David Amram Soundies


In 2009, FATW principals were fortunate enough to meet Larry Kraman, a multi-faceted talent with his own eclectic audio label, Newport Classic, who is a film producer, writer, editor, camerman, and just about everything else that has anything to do with musical content. We told him about our Soundies collection; he got us to go down to the Village to hear David Amram, and before we knew it, Larry had produced a series of David Amram introductions and commentaries to fourteen of our digitally mastered and upgraded Soundies.  (Larry’s prodigious imagination also led us to a guy who digitally “remixed” one of them, Boogie Ride, for a project that never got off the ground, but it was so spectacular that we registered it for copyright anyway.  It wasn’t until we got our Mr. FAT-W Video label going with Amazon.com, that we had the means to release them.  The next section, voluminous as it is, as an absolute must if you are to understand just how outstanding a musician David is.  Larry has authorized us to link this page to the trailer for his biopic of David Amram, "David Amram:  The First 80 Years."

ABOUT DAVID AMRAM – from Wikipedia

“David Amram (born November 17, 1930) is an American composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, and author. As a classical composer and performer, his integration of jazz (including being one of the first noted as an improvising jazz French hornist[1]), folkloric and world music has led him to work with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Willie Nelson, Langston Hughes, Charles Mingus, Pepper Adams, Leonard Bernstein, Sir James Galway, Tito Puente, Mary Lou Williams, Joseph Papp, Arthur Miller, Arturo Sandoval, Stan Getz, Pete Seeger, Elia Kazan, Christopher Plummer, Ingrid Bergman, Odetta, Lord Buckley, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Allen, Machito, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Allen Ginsberg, Nina Simone, Gregory Corso, Bob Dylan, Steve Goodman, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, T.S. Monk, Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Levon Helm, Betty Carter and Jack Kerouac. In the early 1950s, he was encouraged to pursue his unique path by mentors Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, the New York Philharmonic's conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, Miles Davis, Aaron Copland, Gunther Schuller, and visual artists Jackson Pollock, Joan Mitchell, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. Today, as he has for over 50 years, Amram continues to compose music while traveling the world as a conductor, soloist, bandleader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages.

David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the scores for the films Splendor in the Grass and The Manchurian Candidate; two operas, including the Holocaust opera The Final Ingredient, a comic opera Twelfth Night with a libretto by Joseph Papp; and the score for the 1959 film Pull My Daisy, narrated by novelist Jack Kerouac. He is also the author of three books, Vibrations, an autobiography, Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac, a memoir, and Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat, all published by Paradigm Publishers. He is currently writing his fourth book, "David Amram: The Next 80 Years," to be published in 2014.

Along with Julius Watkins, Amram is considered a pioneer of jazz French horn. He also plays piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, as well as being an improvisational lyricist. Since working with Leonard Bernstein, (who chose him as The New York Philharmonic's first composer-in-residence in 1966), he has been one of BMI's twenty most performed composers of concert music of the last thirty years.

Some of Amram's most critically acclaimed recent orchestral works include Giants of the Night, a concerto for flute and orchestra (commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway in 2002); Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie, (commissioned by the Woody Guthrie Foundation and premiered in 2007); and Three Songs: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (written for and premiered by pianist Jon Nakamatsu in 2009). Currently Amram is working on a new orchestral piece, a new chamber work, and is participating in releases of a new series of CDs of his orchestral chamber music and jazz compositions. Violin virtuoso Elmira Darvarova and members of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra participated in the annual New York Chamber Music Festival, performing an evening of Amram's chamber works at Symphony Space in New York City, to be released as a CD in 2013. Amram guest conducted the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver in a program which included his "Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie" and "Theme and Variations on Red River Valley," for flute and strings, both of which will appear on a new CD of Amram's music in 2013. The Boston Symphony's classical saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky has commissioned Amram to compose a new work, "Greenwich Village Portraits," to be premiered worldwide February 1, 2014, by forty different saxophone soloists in forty different venues, sponsored by The Worldwide Concurrent Premieres and Commissioning Funds, Inc. There are plans to release a CD of Amram's symphonic and chamber compositions for saxophone with Radnosky as the soloist in 2013. Radnofsky also appears with Sir James Galway, Pete Seeger, Kurt Elling, Buck Henry, Tiokaskin Ghost Horse, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, David Broza, Candido, Bobby Sanabria, the Queens College Orchestra (conducted by Maurice Peress and Candido), singers and players from the LSU Opera, and other artists, in Lawrence Kraman's new documentary feature film David Amram: The First 80 Years. Amram also appears in Andrew Zuckerman’s book and new feature film documentary Wisdom: The Greatest Gift One Generation Can Give To Another, as one of the world’s 50 Elder Thinkers and Doers, and his instructional video, Origins of Symphonic Instruments, released by Educational Video, is shown in over 6,000 schools throughout the United States and Canada. Amram's many honors include the borough president of Brooklyn's creating David Amram Day in 2009, celebrating Amram's 29 years as the Brooklyn Philharmonic's conductor and narrator for free school, community, and parks concerts, pioneering world music and soloists of many genres with the European classics presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The Lincoln Center Performing Arts Branch of the New York Public Library has acquired the complete archive of David Amram's manuscripts, scores, recordings, videos, photographs, and artwork. There are plans for exhibition, and the archive provides the opportunity for scholars and the general public to study his work. All of his concert music is published by C. F. Peters Corporation. Douglas A. Yeager Productions Ltd represents Amram for all of his live appearances and residencies.

Recent Awards

    On November 16, 2011, Amram was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and given their Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award for his sixty year career as one of the first jazz french hornists, a multi-instrumentalist, a pioneer of world music, a scat singer, the creator with author Jack Kerouac of Jazz Poetry in 1957, and one of the first conductors to bring the worlds of jazz and classical music together during the past fifty years.

    On November 19, 2011, Amram was awarded the 1st Annual Bruce Ricker Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by Clint Eastwood's editor Joel Cox. under the auspices of The Paso Digital Film Festival.

    On November 10, 2012, Amram was the recipient of the second annual Pete and Toshi Seeger Power of Song Award at Symphony Space in New York City, in a gala evening presented by Peter Seeger's Clearwater Foundation.

    Amram is also the recipient of six honorary Doctorates."


What we hope will be the first of many "Amram Soundies" was released on the Mr. FAT-W Video label in December 2015; the digitally mastered and upgraded Soundies have introductions and closings by David Amram -- perhaps the best-qualified person in the world to analyze them musically.  The Soundies in this volume are:

             (1) “Shine” –  9/4/44, Bob Howard
             (2)  “Twelfth Street Rag” –  2/16/41, Charles “Buddy” Rogers and His
                          Orchestra, Bobby Sherwood
             (3) “Blues In The Night” – 1/28/42,  Cab Calloway and His Orchestra,
                          The Cabaliers (the Four Palmer Brothers, vocal quartet)
             (4) “Cielito Lindo” – 10/13/41, The Four King Sisters, “Skeets” Herfurt,
                          Dick Morgan, Alvino Rey and His Orchestra
             (5) “El Cumbachero” – Telescription, date unknown; The DeCastro Sisters
             (6)  “Sophisticated Lady”-- 1952, Duke Ellington and his Orchestra
             (7)   “Hot In The Groove” – 12/14/42,  Erskine Hawkins and his Jiving
                          Sepia Scorchers
             (8) “The Minute Waltz” – 6/5/44, Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra
             (9)  “Come To Baby Do” –  2/25/46, The King Cole Trio (Nat “King”
                         Cole, Oscar Moore, Johnny Miller”)
             (10) “Au Reet” – 10/11/43, Jimmy Dorsey and Orchestra,Helen O’Connell
             (11) “Thanks For The Boogie Ride” – 2/9/42, Anita O’Day, Roy Eldredge,
                        “The Ace Drummer Man Gene Krupa and His Orchestra”
             (12)  “Ozzie Nelson Blues” –  2/15/43,  Hal and Honey Bee, The Collegiates,
                      Ozzie Nelson [Rickey Nelson’s father, and part of the famed “Ozzie and Harriet”
                      radio team] and his Orchestra
             (13) “What More Can A Woman Do?” – 1951, Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour
             (14) “Tyrone Shapiro” – 10/6/41, Willie Howard, Sam Medoff Orchestra

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