Jazz Pianist as well as Monroe Community College Jazz Instrumental Professor, John Nyerges, released his third official album, Music from the Heart, at the Lovin’ Cup located at RIT, where he also put on a two-hour concert.
Nyerges took the stage around 8:30 p.m., with his jazz quartet – Clay Jenkins on trumpet; Kyle Vock, bass; and Eric Metzgar, drums. The group is mostly a quintet, however, saxophonist, Doug Stone was reportedly feeling ill and incapable to perform. The quartet even performed the second track off the new album, “Solid as Stone” in dedication to Stone.
During the show, all the musicians stood out prominently on their own terms, but trumpeter, Clay Jenkins emerged the most. Being centered on stage, it is hard to miss him, especially a musician coming in and out of solos in-between sections of songs. Jenkins has been playing music with Nyerges for 12 years and worked on Nyerges last album, Jazz, Pictures, and Poems, in 2008. Jenkins said “He’s easy to work with and enthusiastic. I like his tunes, so it’s always a pleasure playing with him.”
Later, the band performed “WGMC Blues” a number dedicated to one of the last few Jazz only radio stations in the United States, WGMC (Jazz 90.1), located at the Greece Olympia High School media center. Nyerges quartet played all the new songs from the new album, except the ballads – “Requiem,” “The Look in Your Eyes,” and “Tribute” which didn’t feel appropriate for a Saturday night. The only ballad played was “A Sense of Loss” from the ’08 album.
The crowd was filled with young college students and older fans, who expressed their interest in jazz music over food and drinks and many of which knew Nyerges and members of his group. MCC student Michael Lindskoog said “I thought the atmosphere was a perfect night for Jazz. John and his bandmates, are amazingly talented people. To have a chance to listen to them play is a great experience.” Jazz fanatic, Jim Hayes said “You’re not going to find any musicians better than this. I am a big Jazz freak and all the musicians on that stage are excellent.”
Nyerges and his group started recording music for Music from the Heart, about two years ago; recording most of the tunes in three nights. However, one night there was technical problem, unfortunately, they didn’t catch the error until after the session. Thus, the tracks – “Samba Costa Rica” and “Thankful Heart” did not make it onto the new album.
As a matter of fact, Music from the Heart’s, original name was going to be “Thankful Heart”. However, when all the tracks came together his wife told him “It sounds like music from your heart” and Nyerges instantly knew that was the name.
The album was released on Nyerges own label, NBR (Nyerges Brothers Records) Jazz, which was co-funded by his brother, Paul. The new album was mixed and mastered by Nyerges and most of the selections were composed and arranged by him as well. “Monks Blues II” originally appeared on the ’08 release, but has been renovated, adding Tarantino, Teal, and Ziemann to the track. The third track, “Cool” is dedicated to one of Nyerges biggest influences, songwriter and pianist, Don Grolnick. Grolnick is best known for his work with musicians, including Steely Dan, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, and James Taylor. One of the last tracks on the album, the elegant “The Look in Your Eyes” is a dedication to Nyerges wife, including a duet between Nyerges and Stone. Nyerges’ songwriting is much more different than the songwriting from his 1991 debut album, Point of View. “After the late nineties, I think I really acquired my voice. I did a lot imitation on the first album and can point to several songs that sound like my influences.”
Nyerges and his band, have performed at multiple music and art festivals all over upstate New York, including the Rochester International Jazz Festival. Nyerges lives in Rochester, NY and is currently on the faculty at Monroe Community College where he heads the Jazz Instrumental program.