I first met composer and multi-instrumentalist David Amram 25 years ago when we did a late night radio interview at WPFW-FM. I knew about his music, of course, his film scores (The Manchurian Candidate, Splendor In The Grass, Pull My Daisy) and collaborations with leading jazz, classical, folk and world music artists. But that free-wheeling conversation taught me something about dedicating yourself to a creative life that transcends genre or stylistic boundaries.
A couple of decades later I noticed that Amram recently posted on his Facebook page a note about a new documentary being made on his life, David Amram: The First 80 Years. So we arranged to show the film in our Jazz In The Spring film series. The film itself is an insightful meditation on Amram’s life and music, but what made the evening so very special is that Amram and the director Larry Kraman came to the Library for the screening–Kraman introduced the film and Amram took questions afterwards. You can see a YouTube clip I shot of Amram’s impromptu flute performance here. Amram spoke about the joy he derives from music and why we need to nurture creativity among children. He also talked about his years growing up in Washington DC attending concerts of the Budapest String Quartet here at the Library of Congress (see a YouTube clip of his story here), and he shared a story about Charlie Parker visiting his apartment on 16th Street for a late night culinary improvisation (see a YouTube clip of his reminiscence here). David, let’s continue our conversation!