JAZZ/POETRY CONNECTION: UPDATE

Happy July 4th. I can now take a breath, take a drink and digest the meal that was the month of June. New York and I managed to burn a hole in my grant by way of Greyhound, Amtrak, subway, clubs, food, drink. I have managed to cover much mid-Atlantic territory area including that of Philadelphia, D.C, Baltimore and Newark. New York regions covered are Williamsburg, Park Slope and Low East & Lower West Sides and a very sweaty day-tour of Queens.

Performances of Jazz/Poetry Attended: 2, Performances of Jazz Attended: 16+, Poetry Readings Attended: 4

Interviews Recorded: 10+, Speculative Interviewees: 15-20

Venues Attended: Cornelia Street Cafe, Kenny’s Castaways, Sullivan Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Smalls Jazz Club, The Village Vanguard, The Jazz Standard, Carnegie Hall, The City Winery, The Lovin’ Cup and Prospect Park Summer Stage.

Archival research performed at The Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies in order to obtain periodicals from “Downbeat”, “JAZZ”, “Jazz Monthly”, “Jazz Review” and “Brilliant Corners”. Also, documents on the illusive Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) were obtained.

The two upcoming gentlemen on deck for the project are at the very height of their field and I do no exaggerate when I say that they both contain the very revolutionary attitude that is rare among artists. Frank Carlberg is the first of these incredibly respectable musicians I will speak to on July 5th. On his latest record “The American Dream”, he took  a series of poems composed by Robert Creely and has written a 12 part jazz song-cycle. Carlberg is the pioneer in this concept, which smudges the lead-like conception of the “jazz” idiom. I will speak to him about what’s driving him and how he creates his work but above all, I want to know where he feels poetry’s pace is within jazz music.

Here is a nice quote:

Carlberg does a masterful job blending the music and words, the results sounding so organic. The melodies wrap around the words with ease and the solos never seem obligatory.   His music is melodic, challenging, intelligent, and fiercely original. Many projects that attempt to blend poetry with creative music sound stilted but, over his career, Carlberg has proven that one can take these two art forms and make something quite special”.

-Richard Kamins-Hartford Courant-

David Amram, another pioneer in the world of jazz/poetry will headline the Cornelia Street Cafe on July 5th. Amram is a

AMRAM & CO imagemystical oral history project in multi-faceted glory. He is not only a supremely accomplished jazz improviser on multiple instruments (flute, french horn, etc.) but  is also a distinguished chamber/orchestral composer and conductor. Above all, Amram played in the first jazz-poetry reading in New York City in 1957. He was there at the beginning! The Hatchling! The Reformation! The Connection! I feel as if Amram will lay some heavy load of wisdom to this entire project and what it stands for. He turns 80 years old this November. This day will be most likely be one of the most humbling of my entire summer.

On Amram:

David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the classic scores for the films Splendor in The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate; two operas, including the groundbreaking Holocaust opera The Final Ingredient; and the score for the landmark 1959 documentary Pull My Daisy, narrated by novelist Jack Kerouac.  He is also the author of three books, Vibrations, an autobiography, Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac, a memoir, and Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat published in the fall of 2007 by Paradigm Publishers.
A pioneer player of jazz French horn, he is also a virtuoso on piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, as well as an inventive, funny improvisational lyricist.  He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, (who chose him as The New York Philharmonic’s first composer-in-residence in 1966), Dizzy Gillespie, Langston Hughes, Dustin Hoffman, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Depp and Tito Puente.
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