Jazz composer and ethnomusicologist David Amram, a longtime friend of LitKicks who also happens to be one of the friendliest, least snobbish and most positive people I’ve ever met, is the Composer in Residence at the Democratic National Convention which begins tonight in Denver, Colorado.
This seems to have been inspired by Denver’s famous role as the spiritual vortex of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road as the hometown of main character Dean Moriarty, based on real-life Denver-raised Beatnik Neal Cassady. I think it’s pretty cool that we have a presidential candidate whose staff knows enough about Beat literature to think this up. I wish I could be at some of these events, but I’m stuck in New York.
As my own contribution to the festivities, please enjoy the above 5-minute video of an amazing David Amram Trio performance of “Pull My Daisy” from the crazy Literary Kicks Summer Poetry Happening at the Bitter End nightclub in Greenwich Village in 1999. This was one of the best moments from the 5th anniversary party I co-hosted with Brian Hassett; I am working on a new version of this video with better visual clarity, but at least the audio clarity is good (that’s what really matters). We begin with Amram on the french horn, the instrument he played most often while jamming with Jack Kerouac back in the day. Amram then switches to piano before doing some scat-singing to close it out. As you’ll see, Amram can tickle those ivories. David Amram stole this show back in the summer of 1999, and I hope Denver, Colorado is ready for him this week.