RIFFS 2010
Dig "Ode to Lord Buckley"
David Amram website
Published January 18, 2010
Ode Is The Mode, Dad!

He is approaching the 80th celebration of his natal day swing but, let me hip Thee, this mother is not spending his money - he is blowing his gold!! David Amram, last of the true beats, hippest of the hipsters, musical statesman, composer of both the serious and sassy, has just released the first movement of his composition "Ode to Lord Buckley" Concerto for Saxophone on YouTube. If that is not truely on the beam then you hip me!

Dr. Noah Getz solos with the Loudoun Symphony under the swingin' baton of conductor Mark McCoy. Use the link on the left to dig "Ode to Lord Buckley".

David accompanied Lord Buckley on his very last gig at one of George Plimpton's chi chi literary soirees on the upper Eastside of New York. Of that gig David remembers


"The party was being given so that Lord Buckley would have an opportunity to perform in New York City. Because of the Cabaret Card law he was not able to perform in any nightclub or bar which were the venue of what people that did what he did were able to perform at at the time. I think George Plimpton hoped that perhaps some of the literary people would be able to hear how someone, doing something spontaneously or a routine that had been worked out, could create a level of prose poetry that was unparalleled in any writing at the time. And then even some of the major writers there would say, “Man, this guy is a stone genius. Let’s help him to be appreciated by America at large.”

So, Lord Buckley first was standing off on the side, sort of like a eccentric, multi-millionaire, polo playing English lord going to seed. And people were kind of realizing that this was some kind of far out cat, although they wouldn’t have used that terminology. But no one knew who he was and everybody was kind of socializing, drinking and hanging out in the quality lit style of the day. And George Plimpton got up and made a speech introducing him saying

“This is Lord Buckley, a marvelous writer, extraordinary talent and his improvising abilities are really ‘san pari’ Please let’s listen to this amazing person.”

Lord Buckley turned and said,

“My Lords and Ladies, welcome to the court of King George.”

Meaning King George Plimpton. And then he turned to me and said,

“Play me some Shakespeare in the Park.”

And he began to do Julius Caesar, Hipster Flipsters and Finger Poppin Mamas and people were completely blown away. Then instead of stopping, not realizing that the 7 minutes was more attention than most people who came to those events had, he continued. He did about 45 minutes and it was phenomenal and people grew increasingly restless because really were impressed enough and they figure well if George wants us to do something this guy is obviously brilliant we can put him in some show. We can put him in something. But Lord Buckley wasn't thinking in that way. To him that was another Lord Buckley moment where he could share his magical stuff. And he saw people were responding. Meanwhile, Norman Mailer began to heckle him. Saying well you know we've got a lot of very intelligent, literate people here we'd like to kind of have a conversation too. I think this is kind of dominating the scene for the evening a little bit. And Lord Buckley who had worked for Al Capone gangsters could have handled any heckler in the world. Said well, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Court of Lord Plimpton we must bid you adieu. Then he said to me "Let's spilt and get out of here, man."