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ghost of miles

"Making A New Kind Of Scene: New York City's Five Spot" w/David Amram and Dan Wakefield

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Last week's Night Lights show, which delves into the music and history of New York City's Five Spot, is now up for online listening:

Making A New Kind Of Scene: New York City's Five Spot

It includes commentary from Five Spot regulars David Amram (also a Five Spot performer) and novelist Dan Wakefield, as well as live Five Spot recordings from Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane or Johnny Griffin, Eric Dolphy and Booker Little, and representational recordings by Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, and poet Frank O'Hara reading "The Day Lady Died."  

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Another fascinating show, David! It's sad that the NPR station in NY uses Kevin Whitehead as their 'Jazz Consultant' (who is currently plugging his new book on "Hollywood Movies and Jazz", which seems as vanilla as his regular radio segments) instead of you; people might understand what great jazz is, but they could care less bout that...

I've spent the last week writing an arr. of a David Amram piece, and think that he was a great composer/jazz french horn player, but I mentioned his name to a friend once, and he thought of him as a 'charlatan' of sorts. Have you ever heard Amram characterized as such?

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4 hours ago, sgcim said:

Another fascinating show, David! It's sad that the NPR station in NY uses Kevin Whitehead as their 'Jazz Consultant' (who is currently plugging his new book on "Hollywood Movies and Jazz", which seems as vanilla as his regular radio segments) instead of you; people might understand what great jazz is, but they could care less bout that...

I've spent the last week writing an arr. of a David Amram piece, and think that he was a great composer/jazz french horn player, but I mentioned his name to a friend once, and he thought of him as a 'charlatan' of sorts. Have you ever heard Amram characterized as such?

No, I haven't--and I don't think Charles Mingus would have countenanced charlatans.  Personally speaking, I've been lucky to hang out and talk with Amram several times over the past 10 years, and the guy just brims with good creative energy.  Emailed him about the show last week and got an effusive response that left me hoping that I can still cook like that when I'm 88.  So glad you liked the program!  There's an Amram music bed ("City Talk," from his 1957 Jazz Studio album) that starts at 6:00 in and runs for a couple of minutes under the narrative. 

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A friend of mine in Toronto was driving cab one night and picked up Amram with Ramblin' Jack Elliot!  One of the highlights of his cab driver career.  Plus he's mentioned in a Rafi song and did the music  for Pull My Daisy.  An icon ( to use a word I hate). 

Edited by medjuck

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14 hours ago, medjuck said:

A friend of mine in Toronto was driving cab one night and picked up Amram with Ramblin' Jack Elliot!  One of the highlights of his cab driver career.  Plus he's mentioned in a Rafi song and did the music  for Pull My Daisy.  An icon ( to use a word I hate). 

Probably July 1972..

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=iciAYIIRG5YC&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=ramblin+jack+elliott+david+amram+toronto&source=bl&ots=vnID6scvqa&sig=ACfU3U2af2EQeZhQOxUcv8lajKh29lZNTA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiwheSth6rqAhW8QEEAHbixDV0Q6AEwA3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=ramblin jack elliott david amram toronto&f=false

Edited by sidewinder

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On 29.6.2020 at 10:56 PM, sgcim said:

I've spent the last week writing an arr. of a David Amram piece, and think that he was a great composer/jazz french horn player, but I mentioned his name to a friend once, and he thought of him as a 'charlatan' of sorts. Have you ever heard Amram characterized as such?

FWIW, Down Beat (through reviewer Ralph J. Gleason) was less than flattering in the  2 1/2 star review of the Amram-Barrow group LP on Decca (Jazz Studio No. 6 - The Eastern Scene) in 1957, making fun of the odd instrumentation (including the "tuben" here, a sort of downsized tuba with an unswinging, "mournful" tone) and wondering what would come next - the "serpent", "bombardo" and bagpipe (this was before Rufus Harley ^_^)? R.J.G. found the music on that LP "contrived to a point of painfulness" and "being more trick than treat".

I don't know how that LP fits into the overall works of Dave Amram (except tha it seems to have been his only jazz leader date of the 50s and 60s) but maybe impressions like this echoed elsewhere too?
I have the reissue of that LP so will give it a spin again soon. From what I remember I found it interesting and somewhat amusing but considering how fast other forumists here have resorted to accusations of gimmickry, "cuteness" etc. in the case of other recordings I wonder what credentials (that place him on a pedestal) an artist would have to accumulate elsewhere to AVOID this kind of putting down in cases like this.

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9 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

FWIW, Down Beat (through reviewer Ralph J. Gleason) was less than flattering in the  2 1/2 star review of the Amram-Barrow group LP on Decca (Jazz Studio No. 6 - The Eastern Scene) in 1957, making fun of the odd instrumentation (including the "tuben" here, a sort of downsized tuba with an unswinging, "mournful" tone) and wondering what would come next - the "serpent", "bombardo" and bagpipe (this was before Rufus Harley ^_^)? R.J.G. found the music on that LP "contrived to a point of painfulness" and "being more trick than treat".

I don't know how that LP fits into the overall works of Dave Amram (except tha it seems to have been his only jazz leader date of the 50s and 60s) but maybe impressions like this echoed elsewhere too?
I have the reissue of that LP so will give it a spin again soon. From what I remember I found it interesting and somewhat amusing but considering how fast other forumists here have resorted to accusations of gimmickry, "cuteness" etc. in the case of other recordings I wonder what credentials (that place him on a pedestal) an artist would have to accumulate elsewhere to AVOID this kind of putting down in cases like this.

On 6/30/2020 at 9:13 PM, ghost of miles said:

No, I haven't--and I don't think Charles Mingus would have countenanced charlatans.  Personally speaking, I've been lucky to hang out and talk with Amram several times over the past 10 years, and the guy just brims with good creative energy.  Emailed him about the show last week and got an effusive response that left me hoping that I can still cook like that when I'm 88.  So glad you liked the program!  There's an Amram music bed ("City Talk," from his 1957 Jazz Studio album) that starts at 6:00 in and runs for a couple of minutes under the narrative. 

Amram did have a great interest in 'world music' (like Tony Scott), decades before the more recent fad, and liked to feature himself playing non-Western instruments from his journeys all over the world. Probably Gleason didn't think they fit in that well in a jazz situation.

Amram was a special case, in that he never took the academic route that most classical composers took, so he had to make a living as a composer/multi-instrumentalist, and embrace other types of music other than jazz to make a living, and indulge in self-promotion to survive. Perhaps all these things gave my friend the impression DA was some sort of 'charlatan'.

I worked regularly with George Barrow for a few years, and he never had anything but praise for Amram's playing and writing.

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I heard Amram play a few times  (he used to sit in with Joe Albany) - and listened to that album - I have no doubt he is completely sincere, but he's not in any real sense a jazz musician. He's had an interesting life, and I don't know his compositional work, however.

Edited by AllenLowe

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A friend of mine in Toronto was driving cab one night and picked up Amram with Ramblin' Jack Elliot!  One of the highlights of his cab driver career. 

He recently ( well, several years ago-- at my age everything is recent since Elvis died) did the music for a film a friend of mine made.

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6 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

I heard Amram play a few times  (he used to sit in with Joe Albany) - and listened to that album - I have no doubt he is completely sincere, but he's not in any real sense a jazz musician. He's had an interesting life, and I don't know his compositional work, however.

He sounds good on his tunes, but I could see where a classically trained musician might not be able to cut sitting in with someone like Joe Albany. Probably didn't know any tunes.

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