Poet/collagist STEVE DALACHINSKY was born in Brooklyn after the last big war and has managed to survive lots of little ones. His book The Final Nite (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006) won the PEN Oakland National Book Award. His most recent books are Fools Gold (Feral House, 2014), A Superintendent's Eyes (Unbearable/Autonomedia, 2013), and Flying Home (Paris Lit Up Press, 2015), a collaboration with German visual artist Sig Bang Schmidt. His latest CD is ec(H)osystem with the French art-rock group, The Snobs (Bam Balam Records, 2015). He is a 2014 recipient of a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His poem "Particle Fever" was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize.
FEB 2017 | Music
David Crosby said, “If you remember the ’60s, then you probably weren’t there,” and I always contended that no matter how stoned I got I remembered almost everything, and that he most likely wasn’t there. But I have felt lately as if the better part of the ’80s, that mostly white, Lower East Side world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, was a total blur.
APR 2017 | Music
Another thought is that diversity in general is key to making the best music possible, the best art possible, the best anything possible. So its important that women improvise. How boring it would be to have nothing but major scales or just one hue of red or white or blue.
JUNE 2017 | Music
For many, jazz has been viewed as a dirty word, particularly among musicians. Roland Kirk preferred to call it “Black Classical music.” Duke Ellington said there’s only two kinds of music, good and the other kind. Mingus hated the term, as did Max Roach and so many other great composers/musicians.
SEPT 2017 | Music
Some summer fare: Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan gave a stunning performance at Roulette for their ECM duo release Small Town, recorded at the Village Vanguard. The concert lasted an hour and a half and included most of the tunes on the CD and then some. It was a harmonious set that got better as it went along with Morgan (who has a touch of Charlie Haden in him) getting closer to Frisell’s energy, emotions, concept, and content. Bill has stated that Morgan is an extension of his ideas and this showed through by set’s end.
FEB 2016 | Music
I enter Paris after being away for more than two weeks. The train arrives on time. It is Sunday evening, less than two days after the attacks of November 13. I tap out a tune on the train window based on the announcement jingle. Montparnasse station is empty.
APR 2016 | Music
“If it’s something I like I have to write it myself [ ] I like that legendary string ” claims the narrator of Robert Ashley’s three-plus-hour non-opera Quicksand based on his novel of the same name.
JUNE 2016 | Music
Dexterity within the music sets the pace and the overture begins.
In her new chapbook Empty Set (Overpass Press, 2016), a collaboration with visual artist Alexis Myre, Anne Waldman has proven yet again why she is one of our major poets.
SEPT 2016 | Music
It was a summer filled with music, art, poetry, and violence. May, June, July saw such an upsurge in the latterwhat was one to do but submerge oneself in the former? Here’s a taste as I sit in my overcrowded mess, indulging in some Andrew Hill solo piano.
NOV 2016 | Music
I first heard Canadian-born pianist Kris Davis play with Paradoxical Frog at the Jazz Gallery, when it was downtown. It was also the first time I heard Ingrid Laubrock. I was hooked and knew immediately they were forces to be reckoned with.
FEB 2015 | Music
You might say that Ive taken a personal interest in Vito Ricci. Why? Is it because hes a friend? Collaborator? Mensch? Original? Consummate artist? Writer? Vietnam vet? Wonderful musician/composer? Well-kept secret deserving of wider recognition? If you guessed all of the above, youd be correct.
APR 2015 | Music
Its rare that I get badgered over and over again by a publicist to listen to his/her clients work, not really being a credible/full-time so-called critic/journalist, but for the past two months such was the case with so-and-so about listening to such-and-such CD and possibly attending a gig at an upscale club (which believe it or not, I turned down). Well, I did finally say yes to the CD and it arrived in the dead of winter and I listened to it on one of the coldest, snowiest, most miserable days of the year after just getting back from ditto weather in Boston.
JUNE 2015 | Music
The music was mesmerizing and the only thing I longed for was that it were somewhere in Spain in a dark, smoky café or basement, where all the passion and intimacy could be felt [...] There is a point where the artist transcends the context in which he/she appears, and such is the case with great Flamenco.
SEPT 2015 | Music
Originally written in 1995 and centering around the wackiness that was part of a quickly changing mid-’80s Manhattan, Stink has been published by Folio Book Club.
NOV 2015 | Music
Ive helped fuel my bad reputation that I hate vocalists and prefer singers. When asked what I mean, I give the Billie/Ella equation, or explain: Bessie Smiths a singer, Sarah Vaughns a vocalist.
FEB 2014 | Music
So I finally caught the Maria Schneider Big Band. So? So nothing. I just wanted to make that point.
APR 2014 | Music
Ok. Heres how two recent days went.
JUNE 2014 | Music
The moody scientist with the eye patch over his left eye walks toward the bureau and turns on the stereo. It consists of two very modern-looking components. My guess is a tuner and receiver. What sounds like Vivaldi or Bach suddenly wafts through the room. The year is 1954.
SEPT 2014 | Music
The newly recreated Charles Ives studio at the Academy of Arts and Letters is a must-see.
NOV 2014 | Music
So what makes France any different from New York in my case? Well personality-wise, nothing.
FEB 2013 | Music
After Henry Rollinss lecture at Joes Pub about his life, travels, how we should promote peace and be nice to each other, how hed mellowed with age and loved us all, why its important that the right guy got re-elected, how he boldly went around Haiti after the earthquake giving kids soccer balls, and how at 51 he was most likely the oldest person in the room, I asked him to sign a CD that included two of my friends.
APR 2013 | Music
A now-retired New York Times music critic once described me as a free-jazz cultist, and a famous downtown saxophonist/composer once called me a JAZZ SNOB. Both are true to varying degrees, and I wear these banners proudly. But anyone who knows me well knows that besides being a chatty little Brooklynite, I love most forms of arts, but I have definite preferences.
JUNE 2013 | Music
Ive been running around like a maniac and am closer to a nervous breakdown than ever before, while debating which gig to concentrate on.
SEPT 2013 | Music
I recently wrote that Id never go to IHOP again. But one night (more like 2 a.m.) after getting back from the Vision Festival, Yuko and I got hungry.
NOV 2013 | Music
Well, the conversation went on for six more hours, Taylor telling stories that started in the middle and never had endings. Stories about his mother, his aunt, his uncle, his grandmother, his father, and of course other musiciansmany times telling the same story over and over again.
FEB 2012 | Music
So Im walking down Spring Street on a blustery winter day, when Im greeted by the somewhat out-of-tune sound of an alto sax playing Bird. Suddenly I hear hysterical screaming coming from somewhere above, Shut up. Go home. You cant play. SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!
APR 2012 | Music
In a time of artificially inseminated culture, where half the poetry world and presses in America have been infiltrated by wannabe publishers and rock stars, I have foundat times rather suspiciously, motive-wisesome vague smattering of light through all the pretentious darkness.
JUNE 2012 | Music
A movie gangster once remarked, Its just money. Its made up. Pieces of paper with pictures on it. Then he shot the other guy dead and took his. Another said, Walmart [itself a kind of gangster] sells to the bottom ranks of the American working class.
SEPT 2012 | Music
Someone recently asked me what I did for a living. The proper answer would have been Breathe or Live. Instead I told him to ask Jim Feast while I went to the toilet.
NOV 2012 | Music
Five recent films: Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfsons remarkable Radio Unnameable deals with the histories of the indomitable Bob Fass, WBAI, and America from the late 50s to the present. Fasss archives, which include works of the greatest musical figures of that period, need a home.
FEB 2011 | Music
Its been said that Bernstein was music and Karajan made music. And to quote Johnny Depp as the Libertine, That any experiment of interest in life will be carried out at your own expense. To both ends I add the ideas that crystallized through my recent experiences in Paris.
MAY 2011 | Music
In the recent documentary Bill Cunningham New York, Cunningham states that if you did away with fashion it would be like doing away with civilization.
JUL-AUG 2011 | Music
Well, it’s summer again, and the number of festivals and outdoor concerts in the city has more than doubled.
DEC 11-JAN 12 | Music
Its the year 5772, and a lot has been happening since the Ark set sail. Were quickly approaching the season to be jolly, or an approximation thereof. Occupy Wall Street is in its 27th year, or at least it should be. So I will speak on events that led up to where I am now, sitting in a cold room listening alternately to Fela Kutis Greatest Hits and Bill Dixons monumental November 1981.
MAR 2010 | Music
Its all systems go at Systems Two Studio in Brooklyn. Its also Marge Records owner Gerard Terrones first foray into New York City. Hes been running around from club to club catching as many gigs as possible in his one short week here, but his main reason for the trip is to do a follow-up recording for the young, promising French saxophonist Alexandra Grimal.
JUNE 2010 | Music
One recent cold, full-moon spring night I was just about to give a second spin to Identical Sunsets, the new Dunmall-Corsano LP on ESP (the record is a killer), but instead the dial fell onto WKCR.
OCT 2010 | Music
On September 10, tenor saxophonist Theodore Walter Sonny Rollins, Harlem native and one of the last of the great boppers, celebrated his 80th birthday with a major concert at the Beacon Theater.
NOV 2010 | Poetry
Steve Dalachinsky was born after last big war managed to survive lots of little wars poet and contributing writer for brooklyn rail whose latest book is the mantis (iniquity press).
MARCH 2009 | Music
The new year has started off with a bang. Weve got a new administration that rode in on a tide of new promises and old music by the likes of Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Aretha.
JUL-AUG 2009 | Music
Whether youre walkin to New Orleans, or taking the train they call the City of New Orleansaside from the harsh truth of Katrina and her aftermath, and the still-massive efforts at recovery, and the Xs marking the many spots of the victimsonce you get there its both a nonstop party and tourist trap.
FEB 2008 | Music
The main problem with authorized biographies is that, well, theyre authorized. This means certain vital facts may be left out due to jealousies, estate disputes, etc. Such is the case with the long-awaited Moondog by Robert Scotto.
MAY 2008 | Music
For thirteen years the Vision Festival, which I am proud to be a participant in, has led a nomadic existence. Wandering from one venue to another, this brave band of Visionarieswith the stalwart Patricia Nicholson (dancer/choreographer and wife of the great bassist/composer William Parker) at the helm and a shifting cast of characters amongst the faithfulhas plodded through the institutionalized, gentrified, money-hungry waters of the Lower East Side, bringing with it always a sense of unity, community, creativity, and artistic integrity.
JUL-AUG 2008 | Music
George Lewiss 676-page magnum opus A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Musichas, after ten years of intensive labor, finally come out.
NOV 2008 | Music
I was recently diagnosed as bipolar, so I couldnt tell whether it was my mood swings and racing thoughts or those of the Xenakis opera Oresteia that so agitated me.
APR 2007 | Poetry
cut the fram (e) / unaltered process…
JUN-JUL 2003 | Poetry
..the equivalent of many behaviors
MAR 2017 | Music
I first encountered flutist Robert Dick in the mid-’80s when he was playing with the group New Winds at a venue in lower Manhattan. His playing astounded me and I’ve been a convert ever since.
MAY 2017 | Music
For years, Steve Joerg has been a devotee of this music we call free jazz, and has championed such giants as William Parker, Cooper-Moore, Matthew Shipp, and above all David S. Ware, along with younger ones like Darius Jones and Craig Taborn.
JUL-AUG 2017 | Music
I recently heard a friend of the Dalai Lama purport that, according to Buddhism, when you understand the nature of the world you are happy.
OCT 2017 | Music
Hello again from the city of light. I’m sure I’m, ha, greatly missed. I know I’ve missed you and all the good music, poetry, and art in New York this past month. One thing about Paris, it hasn’t completely become an overcrowded ghost town filled with designer dogs, designer donuts, and endless lines of folks waiting to buy fancy milkshakes and raw cookie dough—or maybe I just haven’t seen it yet, zombie that I am.
MAR 2016 | Music
It’s the first night of the Winter Jazzfest and a sold-out show. I’m looking forward to Colin Stetson who I’ve heard twice before and want more of, also the Ex, whom I haven’t heard in years. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a fan, just curious.
MAY 2016 | Music
I saw the wonderful dark frenetic 1965 Italian tragicomedy I Knew Her Well at Film Forum; it was directed by Antonio Pietrangeli, whom I knew nothing about, and who died tragically at age forty-nine in a drowning accident.
JUL-AUG 2016 | Music
Leaving Cornelia Street Café after an ecstatic set by the Kris Davis Quartet, I encountered one of the gentlest creations I have ever met: a red, white, and blue borzoi named Rhett. Like with all good therapy dogs we hugged, kissed, and smiled at each other until he gave me an “I’ve had enough” look, turned his back on me, and snuggled with another tourist in need. His owner told me that his crazy, oversexed girlfriend had sprayed the dog those colors a few days before, then abandoned it and him.
OCT 2016 | Music
“You’ll have fun,” she told her friend, putting her arm around her. “No, I don’t think so,” the other replied, sounding scared and apprehensive.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | Music
Drummer Tom Rainey and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock could not have formed a more perfect union—husband and wife and artistic colleagues—and it’s one that keeps expanding, collectively and individually.
MAR 2015 | Music
Recently, composer/musician/curator Dan Joseph and I discussed Matisse and how with the simple action of the scissors he managed to blur the boundaries between color and image, almost literally obliterating the use of the concretized line. Similar to what Joseph does with his stunning minimalist compositions and playing
MAY 2015 | Music
What really does happen when a sewing machine encounters an umbrella on an operating table? I cant say for sure though I have my ideas. But I can tell you what happens when a sewing machine encounters a piano and violin in a performance space.
JUL-AUG 2015 | Music
At my age, with all the music Ive experienced, its very interesting to view inter-generational artists within a short period of timeall of them with unique qualities and skills. I was recently asked in an interview if there were any young players out there that interested me. My answer was Yes. They range from ten to eighty-two years of age.
OCT 2015 | Music
Phone rings. I’m half asleep. It’s early morning and my seventh day of dealing with a severe kidney stone. “Hello.” “Is this Steve?” “Yes.” “Wow you’re as hard to get hold of as a pickle in a pickle drive.” (New one on me.)
DEC 15-JAN 16 | Music
We’ve had The Secret Garden. Grey Gardens. The Garden of Earthly Delights. The King of Marvin Gardens. Green Mansions, Home and Garden, and now: The Creeping Garden. So what exactly is slime mold? Well, it’s been decided that it’s not a fungus, but, rather than me giving away too much information, see the aforementioned The Creeping Garden, which played recently at the Film Forum.
MAR 2014 | Music
We are all traditionalists in a sense and though its rare, when an artist manages to find a new approach to an old tradition, infusing it with a fresh sense of individuality, while at the same time paying deep respect to its original form and intent, we invariably end up with the likes of one Joseph Keckler.
MAY 2014 | Music
Since I was a kid Ive been fired from four jobs, two of which I never got paid for. The first paying job: clerk in an art supply store. Reason for termination: too slow. The second paying job: in a print shop. Reason for termination: too stoned. The two freebies were: emcee of a festival, a job I held for 12 or more yearsreason:
JUL-AUG 2014 | Music
Ive been called rude before but never by the door-person. Anyway, I arrive late to a gig that was part of Zürich meets New York, featuring musician-composer Hahn Rowe and two androgynous, naked women chopping wood, flirting with rope, and generally distorting the worldview of Eden.
OCT 2014 | Music
In his long career, which includes a brief retirement, pianist Matthew Shipp has done it all. But what has been rarest has been his participation as a sideman or guest.
DEC 14-JAN 15 | Music
Friday night. Last set. Four young couples, apparently in love, line the walls of the Cornelia Street Café. They are infatuated and intoxicated by themselves and the music. I am intoxicated (yet again) on two gins provided me by the staff. The music, despite my state, is major. Tony Malabys Tamarindo, with Michael Formanek on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums. Ive mentioned Tony in these pages before but can only reiterate that he is one of those rare beings, one who continues to take risks and grow on his instruments: tenor and soprano saxophone.
MAR 2013 | Music
Suffering from jazzheimers, I find it increasingly difficult to cite my first encounters with certain folks, music, etc.
MAY 2013 | Music
I’m writing this in the new IHOP that, after two years of construction, has finally opened in the West Village. It’s a short walk from my house and close to where N.Y.U., like all the universities in this town, is planning to destroy more community property at the expense of the students and their unfortunate parents, giving no thought to the proletariat.
JUL-AUG 2013 | Music
Im painfully saddened that at a young age I gave up wanting to be a rock star, a blues singer, or a jazz drummer for three reasons: paranoia, stage fright, and ignorant elitism, aka self-indulgent, romantic, pseudo-intellectualism.
OCT 2013 | Music
I knew SoHo was changing when, early one pristine summer evening in the mid-80s, while I was out selling LPs in front of the Elise Meyer Gallery on West Broadway and Spring, a cute young woman walked by with her cute little designer dog. The dog promptly lifted its leg and relieved itself on my records.
DEC 13-JAN 14 | Music
Born in Raleigh, N.C. and raised in Charlotte, N.C., prolific composer, saxophonist, and clarinetist Charles Waters, who has been a quiet presence on the New York music scene for almost 20 years, states: Growing up I played hand bells and piano and sang in the choir [at the] Baptist Church.
MAR 2012 | Music
Gil Scott-Herons explosive memoir The Last Holiday is a must for any Scott-Heron fan. Published posthumously, it covers his life from childhood through his career up until the 1980s.
MAY 2012 | Music
To continue with the subject of rock lit (see my April article): There were all these young poets/singer-songwriters who worked at the old Knitting Factory on Houston Street in the 80s, many of whom eventually went on to achieve stardom.
JUL-AUG 2012 | Music
I am writing this in a crowded subway car on my way to a gig, afraid that if my foot touches someone somewhere, or I say God bless you to someone who sneezes, my photo will be snapped, my soul stolen, and Ill be hauled off in handcuffs.
OCT 2012 | Music
Ive been told time and time again that I should talk less about myself and more about the other. Well, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, who recently played Cornelia Street, has become one of my favorite groups.
DEC 12-JAN 13 | Music
I find the fact that I can read difficult to comprehend, and therefore I stumble along as I do so. With writing, on the other hand, I find the process a bit more natural, though awkwardly so; it is usually one or two steps behind the thinking that creates it.
MAR 2011 | Music
This month Id like to finish up with my listening experiences in Paris and talk about some of what Ive managed to hear since returning to Appletown. So here is my last bi-polar report between Paris and New York. And I promise, no intellectualizing this time.
JUNE 2011 | Music
So I am sitting here listening to one of my new favorite CDs, from a band called Commitment. The music, originally recorded between 198083, includes a reissue from vinyl and selections from an unreleased live concert in Germany. The band consists of Jason Kao Hwang on violin, viola, and bird calls
OCT 2011 | Music
Not since John Zorns Arcana project and Art Taylors Notes and Tones (which bassist William Parker says in his brief intro is the book that inspired him to do this project) has there been a book of interviews so vital, so down-to-earth, and so personal as this one.
FEB 2010 | Music
First off, I cant believe that while in Paris I got busted by the Métro cops for the second time in five years. The fine went up to a whopping forty euros.
APR 2010 | Music
It took me years to acquire a vinyl copy of Lou Reeds Metal Machine Music at a reasonable price
SEPT 2010 | Music
Weve lost a lot of music-related folks over the past few months: writer Harvey Pekar, saxophonist Fred Anderson, Dutch bandleader Willem Breuker, the great Abbey Lincoln, and composer, trumpeter, and friend Bill Dixon.
NOV 2010 | Music
There are three big birthdays and one anniversary in the music world in November, and all of them will be celebrated with major events.
DEC 10-JAN 11 | Music
So, dear reader, its that time of year again, and here I am suffering in gay Paree while youre over there in New York having a wonderful winter sippin your lattes and, I hope, doing more than just reading this article.
MAY 2009 | Music
Many years ago I asked a famous New York Times critic and a well-known jazz musician for advice on what I should do if I decided to write what passed for criticism.
OCT 2009 | Music
I was recently fired from my other journalism job and precisely for that reason. The boss claimed that my writing lacked journalistic qualities and that I was too personal, too general, and not analytical enough. In one discussion he had the gumption to tell me, Well, you probably hate writing for us, anyway.
MAR 2008 | Music
Let me start off by saying in this, my second attempt at writing a column, that I have many friends and acquaintances who consider themselves jazz journalists or music critics, and that Im not one of them.
JUN 2008 | Music
First, let me say that again I dont want you all to think of me as a narrow-sighted one-trick ponymeaning that Im not just a music junkie. I love all the arts, and I frequent galleries, museums, film, and readings, but my editor wants me to restrict myself to music so thats what I do. These past weeks have been fruitful, though in some cases disappointing, but Ill spare you all the details and just give you some highlights.
SEPT 2008 | Music
Two special treatsnot music in themselves, but with great musical contentwere the Nakadai film festival, which featured soundtracks by such greats as Toru Takemitsu, and Celebrate Brooklyns outdoor screening of Godfrey Reggios Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation. The latter featured live accompaniment by the Philip Glass Ensemble along with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
DEC 08-JAN 09 | Music
1. NEW YORK Im sitting here listening to my favorite Monk LP, Alone in San Francisco, while I write this, rejoicing in the fact that the revelatory and possibly most important and moving jazz chronicle, Three Wishes: An Intimate Look at Jazz Greats, by the Baroness Pannonica De Koenigswarter, an abstract painter and authentic Rothschild, has finally made it to where it belongs: America, and more specifically the New York/New Jersey area, where most of its story takes place.
APR-MAY 2003 | Art
Its funny how memory works. Selective memory. What one chooses to remember. Forget.