Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat

Front Cover
Paradigm Publishers, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 322 pages
0 Reviews
David Amram-composer, jazz artist, conductor, and world music pioneer-has been described by the Boston Globe as "the Renaissance man of American music." From early collaborations with Kerouac and Sinatra, chosen by Leonard Bernstein as the New York Philharmonic's first composer in residence, Amram's artistry has taken him from concerts with Willie Nelson to jamming with the Massai tribe of Kenya. In Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat, Amram recounts his extraordinary adventures in the many worlds of music he calls home, all told in a rollicking anecdotal style that makes you feel that you are at home around the world. He writes, "Everywhere I have been in the world, music transcends politics. As musicians, we were able to go beyond all that and just be fellow human beings." Threading through Amram's tale of music, hard work, respect, and friendship are unforgettable stories of fellow great artists-Dizzie Gillespie, Hunter S. Thompson, Janet Gaynor, George Plimpton, Lyle Lovett, Zoe Caldwell, Willie Nelson, and many more.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


on the Great White Way
The Genesis of Offbeat Collaborating
Scat and Makeup Songs the

2 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

David Amram has composed more than one hundred orchestral and chamber works; written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the classic scores for the films Splendor in the Grass and The Manchurian Candidate; composed two operas, including the ground-breaking Holocaust opera The Final Ingredient; and composed the score for the landmark 1959 documentary Pull My Daisy, narrated by Jack Kerouac. He is the author of the books Vibrations, an autobiography, and Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac, to be reissued by Paradigm Publishers in 2008. A pioneer of jazz French horn and World Music, he is also a virtuoso on piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from twenty-five countries. He is also an inventive, funny improvisational lyricist. He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, who chose him as the New York Philharmonic s first composer-in-residence in 1966, Langston Hughes, Dizzy Gillespie, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Charles Mingus, Wynton Marsalis, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Depp, Tito Puente, and many others. Amram s most popular recent works are Giants of the Night, a flute concerto commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway and dedicated to the memory of Charlie Parker, Jack Kerouac, and Dizzy Gillespie, and Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie. Today, Amram continues to compose music while traveling the world as a conductor, soloist, band leader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages. He is currently collaborating with author Frank McCourt on Missa Manhattan, for narrator, chorus, and orchestra, and composing a new piano concerto. All of his concert music is published by C. F. Peters Corporation.

Bibliographic information