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Loren Connors, Isobel Sollenberger, Steve Dalachinsky
February 11 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm| 12 - 15
Saturday, February 11th, ISSUE brings together venerable improviser Loren Connors, vocalist and flutist Isobel Sollenberger and poet Steve Dalachinsky for a layered evening of guitar, flute and poetry. Connors performs a solo set, presenting his distinct, expressive guitar playing that has evolved continuously over four decades. His approach wavers between outlining bare, instrumental miniatures and glowing electric guitar poems — always threaded with an ever-present compassion that has become the signature of his solo work.
Following, vocalist and flutist Isobel Sollenberger, best known for her fronting the celebrated Philadelphian psych band Bardo Pond, joins Connors for a duo performance blending Connors’ soaring textures with her dreamlike free-flute accompaniment. Sollenberger’s ethereal approach has expanded her group’s pummelling sonics — enough so that Bardo Pond was described as “Obviously, the greatest band in the world…” by Three-Lobed Recordings founder Cory Rayburn.
Lastly, poet and avid sonic advocate Steve Dalachinsky, who has long occupied a unique role in New York’s jazz firmament, joins Connors and Sollenberger for a trio performance blending their idiosyncratic approaches. Dalachinsky’s ISSUE performance with Charlemagne Palestine was described by Steve Smith in The New York Times as “beholden to the Beats but seasoned by meaner times, recited with a jazz-horn flow … 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.”
Loren Connors has improvised and composed original guitar music for over four decades. His music – which embraces the aesthetics of blues, Irish airs, blues-based rock and other genres while letting go of rigid forms – has been recorded on Family Vineyard, Northern Spy, Drag City, Recital, and other labels. Connors names abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko his most important influence, and has honed his aesthetic not only through music but also through experimentations in haiku and visual art. He has performed with Thurston Moore, Keiji Haino, John Fahey, Kim Gordon, Tom Carter, Jandek, and others. Connors also performs with an avant blues band called Haunted House, together with vocalist Suzanne Langille, guitarist Andrew Burnes and percussionist Neel Murgai. Masters of Cinema released the Carl Dreyer film, The Passion of Joan of Arc, featuring a soundtrack composed and performed by Loren Connors. In recent years, Connors has focused mostly on live recordings of extended blues abstractions, with occasional performances in a more avant blues rock vein from time to time through the Haunted House band and collaborations with other artists.
In July 1979, Cadence Magazine noted that Connors, who had recently emerged in the music scene, was “similar to others in the Advanced Guard of improvising guitarists in that he is trying to extend the boundaries of sound and pitch of acoustic guitar, but he is unique in the utilization of Blues in his work, one could almost say this is Avant Garde Blues. He’s swimming in new waters and beginning to make his own environment.”
Isobel Sollengerger is most widely known as the ethereal voice and hypnotic, free flute that grace the music of Bardo Pond, a psychedelic rock band formed in 1991 that has recorded on Fire Records, Matador and other labels.Bardo Pond creates intense yet unbridled rivers and washes of sound, but with, as New York Press put it, “helpful dollops of structure, rhythm, and a clear echo of the blues.” While the Philadelphia-based band’s sound is rooted in psychedelic rock, they resist categories and are always experimenting and evolving. In addition to Sollenberger, the members of Bardo Pond include Michael Gibbons (guitar), John Gibbons (guitar), Clint Takeda (bass guitar) and Jason Kourkonis (drums).Sollenberger, who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and whose visual art collaborations in paper, plaster and ink with John Gibbons as “Dechemia” have been featured in many exhibitions in Chicago, Philadelphia and elsewhere, brings an aesthetic composition to her creative improvisations. In addition to her work with Bardo Pond, Sollenger has performed with Helena Espvall (cellist), Tara Burke (Fursaxa), Christina Carter (pianist) and others. She has also performed as part of Third Troll, together with Michael and John Gibbons (guitars), Kevin Moist (saxophone) and Aaron Igler (synthesizers).
In the poetry of PEN Award-winning beat poet Steve Dalachinsky, as writer Jake Marmer put it, “thought flows like a saxophone melody: alive and unhindered, suggestive rather than descriptive, fragmented, and held together with a musical sort of logic.” Two key elements in his poetry are spontaneity and transformation rather than description, with a preference toward non-linear, non-narrative thought. Dalachinsky has been writing, reading and publishing poetry for decades, often in the context of music. He has worked with such musicians as William Parker, Susie Ibarra, Matthew Ship, Daniel Carter, Jim O’Rourke and Loren Connors. His main influences are the Beats, Blake, The Odyssey, obsession, socio-political angst, human disappointment, music, and visual art with leanings toward abstraction. He has regularly performed at the Vision Festivals, an annual avant-jazz event. Indeed, he is so closely associated with avant music that one commentator wrote that if you go to an avant-jazz event in New York City and Steve Dalachinsky is not there, “you’re probably at the wrong address.” Dalachinsky’s books include “A Superintendent’s Eyes” (Hozomeen Press 2000), his PEN Award Winning book The Final Nite & Other Poems: Complete Notes From A Charles Gayle Notebook 1987-2006 (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006), a compendium of poetry written while watching saxophonist Charles Gayle perform throughout New York City, and “Logos and Language”, co-authored with pianist Matthew Shipp (RogueArt 2008) and Reaching Into The Unknown, a collaboration with French photographer Jacques Bisceglia (RogueArt 2009).