Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris Feb. 10 1947 - Ja. 29 2013

I received the sad news late last night that cornetist, arranger and "conductionist" Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris passed away only 65 years old, succumbing to cancer which he was diagnosed with last year. A fiercely original musician, he had worked closely with saxophonists Frank Lowe during the 70s, and David Murray for much of the 80s and early 90s some of it along with Butch's brother, Wilber, on bass.

"Butch" Morris developed a way for large ensembles to play improvised music using what he called conducted improvisation, or conduction for short. The resulting music straddled and blurred the lines between avant garde jazz and new music. The 1985 album Current Trends in Racism in Modern America was the first recorded example of Morris' conduction.

Ben Ratliff has written a fine obituary for "Butch" Morris in the New York Times.

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