Greg Thomas discusses Murray's connection with Ralph Ellison and his ideas about identity formation in American culture.
1950 and 1960s
Author Krin Gabbard sets aside the myth-making around bassist Charles Mingus to argue that he created a unique language of emotions—and not just in music. After exploring the most important events in Mingus’s life, Gabbard’s book takes a careful look at Mingus as a writer as well as a composer and musician. Classically trained and of mixed race, he was an outspoken innovator on his instrument as well as a bandleader, composer, producer, and record-label owner.
Robert O’Meally discusses his contact with Baraka as a student and his subsequent engagement with his writings. O’Meally focuses on Baraka’s liner notes to jazz LP albums, arguing that they too are an important and distinctive form of jazz writing. He discusses the notes to, and music within, 1960s albums by soul jazz tenor saxophonists like Willis “Gatortail” Jackson and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis.
Alice Coltrane was a composer, performer, guru, and the widow of John Coltrane. Over the course of her musical life, she synthesized a wide range of musical genres including gospel, rhythm and blues, bebop, free jazz, Indian devotional song, and Western art music. Franya Berkman's book, Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane (Wesleyan University Press, 2010), illuminates her music and explores American religious practices in the second half of the twentieth century. The talk by Dr.
Italian scholar Sara Villa, whose work focuses on Beat Generation writers, discusses Jack Kerouac's jazz criticism--and finds that Kerouac was more musically literate, and critically adept, than is conventionally thought. Villa gave this lecture at a talk on Jack Kerouac and jazz organized by the Center for Jazz Studies on March 12, 2009.
© 2009 Sara Villa. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Columbia Professor of Music John Szwed discusses improvisational techniques and references to jazz in Kerouac's writings. He notes that Kerouac, who first experienced Harlem as a student at Columbia, thus believed that "Harlem is part of my alienation."
Legendary Columbia Records producer George Avakian discusses his relationship with Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. Avakian's brother, film director Aram Avakian, was a character in a Kerouac novel. In this video excerpt, George Avakian begins by discussing his brother's friendship with Kerouac stemming from their days as classmates at the Horace Mann School in Upper Manhattan during the late 1930s. He goes on to describe the relationship he developed soon after with Kerouac, who reviewed of some of Avakian's first recording production efforts.
Composer, french horn player, writer and raconteur David Amram talks about his association with Beat Generation artists Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Larry Rivers, and Gregory Corso. Amram moves then to a discussion of the multiple connections of jazz and improvisation with modern culture. In this clip, Amram is introduced by Sara Villa, who talks briefly about Amram's role as a character and score composer in the movie "Pull My Daisy."
© 2009 David Amram. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Part II of this talk by Dr. Anne C. Dvinge of the University of Copenhagen includes an exchange between Dr. Dvinge and CJS Director George E. Lewis on the further questions her work raises. For Part I, click here.