COLUMN 105, MAY 1, 2004
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
AT THE BOWERY POETRY CLUBMAY 27 MULTICULTURAL MUSIC JAM SESSION AND BOOKSIGNING PARTY
A spectacular multicultural music jam featuring American master musician David Amram and a Bengali Baul from India, Babukishan Das, will highlight a booksigning party at New York's Bowery Poetry Club to celebrate the publication of BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES, VOLUME ONE OF THE BEST OF THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST.
Author Al Aronowitz, a legendary New York journalist, will sign copies of his book at the club, located at 308 Bowery, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 27. As the man who introduced Allen Ginsberg to Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan to the Beatles and the Beatles to marijuana, Aronowitz likes to boast:
'the "60s wouldn't have been the same without me."
The book contains first-hand descriptions of meetings between Dylan and the Beatles that no other writer can describe because no other writer was there at the time. Also participating in the music jam will be jazz saxophonist Hayes Greenfield; Chicago blues guitarist Ladell McLin; Jazz Foundation president Wendy Oxenhorn on harmonica; Kevin Twigg on drums and John DeWitt on bass.
Babukishan Das, familiarly known as Babu, is the son of the celebrated Bengali Baul. Purna Das, whom Dylan introduced to American audiences by posing with Purna for the cover of Dylan's "John Wesley Harding? album. Purna's son, Babu, who has a hit recording on India's pop charts, has made a name for himself by writing scores for many of the films streaming out of India's film capital, known for some reason as Bollywood.
Amram, described by the Boston Globe as "the Renaissance man of American music," has also composed scores for films, including 'splendor in the Grass? and 'the Manchurian Candidate." In addition, he has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber works, written two operas and appears as guest conductor and soloist with major orchestras around the world. He has also toured internationally with his jazz quartet.
Greenfield is well known in the New York area. Oxenhorn often appears with McLin, who has been compared to a young Jimi Hendrix. Twigg and DeWitt often accompany Amram. Admission will be $10 at the door. ##
I sent the above out as a press release as part of my campaign to win some recognition for BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES, VOLUME ONE OF THE BEST OF THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST, which is just beginning to attract the attention of book reviewers, the mainstream media and booksellers. Meanwhile, everyone who claims to have read it showers praise on me and on the book, termed a "masterpiece? by Sally Grossman---the widow of Bob Dylan's brilliant original manager, Albert Grossman.
And here's what Ed Galing, the 87-year-old "poet laureate of Hatboro, Pennsylvania," wrote me:
". . .the book shines with wonderful memories; anecdotes, a way of writing that holds my attention and captivates me with so many intimate things that you share with the reader. I could not put this book of yours down for a minute. i have read it over more than once, each time getting something new out of it. I love your style of writing. I also am honored to know you, a!, and enjoy your anecdotes, and your way with words. You are a great Journalist. It's to their loss that you are not, right now, working on a good newspaper, where you really belong. i hate when things go wrong for talented people like yourself, who deserve better from this world. this book will certainly take its place among great works of the past. it is history. you were indeed a part of it ... i also enjoyed your own thoughts and comments on all these celebs
vou are a genius, my friend. i am happy that you picked ME out of the crowed. after all, we are so different in every way. i am a 87 year old old fart writing, and never ever, ever having met a celebrity. except you. through you, i now can say i know the Beatles, Ginsberg, Harrison, and all those rock and roil times, that i can only read about. . ."
You can also read a more critical review by Hammond Guthrie on the Empty Mirror Books website at http://www.emptymirrorbooks.com/reviews/bob-dylan-beatles.html . The same review also appears in Counterpunch, an English publication. But that's enough of plugging my book. My purpose here is to plug this multicultural Music jam, which stars such talented friends of mine as David Amram, Babukishan Das and the lesser known, but no less gifted Hayes Greenfield. Of course, John DeWitt and Kevin Twigg have become friends of mine by association because they regularly play in combos with Amram.
And I hope to become friends with Wendy Oxenhorn and Ladell McLin, which is why I invited them to play in this jam. I misidentified Wendy as the president of the Jazz Foundation, Actually, she is the executive director of the foundation. I first saw the two of them play behind John Sinclair while he read his poetry at a farewell party before leaving for the Netherlands. Ladell's guitar not only enthralled me but it reminded me of what a young Jimi Hendrix sounded like. I wasn't astonished to learn that Ladell's playing also reminded others of Hendrix.
Babukishan---I call him Babu---radiates energy. He has that missionary zeal found in children driven to outdo their fathers, whether consciously or not. Babu's father is the great Purna Das, who was driven to outdo his own father, Nabani Das, the great patriarch of the Bengali Bauls. Babu's drive to popularize Baul music is all-consuming. Not only does he teach, perform, and write music---most recently for India's Bollywood film mill---but he has an intense desire to fuse Baul music with various American genres.
And various American genres are what Dave Amram plays. He conducts symphony orchestras, has his own jazz group and sings rap songs he makes up on the spot. Like Babu, Dave himself is a whole show. Then we've got the jazz sax of Hayes Greenfield, an old friend, and the harmonica of Wendy Oxenhorn, who regularly accompanies the Chicago blues guitar of Ladell McLin. I predict you'll hear Ladell's name a lot in music's coming years.
Dave and Babu played together at an impromptu session arranged last December by my son, Joel Roi, but the others in this musical aggregation have never played together before. So this jam session is something of an experiment that leaves me curious as hell to hear what it's going to sound like. You can read below about the varied experience all these musicians are bringing to this jam. AND It's going to be recorded. Come witness it and hold onto your hats!
Now, come meet the cast of musicians who will be participating in this remarkable multicultural music jam. The following bios have been submitted by the musicians themselves.