Steve Dalachinsky, the great jazz scene poet, the last of the beat poets, a great poet in his own right, died last week. As something of a symbol of his life, he caught the Sun Ra Arkestra then gave a reading before he was felled by a massive stroke. He died with his wife in attendance and his favorite jazz and doo-wop music playing alongside.
I had the great pleasure of working with him for the previous six years—doesn’t seem that long, but that was a lot of time and a lot of fun—editing him at the Brooklyn Rail, listening to his readings on our podcast recordings, bullshitting with him, seeing him at almost every jazz performance I went to.
Other people were closer to him, and there’s a set of reminiscence at ArtNet that tell you so much about the man. What I would say is that you should read his poetry and his books:
He was excellent in an earthy, street-wise way that is so hard to find now in contemporary poetry. And listen to him too: this album he made with David Liebman is great, and here is an extensive set with Federico Ughi that was recorded at the Knitting Factory in 2002:
I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.