Butch Morris

Last updated
Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris
Butch Morris and Conduction.jpg
Butch Morris and Conduction in 2005
Background information
Birth nameLawrence D. Morris
BornFebruary 10, 1947
Long Beach, California, United States
DiedJanuary 29, 2013(2013-01-29) (aged 65)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation(s) Cornetist, composer, conductor
Instruments Cornet

Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris (February 10, 1947 - January 29, 2013) was an American cornetist, composer and conductor. He was known for pioneering his structural improvisation method, Conduction, which he utilized on many recordings.

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Cornet musical instrument

The cornet is a brass instrument similar to the trumpet but distinguished from it by its conical bore, more compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most common cornet is a transposing instrument in B, though there is also a soprano cornet in E and a cornet in C. All are unrelated to the renaissance and early baroque cornett.

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.



Morris was born in Long Beach, California. Before beginning his musical career, he served in the army as a medic in Germany, Japan and Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Morris came to attention with saxophonist David Murray's groups in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Morris's brother, double bassist Wilber Morris, sometimes performed and recorded with Murray during this period. Morris led a group called Orchestra SLANG. The group features Drummer Kenny Wollesen, alto saxophonist Jonathon Haffner, trumpeter Kirk Knuffke and others. He performed and presented regularly as part of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, held annually in New York City. Morris wrote most of the incidental music for the 1989 TV show A Man Called Hawk , which starred Avery Brooks, with whom he co-wrote the theme music, along with Stanley Clarke. He also played with well-known artist and would-be drummer A.R. Penck in 1990. For AudioBox Matera 1990: International Festival of Sound Experimentation (Pinotto Fava, curator), Morris created Spiriti Materani featuring Wayne Horvitz (keyboards, electronics), J. A. Deane (trombone, electronics), and Butch (cornet). The project took place in Madonna delle Virtù, a 12th-century rupestrian church in Sasso Caveoso, Matera, Italy.

Long Beach, California City in California, United States

Long Beach is a city on the Pacific Coast of the United States, within the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Southern California. As of 2010, its population was 462,257. It is the 39th most populous city in the United States and the 7th most populous in California. Long Beach is the second-largest city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the third largest in Southern California behind Los Angeles and San Diego. Long Beach is a charter city.

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.

David Murray (saxophonist) American jazz musician (tenor saxophone and bass clarinet)

David Murray is an American jazz musician who plays tenor saxophone and bass clarinet mainly. He has recorded prolifically for many record labels since the mid-1970s.

Morris is the originator of Conduction (a term borrowed from physics), a type of structured free improvisation where Morris directs and conducts an improvising ensemble with a series of hand and baton gestures. These conductions have received generally positive reviews, and are often considered quite unique, not quite fitting into any one musical genre. Critic Thom Jurek has written, "There are no records like Butch Morris' conduction sides, nor could there be, though he wishes there were." [1] and Ed Hazell writes, "At his best, Morris can shake players out of their old habits, or place a microscope on one aspect of a musician's artistry and build an orchestral fantasia around it." [2]

Physics Study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy

Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion, and behavior through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the logic or inclination of the musician(s) involved. The term can refer to both a technique and as a recognizable genre in its own right.

Baton (conducting) stick for conducting music

A baton is a stick that is used by conductors primarily to enlarge and enhance the manual and bodily movements associated with directing an ensemble of musicians.

Morris died of lung cancer on January 29, 2013 at the age of 65 in a hospital in New York City. [3] [4]

Lung cancer cancer in the lung

Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. This growth can spread beyond the lung by the process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in the lung, known as primary lung cancers, are carcinomas. The two main types are small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The most common symptoms are coughing, weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pains.


As leader

Kharma Records was a short-lived jazz record label run by Dan Serro specializing in free jazz and avant-garde jazz music. Many of the label's releases are considered highly collectible today.

Free Music Production (FMP) is a German record company and label specializing in free jazz.

New World Records is a record label that was established in 1975 through a Rockefeller Foundation grant to celebrate America's bicentennial (1976) by producing a 100-LP anthology, with American music from many genres.

As sideman

With Wayne Horvitz

With Frank Lowe

<i>Exotic Heartbreak</i> album by Frank Lowe

Exotic Heartbreak is an album by the Frank Lowe Quintet recorded in 1981 and released on the Soul Note label.

Marge Records was a jazz record label created in France in 1973 by Gérard Terronès as a continuation of Futura Records.

Palm Records was a French jazz record label.

With David Murray

With TTT

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  1. Jurek, Thom, "Berlin Skyscraper '95" review from AllMusic
  2. Hazell, Ed, "Out of the lab: Butch Morris's bold experiment yields 10 CDs" Archived 2005-11-26 at the Wayback Machine URL accessed February 15, 2007
  3. Jarenwattananon, Patrick (2013-01-22). "Butch Morris, Jazz Bandleader And Conductor, Dies : A Blog Supreme". NPR. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
  4. Margasak, Peter (1998-12-17). "Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris, inventor of musical conduction, dead at 65 | Bleader". Chicagoreader.com. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
  5. Discogs