Poetry News

Steve Dalachinsky, Charlemagne Palestine, and Joe McPhee Rock the House at Issue Project Room

By Harriet Staff

steve dalachinsky

According to Steve Smith of the New York Times, Ugly Duckling Presse poet and rock star Steve Dalachinsky killed at Issue Project Room on Tuesday night.

The poet Steve Dalachinsky is as consistent an indicator of a high-quality concert experience as any I have found during 20 years of concertgoing in New York. Surely, you reckon, he’s also seen some duff dates in his decades as a regular habitué of the city’s nightclubs, concert halls, lofts and provisional spaces. But I have trouble recalling any significant, edifying or exhilarating free-jazz or total-improvisation concert I’ve attended at which Mr. Dalachinsky has not been in the audience, rough-edged, congenial and ready with an opinion.

That notion held fast on Tuesday night, when the Issue Project Room in Downtown Brooklyn hosted the second concert of Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain, a festive 10th-anniversary series running through late October. The event brought together three important, idiosyncratic artists representing disciplines that Issue has helped nurture during its first decade.

Mr. Dalachinsky, reliably, was present. This time, though, he was a star attraction, starting a long evening that included sets by the saxophonist Joe McPhee and the pianist and performance artist Charlemagne Palestine.

A mixed bag for sure, but Mr. Dalachinsky drew connections in his opening remarks. He and Mr. McPhee, fellow travelers in the ecstatic-jazz scene, knew each other well, he said, adding that he and Mr. Palestine were more recent acquaintances but had bonded quickly as fellow Brooklyn Jews and misfits. [...]

Mr. Dalachinsky, beholden to the Beats but seasoned by meaner times, recited with a jazz-horn flow. He rushed one phrase and elongated the next; occasionally he stuttered on a single syllable, and then released the pent-up tension in a gush. Mr. McPhee, on tenor saxophone, mustered a pastor’s incantatory tone to recall the September 1963 bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Ala. In an eruptive soliloquy partly based on Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” and partly on the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” he repeated the names of the four schoolgirl victims like a mantra.

Read more at NYT!