David Amram: To Laura for Ted Joans

David Amram:

To Laura for Ted Joans

Dear Laura:

 - I just heard about Ted’s passing and wanted to tell you how sorry I was, and hope you will know that you are not alone, and that many like myself (I knew Ted since 1956) will always miss him, as you and his children.

 - So will all the people around the world of all ages, whose lives he touched.

 - As I wrote in my book Offbeat; Collaborating with Kerouac, Ted was the one who called me to tell me of Jack Kerouac’s passing in 1969.

 - I hear his voice everyday, telling me that it couldn’t have possibly have happened. It seems impossible that Ted, like Jack, is still not with us, and being larger than life, he will probably continue to surprise us by showing up in our minds and hearts when we least expect it.

 - Now Ted is with Jack, and they will have to build a new after hours club in heaven to accommodate them both during their late night/early morning jam sessions, when all the other angels are sleeping

 - If I could be of any help for a memorial, or for establishing a scholarship fund for young poets, painters and musicians in his name, in the USA or Canada, or in Paris, please let me know.

 - I’ll dedicate my two nights at the Shakespeare Books Literary Festival in Paris (June 11th and 12th) in Ted’s memory. He has many friends there.

 - I also have a wonderful VHS of us doing 12 minutes scat duet at NYU Conference
in NYC in 1994, which I could send to his family and/or you, for whatever value it might have. He was a masterful performer and improviser of words as well as music.

 - He was always the friend and the consummate jazz poet to all of us who were improvising musicians, from the 50′s until his leaving us.

 - During the years I played with the bands of Mingus, Oscar Pettiford, Dizzy, Lionel Hampton, Mary Lou Williams and many other of the giants of jazz, Ted was someone we all felt was a brother spirit, because he knew what the music was about,

 - Ted could scat sing on a par with any of us, and he understood the music, the struggle, the high goals, the spirituality and the dedication which we all shared, and the feeling of inclusiveness, and the positive energy we always shared with everyone, no matter how hard the circumstances were.
That is what the music was and will always be all about. That’s what Ted’s whole life was all about.

 - Ted was a great jazz spirit, a natural born bard and troubadour who played his horn using words, and a spreader of joy everywhere he went.

 - His openness, warmth and sense of adventure and daring was/is what jazz and all true music of any genre is all about.

 - My thoughts go to you and his kids. (I knew the younger ones, now all grown)

 - My own three children, now all grown, loved him since they were little tots, as all kids did.

 - He may have left us, but he will always still be here in our hearts.

 - My best to you and all those beautiful kids.

 - David Amram

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About Denise Enck

Denise is a writer and editor of Empty Mirror. She has edited several literary magazines and her work has been published online and in print since the 1980s.