Loren Mazzacane Connors
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2011)|
|Birth name||Loren Connors|
|Also known as||Guitar Roberts, Loren Mattei, Loren MazzaCane|
|Born||October 21, 1949|
|Origin||New Haven, Connecticut|
|Genres||Blues, outsider music, experimental|
|Instruments||Electric and acoustic guitar|
|Labels||Family Vineyard, Northern Spy|
|Website||Loren Connors web site|
Loren MazzaCane Connors (born October 22, 1949, New Haven, Connecticut) is an American experimental musician who has recorded and performed under several different names: Guitar Roberts, Loren Mazzacane, Loren Mattei, and currently Loren Connors. He is a prolific collaborator who has worked with artists including Alan Licht, Jim O'Rourke, bassist Darin Gray, Thurston Moore, John Fahey, Keiji Haino, Jandek, Suzanne Langille, avant garde poet Steve Dalachinsky, Chan Marshall, Margarida Garcia, Kath Bloom and blues musician Robert Crotty.
An early champion of Connors's music was Dr. William Ferris, noted blues historian who served as head of the National Endowment for the Arts under the Clinton Administration. Connors made contact with him in the late 1970s, while Dr. Ferris was teaching at Yale University. Although Ferris did not know it at the time, Connors was the janitor who cleaned his office. Many years later, Ferris wrote the liner notes for a sweeping compilation CD set of Connors's seven-inch recordings, called "Night Through."
Best known as a composer and improviser on acoustic and electric guitar, Connors has released over 50 albums, on commercial record labels such as Table of the Elements and Father Yod as well as on his own Black Label, St. Joan and Daggett self publishing imprints. They include spare solo and duo blues, ensemble experimental jazz, noise, drones, and folk music. From 1981-1984, Connors released six limited edition albums with singer-guitarist Kath Bloom. In the mid-1980s, Connors took a partial break from music and honed his compositional skills by focusing on the art of haiku. He received the 1987 Lafcadio Hearn Award, and he and life partner Suzanne Langille also co-wrote an article on blues and haiku, "The Dancing Ear," published in the Haiku Society of America's journal. (A book of Connors's work from this period, "Autumn Sun," was re-released by Thurston Moore and Byron Coley a couple decades later.) He wrote under the name Loren Mattei, and a music recording from this period, "Ribbon o' Blues," was also released under that name.
Soon after returning to music, Connors began working with layered tracks. The first of this period was the "In Pittsburgh" album, released in 1989 (reissued by Dexter Cigar label in 1996). This approach to recording continued through the 1990s. Langille's vocals were featured on several recordings, and she also helped edit the music. Many of these releases were on the RoadCone label, managed by Mike Hinds. Such recordings were interspersed with live performances of guitar duets. The first of those recordings was with Japanese guitarist Keiji Haino, introduced to Connors by WFMU DJ David Newgarten, who then produced the recording, released in 1995. This was followed by the first of several recordings with guitarist Alan Licht in 1996.
In the mid-to-late 1990s he led the blues-rock group Haunted House with Langille, Andrew Burnes (of the band San Agustin), and percussionist Neel Murgai. Connors and Langille also joined with San Agustin's David Daniell and Burnes for a recording on the Secretly Canadian label. In the late 1990s, Connors and John Fahey met at a Chicago event, introduced by guitarist Jim O'Rourke. Fahey, who died in 2001, included on his last CD, released posthumously in 2003, a piece called, "Red Cross, Disciple of Christ Today (for Guitar Roberts)," referring to Connors's nickname. In the mid-2000s, Connors met and performed with Jandek, a long-time improviser whose unique independence and originality had often been compared to Connors's. Since the 1990s, Connors's main label has been Family Vineyard, managed by Eric Weddle.
Connors was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1992. He continues to perform and record. Some of Connors's works are archived at the Blues Archive of the University of Mississippi. The University of South Carolina also has a collection of his music.
- Two Nice Catholic Boys (Family Vineyard 2009), with Jim O'Rourke
- Sails (Table of the Elements 2006), with John Fahey
- Night Through: Singles and collected works 1976-2004 (Family Vineyard 2006)(incl. Robert Crotty, Suzanne Langille, Haunted House)
- Departing of a Dream Volumes 1,2 and 3(Family Vineyard, early 2000s)
- Suzanne Langille, Loren MazzaCane Connors, Andrew Burnes and David Daniell (Secretly Canadian 1999)
- Airs (Road Cone 1999)
- Hoffman Estates (Drag City 1998), with Alan Licht, Jim O'Rourke and others
- Evangeline (Road Cone 1998)
- MMMR, 1998 (with Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore, Jean-Marc Montera);
- In Bern (Hat Hut 1997), with Jim O'Rourke
- Ninth Avenue (Black Label 1995)
- Moonyean (Road Cone 1994)
- Hell's Kitchen Park (Black Label 1993), with Suzanne Langille
- Rooms (St. Joan 1990), with Suzanne Langille
- Blues: The Dark Paintings of Mark Rothko (St. Joan 1990)
- In Pittsburgh (St. Joan 1989; Dexter's Cigar 1996), with Suzanne Langille
- Moonlight (St. Joan 1984), with Kath Bloom (to be re-released on Chapter Music 2009)
- Restless, Faithful, Desperate (St. Joan 1983), with Kath Bloom (re-released on Chapter Music 2009)
- Solo Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vol. 1-9 1979-1980 (Daggett Records series, re-released on Ecstatic Peace/Father Yod 1999)
- Kronick, Ilana (November 12, 1998). "Loren MazzaCane Connors: avant blues guard". The Gazette.
- Morris, Chris (DECEMBER 27, 1997). "Connors Finds Growing Base For Guitar Musings". Billboard.