As part of the Village Trip Festival, acclaimed musician and composer David Amram teams up with percussionist and bandleader Bobby Sanabria for a concert at Joe's Pub on September 16 to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the birth of legendary novelist Jack Kerouac
As part of the Village Trip Festival, acclaimed musician, composer, arranger and author David Amram will join percussionist, bandleader, filmmaker and WBGO host Bobby Sanabria on stage Friday, September 16 at Joe's Pub to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the birth of the late legendary novelist Jack Kerouac.
The tribute concert titled "Children of the American Bebop and Mambo Nite" has a star-studded lineup of performers, including singer Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer.
Sanabria and Amram spoke to WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about the September 16 event.
In 1957, David Amram, along with Jack Kerouac and other poets, staged one of the first poetry readings with jazz at the Brata Art Gallery on East 10th Street in New York. That same year, Kerouac wrote his widely popular book On the Road, about his travels across the country.
Amram says Kerouac took his time putting together that masterpiece.
"He started in the '40s going to Minton's quite often. Dizzy (Gillespie) even named a tune 'Kerouac' after him."
Amram says Kerouac enjoyed writing about the music that touched him deeply.
"He loved folk music, he loved Bach, who he said was his favorite composer, so when he heard (Thelonious) Monk and Dizzy and when he heard some of the great geniuses like Mario Bauza and Machito's band, people who created that music, he could hear it and feel it when all the critics ignored it."
Bobby Sanabria, an eight-time Grammy nominee, says this concert pays tribute to the writer he admired.
"I look at Jack as somebody who was a documentarian of what was happening around him at the time. He just laid it out in his own way in On the Road and all the other things he did."
Sanabria says he's thrilled to be working again with Amram on this project. Amram, a fan of WBGO, is also of long-time listener of Sanabria's "Latin Jazz Cruise" on WBGO.
David’s career is fascinating, from composing the music for The Manchurian Candidate to being the first composer in residence for the NY Philharmonic to going to Cuba with Dizzy Gillespie back in 1977, recording and playing with the great pianist Charles Mingus. He plays piano, French horn, Spanish guitar and penny whistle, and sings.
In Amram's 1968 book Vibrations, he described making an omelette for Charlie Parker with fried onions, maple syrup and bacon. In Amram's interview this week, he told Doyle Amram that he would have loved to have spent more time with the legendary saxophone giant.
"He gave me something in 1952 that I'll never forget. I was 21 years old and living in a basement apartment and I said 'Bird, you wrote this piece in 1945, "Now's The Time" and that's become an anthem. What's it like to feel and hear something that old, because to me seven years was a third of my life in 1952.' He said now was the time. Now is the time. Now will always be the time because now is the right time."
This week is certainly the right time to honor Jack Kerouac at the Village Trip Festival.
You can SEE the entire interview with Bobby Sanabria and David Amram here.