Lawrence “Butch” Morris

From his obituary in the Guardian, February 5, 2013

The globetrotting projects of the American composer Lawrence “Butch” Morris, who has died of cancer aged 65, drew on the talents of players from many backgrounds, including US and European jazz, Turkish sufi music, Japanese kabuki theatre, and classical music, dance and poetry. Morris described his approach as “an improvised duet for ensemble and conductor”. Although he steered these encounters with a baton, his sign language was a homegrown technique he dubbed “conduction” – the definition of which has variously been given as a fusion of conducting and improvisation, and of combustion, ignition and propulsion. Morris staged more than 150 conductions (most of them simply entitled by their number in the sequence) in more than 20 countries in as many years….

“Butch could lead a room full of musicians to unimagined and unparalleled places,” wrote the trumpeter Dave Douglas. “It was nirvana for me to be a part of it; being in a swinging band is the pinnacle of belonging. It’s like making something from nothing, a scaffolding built on a diverse community of musical language … I’ll never forget how he bent to our needs and reimagined our sounds. And flashed thunderbolts as needed.”

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
Musical Director Once Upon the Present Time 1985-86 Season