Album Reviews

David Amram – This Land

Artist:     David Amram

Album:     This Land

Label:     Newport Classics

Release Date:     02/23/2015

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At 84, David Amram still inspires and marvels at our potential and possibilities. And though he characteristically would pooh-pooh such platitudes, he stands beyond the Beats, Bop, The Beatles, Bernstein, and Beyonce as one of the true social, musical, and cultural ambassadors still in our midst.

Since striking an enduring friendship with Guthrie in 1956, Amram has sought to create a wider, more cinematic work (his soundtracks include The Manchurian Candidate, Splendor In The Grass, Pull My Daisy) based upon Woody’s most beloved song “This Land Is Your Land.” Nearly sixty years on, with the blessing and additional impetus of Nora Guthrie (Woody’s daughter and curator of his vast archives) This Land: Symphonic Variations On a Song by Woody Guthrie comes to vivid fruition.

Like Charlie Mingus (with whom he played French horn), Amram has never shied away from incorporating the music of the world at large into his compositions. So, as he conducts the widely acclaimed Colorado Symphony Orchestra, This Land sweeps us up from an Okemah, OK Saturday night stomp on soothing and roiling percussion, Celtic flare, Latin spice, Mexican dance, polkas, crescendos, bright brass fanfares and Appalachian melodies, landing, as Woody did, in the multi-ethnic hustle, hymns, and rhythms of downtown New York.

– Mike Jurkovic

 

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