A very exciting announcement: On March 11, 2014, Black February director Vipal Monga and Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky, that Subliminal Kid will co-host a screening of the documentary in Baltimore at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Brown Center Falvey Hall. The two will hold a post-screening conversation about Butch, his role in the evolution of jazz, and his influence on other musical styles, from big band jazz to funk to electronic and symphonic works.
Butch appears on the Stuzzicadenti record, an album of experimental works by Diego Cortez, produced by DJ Spooky. He convinced Butch to play Cornet on one of the tracks, and one of the famed wind-up music boxes also appears on the record.
The screening is part of Paul Miller’s Music + Art film series, which looks at music, art, nature, drugs and how it plays it part in our culture. The series continues every Tuesday until March 11, and includes such stunning works as Wild Style, Slam, and How to Make Money Selling Drugs.
The screening will begin at 7:30 pm and 10 pm and admission is free to the general public. For more details, please visit the MICA website.
What a find!
Butch once told me about an amazing project which featured a roaming opera based on Goya’s paintings while he conducted a band of musicians from room to room in an abandoned East Village warehouse.
As it turns out, there’s a video of the performance, called “Goya Time.” The footage below has some rare video of Butch from that era.
David Dann has published a review of the project on his Gems of Jazz blog.
Declaiming actors wandered in and out of the gymnasium where Butch’s musicians were creating a soundscape of melody, poly-rhythms and spiky cacophony. Dancers flitted by, appearing in the doorways one moment, on balconies the next. Interpretations of Goya’s paintings hung on the walls and – if I remember correctly – an artist was on stage painting on a huge canvas and on a naked woman’s body.
It was one whacky scene, and in the midst of it all was Butch and his musicians.
Read the entire post. It also features some priceless photos of a young Butch Morris in L.A. and in the army.
Dann also provides a link to a eulogy written by Butch’s dear friend Don Heffington.
There’s also a description of the event on the Plexus International website.
Here, for your pleasure, is a short film of Goya Time.
Just a reminder that Black February will be screening at the Library of Congress in Washington on Friday, Jan. 24, at 7 pm.
Larry Appelbaum, curator of the Jazz film series at the LOC, tells the Washington City Paper he wanted to pay tribute to Butch near the anniversary of his passing.
“Morris was a brilliant cornettist and theorist who developed his own language and process to express his vision. He passed one year ago and I wanted to pay tribute and let people know there is something that now exists beyond just the recordings.”
The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Doors open 30 minutes before screening. No tickets required. For information call (202) 707-5502.
Black February will be screening in Takoma Park, just outside Washington D.C., on Feb. 2.
The screening at the Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Avenue, at 5 pm, and will be followed by a performance of Butch’s piece, “Black February” by Lewis “Flip” Barnes.
Thanks to Bobby Hill, one of the founders of Transparent Productions, for setting up the screening.
More details about the show are at Transparent Productions’ website.
By all accounts, Henry Threadgill’s tribute to Butch at WinterJazz Fest 10 on Saturday was a resounding success.
Howard Mandel tries to capture something of the feeling the nearly hour-long piece evoked at Judson Church.
“Some wept openly, and at the end everyone cheered the uncompromised intensity of feeling Henry Threadgill evoked, simultaneously mourning and celebrating a man whose memory sustains artistic ambitions, and whose legacy of Conduction, songs and his tender cornet playing should not be forgotten.”
It’s hard to believe that almost a full year has passed since Butch passed on, but there’s something beautiful in the way his spirit still reverberates through the air, a note that continues to linger.
Read Howard’s review of the piece, here: http://www.artsjournal.com/jazzbeyondjazz/2014/01/henry-threadgills-tribute-to-butch-morris-winterjazz-fest-10.html
I can’t think of a better way to pay tribute to Butch.
Here’s Henry Threadgill in a Wall Street Journal article, describing “Old Locks and Irregular Verbs,” his musical tribute to the Maestro:
“I knew at some point I’d find a way, through music, to take my hat off properly to Butch,” Mr. Threadgill said recently at an East Village pastry shop. An invitation to do so came from the Winter Jazzfest, where Mr. Morris memorably performed in 2011, and so Mr. Threadgill set about composing “Old Locks and Irregular Verbs,” a piece that will have its premiere at Judson Church on Jan. 11.
Black February will be playing at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis on Sept. 13 and 14.
The screening is part of a tribute to Butch by the Ballet of the Dolls, Ritz Theater and Open Door Music, featuring four Twin Cities-based large improvising ensembles, which have direct and indirect connections to Butch Morris’ work.
The screening on Friday, September 13 will feature performances by IMP ORK. On Saturday, September 14, the Black February screening will follow performances by Cherry Spoon Collective, Improvestra and Coloring Time.
Tickets are $15 or $25 for a two day festival pass.
You can find more information at: http://www.ritz-theater.org/
Here’s a Q&A with Black February cast member Greg Tate‘s Q&A, which followed the screening at the Blackstar Film Festival in Philadelphia last month.
Greg met Butch in the 1980s and was at Conduction No. 1 at the Kitchen in 1985. An esteemed culture critic, icon of the Village Voice and one of the founders of the Black Rock Coalition, Greg was moved enough by Conduction to start practicing it himself, notably as the leader of the groundbreaking Burnt Sugar Arkestra ensemble.
In the Q&A with Julia Lopez, Greg discusses Butch and the importance of Conduction.
A special thanks to Greg for heading out to the festival and sharing his insights into Butch and his work with the audience.
We’re proud to announce that Black February will screen at the 23rd Akbank Jazz Festival in Istanbul on October 1.
The festival will be paying tribute to the maestro this year by showing the film, and then on October 5 will be holding a panel about Butch and his music with his longtime collaborator and great friend Brandon Ross.
Istanbul was a special place for Butch. He lived there for two years as composer in residence at Bilgi University, and continued visiting throughout his life.
Butch played at the festival in 1992, and the performances were immortalized as Conductions 25 and 26.
Here’s a clip of Butch conducting the Nublu “Istanbul” Orchestra in 2011.
Here’s Butch’s great friend, J.A. Deane, conducting an Improvistaion at Konfrontationen 2013, in Nickelsdorf on July 20.
Deane met Butch in New York in the 1980s, and they worked closely together on many projects.
The ensemble features Liz Allbee (trumpet), Hans Koch (bass clarinet), Magda Mayas (piano), Eric Arn (guitar), Christof Kurzmann (laptop), Hans Falb (turntables), Tristan Honsinger (cello), Joëlle Léandre (double bass), George Cremaschi (double bass), Els Vandeweyer (vibraphone), Paul Lovens (drums), Hamid Drake (drums), Tony Buck (drums)
A special thanks to Kim Smith for passing this along. She’s been great about keeping us all in the loop with the many tributes to Butch that have been happening this year.