Night Lights Classic Jazz

Ask David Amram

Amram KerouacMulti-instrumentalist, jazz/classical/world maestro, and Beat Generation icon David Amram will be appearing at Farm Bloomington for a jazz-poetry performance this Friday evening, June 27 at 8 p.m. EST in Bloomington, Indiana. Amram, whose music has been featured in Night Lights programs such as Jazz and Jack Kerouac and Jazz Studio 5 and 6 (as well as this weekend’s upcoming show Jazz Goes Folk, is one of the few modern-day figures who legitimately deserves that all-encompassing label “Renaissance Man.” He collaborated with Kerouac on some of the first-ever jazz poetry readings, wrote the background music for the underground Beat film classic Pull My Daisy, scored Hollywood films such as The Manchurian Candidate and Splendor in the Grass, worked with jazz musicians such as Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, and has more than 100 orchestral and chamber-music compositions to his credit as well.

Amram UpbeatIronically enough, I had Amram on the brain last week after using his marvelous 1957 arrangement of “Shenandoah” for the Jazz Goes Folk show–so much so that I was about to e-mail master jazz blogger Marc Myers and ask for Amram’s contact info (Marc did a great series of pieces on Amram last year), just so I could tell him how moved I’d been by “Shenandoah” and his music in general. I also thought that I should try to set up an interview with Mr. Amram–presumably far in the future–for a program solely devoted to his music. Lo and behold, Tuesday morning I found out that he’s coming to Bloomington this Friday…and after a quick e-mail exchange and phone conversation with one of the local people promoting his performance, it looks like we’ll be doing an interview tomorrow afternoon. (Life just has to happen like this more often, you know?) If any of you who listen to the show or browse the blog have a question you’d like me to ask Mr. Amram regarding his considerable canon, career, and history, please feel free to post it in the comments field below.

David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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