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Celebrating 50 Years of
Jack Kerouac's On The Road

David Amram "Keeoing The Flame Alive" at HowlFest 2004! - Click Here To Learn More about David Amram and Jack Kerouac! - Phot by Jeremy Hogan..

Lowell Events Preview Report

by John Grady

When David Amram leans into some hot jazzy licks on his horn, he’s jamming out notes that carry spirits reaching back to the first jazz-poetry moments in New York City ’s 1950s Greenwich Village when he jammed with Jack Kerouac. You can hear his joys and passions. It’s the spirit of a nine-lived musical cat.

Amram, a jazz French horn pioneer, is also a virtuoso on piano, numerous flutes, whistles, percussion, dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, plus the man known as “Pops” will blow your mind when he starts improvising lyrics!

Amram’s coming back to Lowell for two shows (Sept. 7 and 9, 2007) to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his friend Jack Kerouac’s groundbreaking novel On The Road. The original “Scroll” Kerouac typed his visions on has been on exhibit here all summer, along with numerous events.

The upcoming program Sept. 5- 9, 2007 in the writer’s hometown of Lowell will be the culmination of the historic city’s summer long celebration. I will be there – and I can bring all the wild, ecstatic and joyful energy of this event to your readers in my report.

A marathon reading of On The Road on the Sept. 5 anniversary date kicks things off in Lowell, with a “be-bop & spoken word” concert on Thursday, Sept 6. David Amram performs first on Friday, Sept. 7 outdoors at a FREE CONCERT in Boarding House Park at 7:30 p.m. This show will feature Amram performing with his quintet. A fiercely progressive, 4-piece string band called Hot Day at the Zoo opens with a high-energy, gritty-urban-bluegrass sure to bring a smile to your face and a sway to your hips. They will join David on stage for a finale.

Amram, who has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Langston Hughes, Dizzy Gillespie, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Charles Mingus, Tito Puente and many others, again performs on Sunday, Sept. 9 with the New England Orchestra, conducted by Kay George Roberts, at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell at 4 p.m.

The David Amram Quartet will also perform with the orchestra: “Bye-Ya,” by Thelonious Monk /arr. David Amram; “Martin Luther King" from Three Black Kings by Edward “Duke” Ellington, Amram, soloist; and “En Memoria de Chano Pozo” by David Amram.

The classical and jazz tribute concert will feature several original, Kerouac-inspired compositions by Amram: “Giants of the Night - Concerto for Flute and Orchestra”; commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway with the Louisiana Philharmonic in 2002, and TWO READINGS FROM ON THE ROAD for narrator and orchestra, premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington with the National Symphony with Amram conducting.

“Kerouac used to sing French Canadian folk songs he learned as a child in Lowell to me,” says Amram. “These same songs I learned from him are contained in the second movement of my flute concerto Giants of the Night.”
The concert in Lowell will spotlight soloist Fenwick Smith, longtime Boston Symphony flautist. Actor John Ventimiglia of The Sopranos will read the passages from On the Road with the orchestra.

from "On The Road"

“….when he held his horn high and horizontal from his mouth he blew the greatest; and as his hair grew longer and he got lazier and stretched-out, his horn came down halfway; till it finally fell all the way and today as he wears his thick-soled shoes so that he can't feel the sidewalks of life his horn is held weakly against his chest, and he blows cool and easy getout phrases. Here were the children of the American bop night….”

When On The Road was finally published, fifty years ago on Sept. 5, 1957 it unleashed a cultural tsunami that swept the globe – one that continues to reverberate in our world. Events marking this event are going on all over the world, but in Kerouac’s own home town the celebration has been going all summer. The scroll he furiously typed up (hitting peaks of 100 words per minute - without typos!) went on display in June, with panel discussions, poetry readings, walking tours of Lowell sites and more events keeping the Kerouac “beat” going.

Now, David Amram, Kerouac’s first musical collaborator, will be “coming home” to his friend’s home town and really celebrate the writer’s spirit and legacy in style. My report will include interviews with Amram as well as highlights and exciting musical, spoken word action.

- News, New & Of Note!  - Click Here for the latest happenings from our friends and family in the Poetry, Music and Art World! -

Pix, Clips and Page from kindred Keepers of The Flame! Join us in celebrating the LifeArtSpirit of Allen Ginsberg! Click Here to Enter!

On Sunday, December 11th 'Ode to the Sidewalks of New York Jazz & Poetry Reading' will happen once again hosted by legendary musician, composer, author David Amram & his Trio at the Bowery Poetry Club. - Click Here For More Info! - ALSO View Pix and Clips from May's Ode Celebration!

As The Poets and The Players make their way from The Heartland to The Cities and Beyond they bring back their Sights, Sounds and Stories from The Road. Click Here for their recounts and Learn Why . . . Travel Is Fatal!

Dave Amram Birthday Special! Click Here for VidClips, Pix and Debut Mp3's from  the new CD "The Long Road To Nowheresville!"

Frank Messina and Dave Amram perform the Kerouac classic at Insomniacathon 2003
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Ron Whitehead re-vamps with this one at Howlfest 2004!

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