(David Amram – piano, vocals, congas, flutes, French horn, cowbell, pennywhistle & percussion; Victor Benegas – bass; Akira Tana – drums; Vic Juris – guitar; Paquito de Rivera – alto sax, clarinet, bells, congas)
This reissue comes from concerts given in l988 and 89 celebrating the first poetry and jazz in l957 in New York City, as well as tunes Amram performed at the time. He had improvised his accompaniment to Pull My Daisy on the spot while Jack Kerouac also improvised the poem he was declaiming. Pull My Daisy was described a “The Anthem of the Beat Generation,” and there was an underground film made around it starring Taylor Mead, in which Amram played a part.
As can be seen by the above credits, Amram is a pretty versatile guy – called by one critic “the Renaissance man of American music.” He’s written two operas and over one hundred orchestral and chamber works – many skirting the genres of classical, jazz and folk music. He did the soundtrack music for The Manchurian Candidate and Splendor in the Grass. His quartet has great fun with all nine tunes taped at these live concerts. Sonny Rollins’ Saint Thomas gets a very Caribbean rhythmic send off, and the arrangements of both Tennessee Waltz and Red River Valley illustrate Amram’s appreciation of American roots music. An upbeat and delightful album thru and thru!
TrackList: Pull My Daisy, Lover Man, Take the ‘A’ Train, Saint Thomas, Summertime, Gracias Amigos, Tennessee Waltz, Red River Valley, Blue Monk
– John Henry