Butch Morris, Jazz Bandleader And Conductor, Dies – by Patrick Jarenwattananon
Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, an improvising musician who pioneered a system of ensemble interaction he called Conduction, has died at a hospital in New York City, his publicist confirmed. He had lung cancer, which was diagnosed last August. He was 65.
Morris, a Vietnam War veteran, first gained recognition among musicians as a cornet player. His most prominent impact, however, came as a bandleader of structured improvisation. He devised a vocabulary of gestures, signifying actions for musicians to follow: repeat, sustain, play louder, among others. Standing in front of an ensemble, which only sometimes had written scores in front of it, he then deployed those gestures according to his imagination and intuition. His musicians were free to interpret them as they saw fit, giving the performances a distinct flavor of unpredictability and intimacy. Read on>