Kickstart Sound Poetry, Ken Berman’s Jazz Album Inspired by Allen Ginsberg & Bob Dylan

Here’s a chance to be a patron of the arts on what­ev­er scale you can afford. Last week Ken Berman, a San Fran­cis­co-based jazz musi­cian (and the teacher of an excel­lent Bob Dylan class at Stan­ford) launched a Kick­starter cam­paign to fund the record­ing of an album called Sound Poet­ry. Born out of Berman’s friend­ship with the late poet Eythan Klam­ka (1967–2011), the project builds on Klamka’s notion that “any good musi­cian is a sound poet.” “Con­vinced that the finest impro­vi­sa­tion is essen­tial­ly a lyri­cal art,” Berman draws “inspi­ra­tion from a range of diverse sources, whether Zen prac­ti­tion­er Thich Nhat Hanh, W.B. Yeats, Langston Hugh­es, George Gersh­win, Bob Dylan, and of course the jazz greats from Duke Elling­ton, Lester Young, Bil­ly Stray­horn, Miles Davis to Bill Frisell – all of whose unique con­tri­bu­tions con­tin­ue to be guide­posts and indi­cate the realm of pos­si­bil­i­ty in impro­visato­ry art.” To date, sup­port­ers of the Sound Poet­ry project have pledged $4,956 of the $11,150 goal, and the fund­ing peri­od still has 25 days to go. Con­tri­bu­tions will help pay for every­thing from stu­dio time, mix­ing and mas­ter­ing, to cre­at­ing cov­er art, man­u­fac­tur­ing CDs & DVDs, pub­lic­i­ty for the album, and a three con­ti­nent tour. You can learn more about Sound Poet­ry from the video above and make your own con­tri­bu­tions here. If you pledge $15 or more, you’ll get a copy of the album upon its com­ple­tion.

You can also sam­ple Ken’s ear­li­er com­po­si­tions here or vis­it his web site here. And if you live in the San Fran­cis­co Bay Area, I’d encour­age you to check out Ken’s course Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan. It will be offered in July through Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies and it’s open to the pub­lic.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.