David Amram

 

Featured Inductee

David Amram (born November 17, 1930) is an American composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, and author. As a classical composer and performer, his integration of jazz (including being one of the first noted as an improvising jazz French hornist), folkloric and world music has led him to work with the likes of Dizzy GillespieLionel HamptonWillie NelsonLangston HughesCharles MingusPepper AdamsLevon HelmBetty Carter and Jack Kerouac. In the early 1950s, he was encouraged to pursue his unique path by mentors Charlie ParkerThelonious Monk, the New York Philharmonic's conductor Dimitri MitropoulosMiles DavisAaron CoplandGunther Schuller, and visual artists Jackson PollockJoan MitchellWillem de Kooning and Franz Kline. Today, as he has for over 50 years, Amram continues to compose music while traveling the world as a conductor, soloist, bandleader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages.

Amram is mentioned in the popular children's song "Peanut Butter Sandwich" by Raffi, in the line "one for me and one for David Amram", a fact which Amram said "impressed" his children; Raffi later admitted that he had mentioned Amram because he "couldn't think of anything [else] to rhyme with 'jam'."

Zelia N. Breaux (February 6, 1880 – October 31, 1956) was an American music instructor and musician who played the trumpet, violin and piano. She organized the first music department at Oklahoma's Langston University and the school's first orchestra. As the Supervisor of Music for the segregated African American schools in Oklahoma City, Breaux organized bands, choral groups and orchestras, establishing a music teacher in each school in the district. She had a wide influence on many musicians including Charlie Christian and Jimmy Rushing, as well as novelist Ralph Ellison. Breaux was the first woman president of the Oklahoma Association of Negro Teachers and was posthumously inducted into the Oklahoma YWCA Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame.D.C. Minner was born January 28, 1935. He was raised in Rentiesville by his grand mother, Lura Drennan, who ran a corn whiskey house while he grew up. “There was no electricity anywhere around, so she would have the guys come over with their acoustic guitars. That was my first time hearing live music.” said Minner.

Minner moved away when he joined the service. After he returned, he took up bass and worked out of Oklahoma City with Larry Johnson and the New Breeds. With this band, he performed behind O. V. Wright, Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Eddie Floyd, Bo Diddley and many more.

He moved to California in the late ’60s and had a band with Tony Mathews in Hollywood. Then he moved to the bay area, retired from bass, studied Yogananda, took up guitar and ran into his future wife, Selby. She was playing acoustic guitar and singing blues at clubs in Berkeley and San Francisco. With a desire to learn the electric bass, Selby became D.C.’s apprentice, and they left the bay area in 1977.

D.C., Selby and Blues on the Move toured non-stop for 12 years, and then returned to D.C.’s home place. They re-opened the Cozy Corner as the Down Home Blues Club in 1988, and it quickly became an after hours club. In 1991,
the Minners founded the Dusk ’til Dawn Blues Festival as a way to bring their fans and musician friends together from across the country.

The couple has received the Handy in Blues Education award, for their Blues in the Schools work, the Keeping the Blues Alive Award and in 1999 Minner was also inducted into The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. However, his proudest accomplishment was having his hometown rename part of the road that runs alongside the club in his honor. D.C. and Selby currently reside in Rentiesville, Okla., on D.C. Minner Street.

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