I send cheers from that never-ending road
Great to hear from you. Now you are ENSCONCED IN MY COMPUTER!!!!
IT WILL BE A TREAT TO SEE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AGAIN.
I am going non-stop, like a nut-case.
I am just back from Lowell Mass. for the annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival, where I performed with my trio, accompanied scores of other musicians and poets, read from my books, hosted screenings of "Pull My Daisy," played at an art show where my caricatures of the era are being shown, and did programs with John Cassady, the son of Jack's road buddy and inspiration for "On the Road", Neal Cassady..
I also did a program at U. Mass Lowell, and a bunch of interviews (in three languages) for people from around the World who come every year to this amazing event which also celebrates Kerouac's hometown, where 27 languages are currently spoken.
The old French, Greek and Portuguese communities have been replaced with new immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia. Laos and many countries from Central and South America, and most of the people who were born here still have a strong regional old New England accent that has like so many other regional accents, disappeared throughout so much of the country.
Even the way people dress and relate to one another feel s like a much earlier time, and the stark beauty of the old abandoned red brick mills, the rushing waters of the Merrimack River, and the old wooden frame houses and shops with fading hand written signs in many languages are magical in comparison to most plastic chain store franchised Burger-King-ized miles of monotonous malls that make more and more cities in America all seem like the same place.
Wish you could have been there, to see all the people gathered from all over to celebrate Jack's life and the enduring value of his life's work...the beautiful books he left us.
I'm now back in New York to perform for the City Island Jazz Festival this Thursday night, and then off for Bruce Springsteen concert in Orlando, where Clarence Clemens, his great sax player and I are planning some collaborations, then back to NY to continue work on my new "SYMPHONIC VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY WOODY GUTHRIE,"
The following weekend, I am at a festival in Pennsylvania where I am the guest of honor, giving a concert, and screening of "Pull My Daisy," prior to a marathon 12 hour reading of On the Road," the next day. Then off to Texas to conduct a performance of "Giants of the Night," the flute concerto which I composed for James Galway.
And also I am preparing a collaboration with Willie Nelson for a new CD with him, using idioms from Native American, Latin American, jazz and classical styles. All in addition to doing programs resulting from the release of my new symphonic CD for Naxos
records and the Varese-Sarabande release of my 42 year old score for The Manchurian Candidate"
So with all this crazed activity, I won't have any time to get into trouble. My little free time is spent working on my new book, my composing of new orchestral music and trying to answer mail!!!
Jack's work is more appreciated than ever, and the positive energy I see in the faces of young people I encounter every day who are inspired by his work are a constant source of joy., proving the old adage that a thing of beauty IS a joy forever.
As the sun goes down behind the hills of our old farm here in Putnam Valley and cold early October wintery nights are starting to sneak up on us, I send cheers from that never-ending road, and look forward to our paths crossing soon again.
More on David:
I met David 20 years ago. His kindness to a stranger is symbolic to all that he does. Amusing, amazing, educational, entertaining, loves life and everything around him. World IS his home.
From the reviews:
"Galway inspired in "Giants of the Night".... New Work is exceptional..... Throughout, Amram's genius was apparent, in his blend of musical styles and in the breadth of conception. "Giants of the Night" is an exceptional composition with great potential for becoming part of the flute repertoire.
From The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) Sept. 16, 2002
"David Amram is one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced ..."
-- Washington Post Sept 1995
"Amram was multicultural before multiculturalism existed."
-- New York Times, Sept. 28, 1993
"...Orchestra audience; On feet for Amram. The audience repeated this tribute twice for Amram and the Philadelphia Orchestra."
-- Philadelphia Inquirer
"If you have not yet encountered this extraordinary man of music, you will probably be as fascinated as the children ... and will marvel at his multiple gifts as a Composer conductor and solo instrumentalist."
-- New York Times
"Amram may be able to play more types of music than any other man. He is a relentless pied-piper of pan cultural persuasiveness, leading listeners into a global circle that brings all peoples together."
-- Milwaukee Journal
"Members of the orchestra love him as much as the children In the audience ... a beautiful, memorable experience, but then Amram Is a most memorable man."
-- The Montreal Gazette
"David Amram ... a musical catalyst and leader on a par with Leonard Bernstein, Pete Seeger and Dizzy Gillespie ..."
-- Minneapolis Star & Tribune
"Amram dazzled with his versatility ... one could be but awed by his range. .. Amram was constantly enlightening."
-- The London Times
"He is a composer of major stature a conductor of winning authority and a jazz musician of noble intent and entertaining brilliance."
-- Newhouse Papers
"Amram's American music is joyous, great, beautiful ..."
-- The Kansas City Times
"A perfect pops Concert."
-- The Edmonton Journal
"A symphonic delight; an Amram crown. It would be difficult to imagine a lovelier display, or one better designed to show off the excellence of the National Symphony, Amram, the conductor, gave a stunning performance."
-- Washington Evening Star
The composer David Amram has been hailed by the Washington Post as "one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced." Since Leonard Bernstein appointed Amram as first composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic in 1966-67, he has become one of the most acclaimed composers of his generation, listed by BMI as one of the Twenty Most Performed Composers of Concert Music in the United States since 1974.
Amram is also known as the musical collaborator of the great mid-century American author Jack Kerouac, whose book On the Road is considered to be the artistic soul of the 1950's. Their work together blended poetry, jazz, blues, theatre and what is now considered performance art into an unforgettably intoxicating stew that became a life-changing experience for the many thousands of people who witnessed it.
David Amram celebrates his friendship with Kerouac in Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac, and discusses their life and times in our July 17, 2002 Jerry Jazz Musician interview.