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Jazz And Jack Kerouac

On the Road, like many of Kerouac's other writings, celebrated and invoked the music of Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and many other jazz greats.

Jazz Kerouac: the novelist's work was informed by the music in ways both subtle and overt.

“Here were the children of the American bop night,” Jack Kerouac wrote in his 1957 novel On the Road, which, like many of Kerouac’s other writings, celebrated and invoked the music of Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and many other jazz greats. We’ll mark this weekend’s 50th anniversary of the publication of Kerouac’s best-known book with a program that explores his relationship with jazz, including recordings he made with saxophonists Al Cohn and Zoot Sims as well as talk-show host and pianist Steve Allen, the bop that the author and his friends drew inspiration from, singer Mark Murphy’s Kerouac tributes, and an interview with musicologist-of-hip Phil Ford.

More about Jack and jazz

  • In 1959 Kerouac recorded a narration for the 26-minute film Pull My Daisy, scored by jazz musician David Amram, that featured poets Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, and other members of the beat scene. You can view the film here and read an interview with Amram about Kerouac here.
  • Jazz writer Larry Kart wrote an illuminating essay years ago on Kerouac’s relationship with jazz; recently he posted it over at Organissimo.
  • Listen to music historian Sam Charters’ talk about Kerouac and jazz.
  • An NPR story about the creation of On the Road.

Here’s Kerouac reading from and discussing On the Road on The Steve Allen Show:

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