David Amram actually performed Jazz-Poetry with the likes of Jack Kerouac and Lord Buckley. Not only that, he worked extensively with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie. Since being appointed the NY Phil’s composer in residence, he has composed a hundred or more orchestral and chamber works and a couple of operas as well a film scores and written Broadway music. He can be found regularly conducting seventeen symphony orchestras and is involved in numerous folk, Latin, jazz and world music projects. Not a bad CV, eh?
This CD was put together at the end of the eighties and collects together interpretations of a wide range of standards and other classics. The opening title track ‘Pull My Daisy’ comes from the Beat poetry days and is an update of a Kerouac, Cassady & Ginsberg improvisation which was also the soundtrack to a film of the same name. It captures the essence of the era perfectly. Other titles include Lover Man, Take the ‘A’ Train and Summertime. One of my great country favourites ‘Tennessee Waltz’ is presented here as a fusion with Tchaikovsky’s ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ – strange and truly remarkable.
Besides David Amram vocalising and playing piano, congas, flutes, french horn, cowbell, pennywhistles, claves and percussion, the Quartet consists of Victor Venegas – bass, Akira Tana – drums and, variously, Vic Juris – guitar or Paquito de Rivera – alto sax, clarinet, bells & congas. They do a splendid job of presenting the variety of jazz eras in authentic period style. It’s a thoroughly entertaining and worthwhile album.