Music Program

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.

Hallwalls Artists in Residence Project (HARP), New York State Music Fund

Lawrence D. 'Butch' Morris

Conduction® #173 LEAP

Asbury Hall at Babeville 341 Delaware Ave. Buffalo

World-renowned conductor/composer/innovator Lawrence D. 'Butch' Morris conducts B.I.O. — the Buffalo Improvisers Orchestra live in Asbury Hall!
Buffalo Improvisers Orchestra:
Jenece Gerber (voice), Geoff Perry (violin), Mary Ramsey (viola), Jonathan Golove (cello), Greg Piontek (contrabass), Stuart Fuchs (acoustic guitar), Joe Rozler (piano), Michael Colquhoun (flutes), Mike Allard (alto sax), Steve Baczkowski (tenor sax-bass clarinet), Rey Scott (baritone-soprano sax-oboe), Bill Sack (electric guitar-prepared lap steel guitar), J.T. Rinker (laptop-live sampling), Dave DeWitt (tuba), Andrew Peruzzini (trumpet), Jim Whitefield (trombone), Ravi Padmanabha (tabla-percussion), John Bacon (vibraphone- percussion), Ringo Brill (djembe-congas-percussion).

con duc'tion (-duk'shun), n. 1. Act of conducting or conveying, as water through a pipe 2. Physics. Transmission through or by means of a conductor; also conductivity; —distinguished in the case of heat, from convection and radiation. 3. Physiology. The transmission of excitation through living tissue, esp. in a nerve.

Conduction® (conducted Improvisation) is a means by which a conductor may compose, (re)orchestrate, (re)arrange and sculpt with notated and non-notated music. Using a vocabulary of signs and gestures, many within the general glossary of traditional conducting, the conductor may alter or initiate rhythm, melody, harmony, not to exclude the development of form/structure, both extended and common, and the instantaneous change in articulation, phrasing, and meter. Indefinite repeats of a phrase or measures may now be at the discretion of the new Composer on the Podium. Signs such as Memory may be utilized to recall a particular moment and Literal Movement is a gesture used as a real-time graphic notation. Conducting is no longer a mere method for an interpretation but a viable connection to the process of composition and the process itself. The act of Conduction is a vocabulary for the improvising ensemble. In the past fifty years the international community of improvisers has grown at such a rate that it has forged its own in defining its present future. The geographic exchange of musics (not category) has enriched this community and holds it steadfast in its mission to be the medium with an appetite for expressing the moment. It is this Collective Imagination that is presenting the new challenge to technology and tradition with the hope of helping in the humanitarian need to broaden the language of communication. Here and now we have the possibility of helping to open new doors of employment to a community that has patiently awaited its turn to pave the way to the New Tradition, a product equal to the challenge.

Yours in Art,
Lawrence D. 'Butch' Morris
Composer/Conductor of Improvised Music

Lawrence D. 'Butch' Morris first became known as a lyrical, round-toned (if roughly hewn) free jazz cornetist. As his career progressed, his cornet playing took a back seat to his bandleading; Morris invented a style of organized group improvisation that's been dubbed "Comprovisation," an elision of composition and improvisation. Morris' organization relied on a conducting technique that he calls "Conduction." Conduction is basically a manner of shaping an improvised performance by using hand signals (an idea that was expanded upon by the lesser-known New York saxophonist/composer Walter Thompson). Morris was originally a free jazz player. In California in the early '70s, Morris played with such notables as his brother, the bassist Wilber Morris, pianist/composer Horace Tapscott, trumpeter Bobby Bradford, and tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe. In the mid-'70s, Morris worked around New York City with the likes of baritone saxophonists Charles Tyler and Hamiet Bluiett and tenor saxophonist David Murray. Morris lived in Paris from 1976-1977, where he began recording under the leadership of others. He made his debut on disc on a record by Lowe; he also recorded with French musicians, as well as the American expatriate soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. A 1977 performance in Amsterdam with Murray's Low Class Conspiracy band was recorded and released in two volumes on LP by Circle Records. The relationship with Murray would bear further fruit; Morris continued to play and record with the saxophonist for several years. Morris began directing Murray's large ensembles, which led to the development of his Conduction technique. Murray's big band music in the '80s was marked by Morris' presence as conductor. In the '80s, Morris continued to perform and record on cornet, sometimes under his own leadership, but mostly with Murray, Lowe, and the violinist Billy Bang. Gradually, however, his manner of spontaneous composition became his primary creative outlet. In the '90s, Morris became quite well-known in certain circles for his Conductions; his work began receiving attention outside the realm of jazz. He worked with artists from other disciplines—theatre, dance, and film—and began receiving monetary support from arts organizations like the national Endowment for the Arts and the Mary Flagler Cary Trust. By the end of the '90s, Morris had established himself as a major figure in New Music, performing his Conductions and lecturing all over the world. ~ Chris Kelsey, All Music Guide

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February, 2008 - 2008

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