jazz and trying to pay my respects to the tradition of the music, and also make a statement that it’s 2018, and I’m here in 2018 creating this music. I hope that came across. I just really wanted to show people what I do and how I hear music and how I play music.

I see it as a first glimpse into an artistic pathway and a snapshot into where I was at that moment and hopefully people will be interested and come along for the ride, for the long run. I’m trying to think about it as that’s just the first one, and to stay in touch and join me on the journey.

How do you honor the tradition of jazz while putting your own personal, modern take on it?

The biggest aspect, specifically on that record, is swing, for the most part, which is that initial feeling that made me love jazz and an integral part of the music, but sometimes, the more contemporary things that people may be listening to today, there’s a whole wave of modern jazz that doesn’t necessarily swing. That’s absolutely fine too, but I wanted to, just because I love playing in that style.

Why did you decide to start The Adi Meyerson Band?

When I was in undergrad, I started writing music. For my senior recital, I played some original compositions. I realized that that was also another source of expression for me that I really enjoyed and got this idea that I want to make a record, I want to record my own music.

Probably my first gig as a leader would be around early 2015, and then that band that I did the record with, I started doing different configurations of it around 2016 and trying to play gigs around town and figure out what exactly I’m going for and what exactly sound I want, what instrumentation I want. All the people that I had on the record are the people that I initially thought of, but trying to figure out the configuration of which instrument is playing what and what sound on what song and getting the repertoire together and getting the band to sound like more of a band and not a put together session was really important to me, too.

We definitely played gigs around town for a couple years before I went into the studio.

You’ve had some opportunities to play alongside some jazz greats in New York City. What has been your favorite moment from these experiences?

When I was at New School, I met Charli Persip, who is a legendary drummer … and he wanted me to join his big band at a certain point. I started coming to rehearsals, and I started studying with Ron Carter right around then. I told Ron about Charli, and Ron said that he and Charli worked together. He was one of the first people he worked with when he moved to New York. … I show up to rehearsal, and Ron showed up to rehearsal too. So, Ron Carter is present in my first rehearsal with Charli Presip. I was so scared, but also, I was like, wow, this is New York for you, the legends of these music are coming to check out my rehearsal. I was blown away by that.

What can the audience expect at your upcoming show in Philadelphia?

They can expect a lot of energy, a good time and some good music. We like pretty music, but we also like to experiment. It’s mostly going to be improvised music. I hope they’re going to be excited to come along for the ride with us, but I can definitely assure that they’re going to have a good time.

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