David Amram, composer/multi-instrumentalist
We were honored to have as our guest multi-instrumentalist, composer and author David Amram, rightfully hailed as a Renaissance man of American Music for our Harlem Speaks interview series. Amram plays more than 35 instruments and played a significant role in introducing the French horn to jazz more than sixty years ago while a member in the bands of many of the 1950s jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus and Oscar Pettiford. He also developed friendships while jamming or recording with many other jazz legends such as Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Charlie Parker, Betty Carter, Stan Getz, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Nina Simone, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito d'Rivera, Candido, Ray Mantilla, Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Thad Jones, Sonny Rollins, and Wynton Marsalis, among others. Meanwhile, Amram also conducted 75 of the world’s great symphony orchestras, composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, 2 operas, 23 Broadway scores, and 20 film scores including Splendor in The Grass, Manchurian Candidate and Pull My Daisy. Other musical collaborators include Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Odetta, Jack Kerouac, Richie Havens, Steve Martin, Pete Seeger, Allen Ginsberg, Sir James Galway, and Johnny Depp. He has authored three books, and has written the Forewords to the new biographies of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Andrew Zuckerman’s book and film Wisdom: The Greatest Gift One Generation Can Give To Another, features David as one of the World’s 50 Elder Thinkers and Doers. Larry Kraman’s feature length documentary film, David Amram: The First 80 Year will be released in 2014, as will the CD live recording of Amram's THIS LAND: Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie.