Events Preview Report
by John Grady
When David Amram
leans into some hot jazzy licks on his horn, hes 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. Its the spirit of a nine-lived musical cat.
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!
Amrams coming back to Lowell for two shows (Sept. 7 and 9, 2007) to
help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his friend Jack Kerouacs groundbreaking
novel On The Road. The original Scroll Kerouac typed his visions on
has been on exhibit here all summer, along with numerous events.
program Sept. 5- 9, 2007 in the writers hometown of Lowell will be the culmination
of the historic citys 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
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.
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.
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.
.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 Kerouacs 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
Now, David Amram, Kerouacs first musical collaborator, will
be coming home to his friends home town and really celebrate
the writers spirit and legacy in style. My report will include interviews
with Amram as well as highlights and exciting musical, spoken word action.