Album Review: David Amram | Live in Germany 1954-2013 | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

David Amram
Live in Germany 1954-2013
(After the Fall Records)

Still very much with us and creating at the beautiful age of 92 is Beacon-based musician and composer David Amram. The genius multi-instrumentalist has a staggering resume of collaborators that no one else in American music can touch: Jack Kerouac, Charlie Parker, Jackson Pollock, Aaron Copland, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie, are just a few of the giants he's worked with during his incredible career. Live in Germany 1954-2013 pairs music from two great concerts co-led by Amram that were taped 60 years apart.

The 1954 set was recorded for the Armed Forces Radio Network and stars Armam alongside trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, a pioneer of European free jazz, and the Jazzkellar Band, a quintet that also includes the great pianist Jutta Hipp. Rescued from a rare transcription disc, the historic performance bounces with the bop of the era and has Amram and Mangelsdorff blowing joyously on standards ("Blue Skies") and the original "Dave's Blues." The 2013 concert finds him trading in his earlier French horn for piano, pennywhistles, Middle Eastern shepherd's flute, and vocals. With alto saxophonist Emil Mangelsdorff deputizing for his departed brother, it's a classy program that features the composer's tender score for the 1961 film Splendor in the Grass and yet more rapturous romps through standards, this time "Take the A Train" and Monk's "Straight No Chaser." As the maestro so sagely scats on the latter, "Be creative each and every day / because that is the jazz way."

Peter Aaron

Peter Aaron is the arts editor for Chronogram.
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