SPIRIT: A TRIBUTE TO JACK KEROUAC was released at a gala
CD release party in October 2001, with many of the performers
on the CD among the standing room only crowd in attendance
at the Dove Cafe location where it was recorded live.
As has become a standard feature of nouveau beat gatherings,
the nationally prominent Amram generously adopts the role
of Kerouac emissary on this product, as well as performing
works and backing up a number of poets. From the first piece
on the CD, in which Amram intones the now-famous words "back
in 1956 I met Jack Kerouac for the very first time in New
York City at a bring-your-own-bottle party," to the final
cut 22 years later, as the composer and performer does his
piano tribute "as long as there's summer rain and early
morning fog, this song's for you Jack, this song's for you,"
Amram's supportive presence on the CD is reason enough to
make this release an enjoyable one for Kerouac fans.
As might be anticipated, a compilation tribute like this
is wideranging and the breadth of the material is such that
it would be hard for everything in it to please everybody.
Yet with folk music, jazz, straight up funky poetry in performance,
meditative pieces, and more, there is likely to be something
in SPIRIT to please most people.
SPIRIT was recorded on the evening of March 10, 2001 at
the Dove Cafe in a live event hosted by LCK! member and
local journalist Meg Smith, showcasing what was described
as "a cross-section of are talent." Among those who appear
are singer songerwriter Bob Martin, Kerouac scholars Paul
Marion, Rodger Brunelle and Steve Edington, Jim Dunleavy,
New Yorker Susan Bennett; and Carradini, the current head
of LCK!. Aside from Amram, fine bands such as Cactus Highway
and Empty House Cooperative may be heard as well.
Among the numerous fine cuts, Carradini scores a powerful
hit with his performance of Ferlinghetti's The Canticle
of Jack Kerouac, which rants and soars with plaintive joy.
In a more mood-filled piece, he also impresses with his
rendering of "Icicle Blue," which effectively sets a blue
mood and takes us along with him into unexplored nexus regions.
There's a piece for Stella Sampas Kerouac, another for Jack's
cats in heaven. A fine French piece "C'est la grande vent,"
Jack I can hear you, leverages from kicks joy and darkness
is read with translations by Roger Brunelle. And a bouncy
Susan Bennett produces a winner with her 2:27 a.m. truck
stop visit to America, offering up some funky coffee and
pie for those who picture Jack on the road across North
But fittingly, it is Amram - the CD opens and closes with
his words and song, and is liberally infused with his influence
- who provides the conclusive anthem for the gathering.
"This Song's For You, Jack" sings David - a statement applicable
to the entire 22-cut CD.