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I learned from my uncle that jazz, like symphony music, was built to last.
– David Amram
There are a lot of wonderful things created in our culture that have been ignored that can speak to them.
I wish to share and pass down some of my generation’s traits, and encourage young people to create their own art, music, and literature.
When you are accompanying someone, you are listening to them the way you listen to a Bach Chorale, where four parts are going on at the same time, all of which are gorgeous melodies, all being played simultaneously.
Franz Kline, who became known for his black and white paintings, did a whole series of gorgeous landscapes and wonderful portraits that may still hang in Greenwich Village.
In a jazz atmosphere, the audience members were so quiet and respectful of the musicians that you felt you were almost part of a meeting at a church or a temple, where everyone was completely in tune with the sermon and what the whole event was about.
That is the way a great master carpenter feels, or an architect or composer or anyone who creates anything – people want to be appreciated for what they have done.
Esquire, in a July, 1957 issue, has a photograph of me playing the French horn at the Five Spot.
I was part of it, and I am still part of it today in terms of what it means to a whole new generation of people who are interested in the enduring energy, achievements, spirit and creativity that exemplified our era.
We met with the poet Frank O’Hara, who was a link between Upper and Lower Bohemia, and who worked at the Museum of Modern Art, where we had hoped to do the readings.
That is what I did with Jack, and that’s why he liked to do the readings with me because he knew I was there for him, and for our ability to blend the poetry and the music.
In symphonic music, when you are conducting, you do the same thing. You are feeling the whole orchestra, thinking ahead so you can prepare for a change.
Allen Ginsberg was a world authority on the writing of William Blake, and had an incredible knowledge of classic literature and world politics.
That by listening to some music, by reading some books, by looking at paintings, and most important by hanging out with one another – by collaborating with one another and creating your own network – you can achieve something that is much better than what is out there.
We had common interests in the beauty of the French language. We both had a tremendous love of jazz. We shared dreams of getting married and having a family, living in the country, leading an idyllic life.
The atmosphere was wide open in those circles that we traveled in.
In jazz, you listen to what the bass player is doing and what the drummer is doing, what the pianist and the guitarist is doing, and then you play something that compliments that, so you are thinking simultaneously and thinking ahead.
The Upper Bohemia people wore tuxedos in an art gallery, and Lower Bohemia was all of us.
When today’s generation reads Jack’s books or they listen to the music created by some of us, I believe that they see there is a different way of approaching today’s life and today’s sometimes seeming hopelessness that can provide answers.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti had a tremendous education as an artist and also an enormous knowledge of literarture.
Even before he had one book published, Jack was one of those people you could feel was very special.
The idea of the peace movement and of people who spent their entire lives trying to have a more egalitarian, just society, suddenly became swamped by the record industry, by the new rock and roll culture, and by the idea of not trusting anyone over thirty.
A few years later, my Uncle David took me to the Earle Theatre to hear Duke Ellington.