Liner Note Author: Charles Waring.
This set from Chrome Dreams is essentially the same as Rhino Records' The Jack Kerouac Collection from 1990, although some of the added bonus material is a little different. Both sets present Kerouac's three LPs, 1959's Poetry for the Beat Generation and Blues and Haikus and 1960's Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation. These rather brave, and sometimes awkward, forays into combining Kerouac's poetic stream-of-consciousness writing style with jazz piano and tenor saxophones work surprisingly well at times, with the players reacting to the slightest shift in Kerouac's relatively monotone reading voice to lift things into an interesting place, although it really couldn't be said that Kerouac interacts with the musicians. It's definitely the other way around. But here's the funny part, or the best part, depending on one's stance on such things -- it does work as a kind of spoken word jazz hybrid, full of its own kind of joyously loose bounce. It's some kind of jazz, anyway, which means Kerouac and company actually did what they set out to do. ~ Steve Leggett