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tearing the rag off the bush again
Dear Andrei

Just saw your name on Jayne Lyn'sotes page also sent to me of her fine poem about NY NY.

Everyone still talks about the great show you did at JazzMouth Fest in 2007.

Billy collins did it last year and we all had a great time.

I'll be gong back for fifth year and Mose Allison and Bob Durough will also be there, two GREAT musicians.

Been working like mad.

finished new piano concerto, playing at Madison Sq Garden this May 3rd for Pete Seeger's 90th birthday and doc film being made about all my life's activities, including filming of my opera "12 night" , chamber music and symphonies and jazz compositions i have written, Kerouac collaborations etc (wish we had filmed what we did together) all for release Nov 17 EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY!!
{Serious senior bopper Action!}

but as i tell kids when they ask me how i still put in 16 hour days, i tell them that 80 is.....the NEW 95!!!!

May be coming back to Louisianna next year and will let you know.

My computer crashed a year ago and I lost your address.
as F book is hard to navigate!

As I mentioned,  I got my new piano concerto written in time and premiered  in mid January in San Jose California and am now composing new pieces while back on that endless road.

Great to be back home from my latest foray into the dark heart of America after my barnstorming tour through Florida.

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You can see the URL below for first leg of about nine events in four sleepless days and nights.


I even visited a FUNKATISSIMO bar/food shack in Astor, whose town motto is.......

"A quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem"

Here is great Active ImageFlorida fixer-upper.
[The scorpions and alligators are included in sale price!!]
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[Notice the trees growing out of the back bed of the truck!!]

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For last leg of the trip, I stayed at the Lee House, a 200 year old falling down former manse where during a late night storm, the leaking roof formed a torrent of water like an irrigation ditch RIGHT OVER MY BED and forced me to grab a beach towel and crash out on a ratty couch where the leaks were milder!

Active ImageThe woman in charge of the Lee House (where i was the only customer) was a sixty eight year old from Wisconson who told me she always wanted to be a detective(!!!) so she went to Police Academy but couldn't cut it and came down to Florida to be a concierge at this  deserted boarding house, which was like the Bates Motel in the film Psycho.


For the more scholarly moments of my trip, when i first arrived in Orlando, and then in DeLande at stetson university, before my excursions into the unknown, please access....,0,3780608.column


Active ImageI just got invited to play at Madison Square Garden in a great concert, this May 3rd for Pete Seeger's 90th birthday. which will be a fund raiser for the Clearwater Foundation.

The proverbial cast of thousands includes  Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, John Melloncamp, Emmy Lou Harris....and a huge number of gifted artists all paying their respects to one of our true greats, Pete Seeger, and his beloved Clearwater Foundation.

I'll be performing with the Native American Indian Cultural Alliance (Buffy St Marie, Carlos Nakai, joseph Firecrow, Richie Havens and Roland Moussa).

Tickets went on sale  Monday , and are all gone!


Here is what I wrote for the Clearwater Foundation, who are organizing it.

Active ImageIt should be an incredible night, and you can see the mammoth list of performers on line.

all best cheers and big hugs to your wife.

hope to see you nd if you are in NY area and i am not on the road, we will have a rendezvous.


To Pete on his 90th
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Pete Seeger has been a source of inspiration to me since I saw him playing a concert for Henry Wallace's presidential campaign in the 40's. When we first played together in the 60s, he was already a role model of someone whose art and life were all about sharing ones blessings with others and using music as a way of uniting all people.

Just a few weeks ago, we were filmed playing a duet as well as doing an interview for an upcoming PBS show honoring the radio show Woody's Children, hosted by Bob Sherman of the New York Times.

I reminded Pete, after we did everything in one take, with no rehearsal, of how Woody's son Arlo had often said about Pete "Whenever I play with Pete, we never rehearse and it always come out right."
In a half a century and hundreds of events with Pete, we still haven't rehearsed yet.. That's because Pete is the consummate musical artist who always knows the right thing to do and puts you into his world to the extent that you surrender yourself to the music and to the moment as he does. When you play with Pete, you can't go wrong.

One of my favorite unrehearsed moments with Pete was in the 1960s when he invited my jazz quartet with the great drummer Elvin Jones to accompany him on his classic song "Where Have all the Flowers Gone" in a concert we were doing in Tompkins Square Park in NYC.

When the master baritone sax player Pepper Adams asked me "What the hell is that?" drummer
Elvin Jones, who was playing in our quartet with Pepper that night said "Pepper, it's deep. You'll dig it. Just a few chords but a whole lot of soul. When you hear Pete sing it, you'll know what to do."

Over the past fifty years, we have played countless benefits, folk festivals, fund raisers for Native American causes and dozens of events for World Peace through music and programs for his beloved Clearwater. Since I live a few miles from the Hudson River, it is incredible to see what Pete and Clearwater have accomplished.

Fish swim in the Hudson River again, and people enjoy the pristine waters, which not too long ago were well on the way to becoming a toxic nightmare. Pete, and all the volunteers he has inspired, made what many considered his dream of cleaning up the Hudson become a reality.

Like a whole generation of today's young people, my own three children, have all grown up with their lives enriched by his music and his philosophy. Today's young people all know of Clearwater's example of how all of us can make a difference. And that all of us can and must make a contribution.

When my son got married last summer and Pete and Toshi came, we talked a little about how amazing it was that the ideals which were considered so radical long ago were now becoming part of the mainstream. And how our children and future generations would now become involved more than anyone ever dreamed of, in having a sense of responsibility for the planet's survival.
And we reminisced about our playing together with Arlo and a large contingent of Native Americans in 1978 who had walked all the way across the country for The Longest Walk to bring attention to their culture and the need for all Americans to come together and show respect for one another as well as for our Mother Earth.

I told Pete how Floyd Red Crow Westerman, with whom I played for forty years, said to me "Dave, Pete is what we Lakota call a straight arrow. He walks the walk he talks."

I am grateful to be playing with the Native American Indian Cultural Alliance, accompanying  Roland Moussa for this historic concert, and such a stellar group of other committed musical artists who are all gathered together to honor Pete's glorious selfless ninety years and to benefit the Clearwater, and assure its survival.

As they say in the South "We are the honey that draws the flies."

All of us, from all styles of music, are there to celebrate both Pete and  the ideals that Pete embraces. And to see that the Clearwater continues, stronger than ever.

Happy birthday Pete, you are the embodiment of Dylan's song "Forever Young"

David Amram
March 20, 2009
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