Neon Jazz Interview series with Joe Dimino & Engineered by John Christopher in Kansas City Missouri. Take a listen:
The Son of a Jazz Icon
Born on June 3, 1967 to the late, great bassist Jamil Nasser, Muneer 's exposure to the jazz idiom was early and powerful. In 1976, "My dad took me to see Dizzy Gillespie at the Village Gate and Dizzy blew the place apart. I had to get a trumpet and weeks later I did." In 1979, he went to the International Art of Jazz Workshop for college students. Dave Burns, a trumpeter in Gillespie's Big Band, had reservations about his age. Muneer's talent, however, overshadowed this concern. "Mr. Burns acceptance fortified my confidence and I began studying with him." Muneer also received private instruction from George Coleman, Jimmy Owens, Oliver Beener, and Webster Young. These workshops and lessons taught him the basics of jazz improvisation, which were tested at serious jam sessions conducted by Eddie Henderson, Ted Curson, Tommy Turrentine, Barry Harris, C Sharpe, and Gil Coggins. "If you couldn't play, they would bench you with quickness and give you a homework assignment." As a youngster, Muneer saw many masters in concert such as George Coleman, Randy Weston, Lou Donaldson, Woody Shaw, Roy Eldridge, and Phineas Newborn.
After graduating from high school, he attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he played with Paul Jeffrey, gigged at churches and various cultural venues around town. He also was the host of a weekly jazz broadcast "Jazz Spectrum" on WSHA. He transferred to Howard Howard University and graduated with a BBA in International Business. While in Washington DC, he performed at the Lincoln Theater, Bohemian Caverns, Westminster Church, Takoma Station, Cafe Nema, The Kennedy Center, and Twins Jazz. In 1993, Muneer embarked on a musical journey to Europe and North Africa. He performed in Paris, Amsterdam, Turkey, Morocco, London, and Geneva. In 1995, he toured the United Kingdom with Jazz Jamaica performing in London, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester. “I had a chance to meet the great drummer Clifford Jarvis and he shared musical and trumpet gems from Kenny Dorham and Freddie Hubbard." In the year 2000, Muneer, started the Friday night jam session at HR-57, the Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues. In 2002, he played gospel music every Sunday at Union Temple Baptist Church. He also played regularly in Baltimore with alto saxophonist, Arnold Sterling at the Arch Social Club, The Edison Lounge, and The Baltimore Museum of Art. In 2013, he played trumpet and flugelhorn simultaneously at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, which pleasantly surprised the audience.
In addition to teaching jazz improvisation at the University of Maryland, Nasser's passion and knowledge for jazz history was evident in educational forums he held at the University of the District of Columbia and Howard University. Muneer has written and recorded over 200 reggae, jazz, rock, EDM, Rap, and R & B compositions. Some appear on Soundcloud and YouTube. In 2015, he won an award for the best soundtrack at the DC
48-hour Film Festival.
Muneer developed a lifelong commitment to the study of jazz. Consequently, he read over one hundred books, magazines, and conducted informal interviews with jazz masters whose answers stimulated his quest to document jazz history. “My father shared many compelling stories about his career.” Unfiltered by the political imperatives and agendas of the traditional publishing industry, Upright Bass: The Musical Life and Legacy of Jamil Nasser unveils previously undisclosed yet important jazz history. Check out Muneer's new CD "A Soldier's Story,"