David Amram has been described as "the Renaissance man of American Music." His musical career has spanned participating with Jack Kerouac in the original jazz-poetry reading in 1957 in Greenwich Village to being honored as the first Composer-in-Residence for the New York Philharmonic and to playing in Farm Aid concerts. He's performed with an incredible variety of musical greats, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Willie Nelson, and and Tito Puente, and he continues to compose and tour nationally. Now available in paperback, following the 50th anniversary of the publication of Kerouac's classic On The Road, Offbeat is the rollicking story of this legendary musician and his adventures with his close friend Jack Kerouac. Amram and Kerouac shared a relationship based on creativity, respect, and fun, and Offbeat offers the reader a full share of each. This wonderful memoir takes the reader from the coffee houses of New York to the San Francisco Opera House and into the making of the now-classic film Pull My Daisy. Offbeat is Amram's energetic and heartfelt account of Kerouac and the creative community of artists-including Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Langston Hughes, and Neal and Carolyn Cassady-that courageously explored their creative potential and, in doing so, changed American culture forever.
(from first edition)
“David Amram is a national treasure and his memoir, Offbeat, is an account of how he got that way. It is a great rolling river of a book, packed with details of Amram’s relationships with the likes of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. If you wanted the ‘inside’ story of the Beat movement, here it is. Like Amram himself it is vital and energetic and it sings. I envy anyone picking up this book: It’s almost as good as listing to Amram himself.”
“David Amram is a musical prodigy with a genius for friendship. Offbeat tells an uplifting story of his close association with Jack Kerouac in vivid prose and riveting anecdotes. An essential new addition to the growing literature of the Beat Generation.”
“This fascinating book must put PAID to the myth that Jack Kerouac was ever the King of the Beats or the Father of the Hippies. In Offbeat, we get to know many of the legendary painters, poets, musicians and film makers of the Fifties and Sixties, and get to know Jack Kerouac as well. Amram recounts his enduring friendship and artistic collaborations during Jack’s lifetime, and his continuing efforts on Kerouac’s behalf to the present time of his own incredible career and creative genius. What stories! A book for your library.”
“Regarding Offbeat: Chaos brought together two extraordinarily gifted minds to form a comet which lit up the sky.”
“The conversations rang so true that I almost began to believe I had been sitting in the corner listening as Amram, Kerouac, Ginsberg and Corso talked, laughed and traded barbs over a bottle of wine.”
—Bill Morgan, from the new Foreword
"Offbeat challenges and dismisses the myth of a Beat Generation, replacing it with a riveting and heartfelt account of the community of artists of that era, and how they supported one another.”
“A piece of pure entertainment that also reveals the individuality of Amram's friends and gives the Beat stereotype its walking papers.”
“ … The book includes some excellent photographs … deepens understanding of the Beat milieu and the aspirations of its iconic figures. Recommended.