Miles Davis KIND OF BLUE

Miles Davis recorded this “best selling jazz record of all time” in 1959 with the Miles Davis Sextet, which included Davis on trumpet, John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly on piano, Jimmy Cobb on drums, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley on alto saxophone, and Paul Chambers on bass.

For more information on the recording of this album, check out NPR’s Jazz Profile of it at:


“Take Five” from the Album TIME OUT by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

This is the best known piece from jazz pianist and composer’s platinum album TIME OUT with saxophonist Paul Desmond (who wrote “take five”), bassist Eugene Wright, and drummer Joe Morello.

Jackson Pollock–“Lavender Mist”

Although he died relatively early in the Beat Movement (1956), artist Jackson Pollock is considered a central figure in the art of the beats. Alfonso Ossorio said of him: “Here I saw a man who had both broken all the traditions of the past and unified them, who had gone beyond cubism, beyond Picasso and surrealism, beyond everything that had happened in art.” This 1950 piece, “Lavender Mist” is considered seminal in his body work. Harold Rosenberg called it “…not a picture, but an event.”

National Gallery of Art Online

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

“…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

Sometimes called the “inventor of the Beats,” writer Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) was born to a devoutly Catholic French-Canadian family in Lowell Massachusetts. He went to Columbia University on a football scholarship, but dropped out. While in New York he befriended Allen Ginsberg and William S Burroughs. The three of them would form the core of the Beat Movement and their adventures together, along with Neal Cassady, would inspire Kerouac’s writing. Kerouac is best known for his novel On The Road, which was published in 1957. Kerouac continued to write, describing his experiences with Buddhism (to which he converted) in Dharma Bums and writing and narrating the film Pull My Daisy, among others, but never achieving the same level of acclaim that he had with On the Road. His drinking habit grew progressively worse, and he died at age 47 from complications from alcoholism, but not before creating more than two dozen published works and inspiring generations to come.


“Jack Kerouac”

Levi Asher “Literary Kicks”

Jack Kerouac–ON THE ROAD

“Jack Kerouac came to embody the counter culture and when he published On the Road, it became the Bible of the counter culture generation.” –Jay Parini

Although he had been toying the story for years, the legend is that Kerouac wrote his final draft of On the Road in three weeks.  Kerouac, a fast typer (averaging 100 wpm), did not like having to stop typing to change the individual sheets of paper, so he replaced them with a 120 foot scroll of typing paper, which contains the original manuscript of the book (except for the very end which was eaten by a Cocker Spaniel according to Kerouac’s note). Based on his experiences traveling the country with Neal Cassady (the model for character Dean Moriarty), Kerouac’s novel was an overnight success. Kerouac use a style of writing that he said was inspired by Jazz called “spontaneous prose.” To hear an example of this style of writing, watch the video in which Kerouac reads the final page of On the Road.


Jack Kerouac:

Andrea Shea “Jack Kerouac’s Famous Scroll ‘On the Road’ Again”