East Broadway Rundown

East Broadway Rundown_Louis Armand_cover RGBby Louis Armand
(poetry/photography). 64pp.
Published: 2015
Publisher: Vlak Records

A photographic & poetic tribute to the 1966 album, East Broadway Run Down, by saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins–a recording which ended a period of intense productivity following the release of Rollins’ landmark, The Bridge, in 1962 & preceding the tenor great’s second extended sabbatical from the music industry. This book retraces Rollins’ steps from Williamsburg Bridge down New York’s East Broadway on the Lower East Side, following a path Rollins took for two years in his search for the “piece of music that was going to explain it all to me.”

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“Louis Armand’s poetry is unbending in its loyalty to the aesthetic and moral responsibilities of the avant-garde.” (Cordite)

“I begin at a point on the Island diametrically opposite. A window onto a fire-escape overlooking the most congested strip of highway in the US. George Washington Bridge, traffic in-bound from Jersey. It was a late rainy September night in a fourth floor room one block from Broadway, twenty something years ago. The neighbourhood was a dive. Broadway and west was the projects, black, Dominican, Puerto Rican. Fried chicken joints, greasy spoons, hustlers, hookers, crackhouses and drive-by shootings. History showed through the cracks, the odd remnant, a Republican Irish bar, a bagel joint, George’s Pizza and the Coliseum Theater on 181st Street, Reverend Ike on 175th. Times change. The end of the ’90s brought the upbeat. White middleclass gourmet coffee and wine bars. Tax-bracket creeps. The palisades are still there across the river only it costs more now to rent a view of them. On that night I was listening to a recording of the great Sonny Rollins, looking out through the fire-escape at the traffic and rain. Saxophone and Transit Authority loudhailers and car horns meshing in the oceanic surge of the bridge. And Mickey Spillane: Nobody ever walked across the bridge, not on a night like this. The rain was misty enough to be almost fog-like, a cold gray curtain that separated me from the pale ovals of white that were faces locked behind the steamed-up windows of the cars that hissed by. Even the brilliance that was Manhattan by night was reduced to a few sleepy, yellow lights off in the distance…

LA by Eliska Kovarikova at Jazz Rep with Mark Tierney Equus Launch 2012

Louis Armand with with Mark Tierney at Jazz Republic, Prague, 2012 © Eliska Kovarikova