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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, December 4, 2023


Just as Duke Ellington's signature tune "Take the A Train" was the musical link between uptown and downtown in N.Y. City, so, too, did it serve to create a link between David Amram's trio and a warmly receptive audience at Tillet Gardens Wednesday night. There was the lingering question of just how an audience conditioned to classic music recitals would respond to Amrams eclectic approach to Jazz music. That question was answered by the audience when the trio followed up with Sonny Rollins "A Train."
Amram's credentials are endless and include classic compositions and composing for film. His score for "Splendor in the Grass" combined jazz and symphonic music in a new way. Amram displayed his mastery of a dozen "world music" instruments by playing the Latin ochrina, the double ochrina, the Egyptian chanai, the dumbek drum and a variety of penny whistles.
Guitarist Vic Juris honored the melody line with a well crafted solo on George Gershwin's "Summertime" and bassist Victor Venagas created a solid bottom on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Girl From Ipanema" while Amram made good use of the tambourine and bongo drum. The trio honored a request for Thelonius Monk's "Blue Monk" just prior to intermission as an addition to the scheduled program.
The evening proceeded with two "world music" selections, "Aaya Zehn", a traditional middle eastern composition, and "Charanga de Nueva York" written by Amram and inspired by his historic visit to Cuba in 1977 where U.S. and Cuban musicians played together for the first time in two decades.
The extensively traveled Amram is a skilled raconteur and the evening was further enhanced by his anecdotes on his international music adventuring. On the evening's closer, Amram's signature tune "Pull My Daisy" the leader sang scat, played piano and French horn in a style that would have made the song's co-author Jack Kerouack proud. In parting, all present left with good feelings and agreed with the Boston Globe that David Werner Amram III is "the true renaissance man of American music" and that Tillett Gardens was the place to that night.

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