Archive for Butch Morris

Greg Tate Discusses Butch Morris and Conduction

Posted in Clips, Festival Screenings with tags , , , , on September 4, 2013 by Vipal Monga

blackstarprofileHere’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.

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Black February Will Screen in Istanbul

Posted in Clips, Festival Screenings with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2013 by Vipal Monga

ImageWe’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.

Butch Morris Dedication Orchestra by J.A. Deane

Posted in Clips with tags , , , on July 25, 2013 by Vipal Monga

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.

Vinay Chowdhry Black Feb’s Cinematographer And a Clip of Butch at Lucky Cheng’s

Posted in Clips with tags , , , on July 12, 2013 by Vipal Monga

ImageVinay Chowdhry, director of photography for Black February, is profiled in the Public Engagement blog from New York City’s New School.

Vinay, a faculty member at the New School media studies department, discusses Butch’s amazing ability to pull the musical elements out of any moment:

“One of the first shoots we did for Black February was a lecture in Arnold Hall. [Morris] was speaking about Conduction, and he turned the audience of laymen into an ephemeral and other worldly sound scape with just the contents of their pockets.”

We didn’t use that footage from the shoot in the film, but the moment was priceless: Butch asked the lecture audience to take something from their pockets–pens, or paper–and use them to make sustained noises. He then Conducted those seemingly random sounds into music.

The audience was mesmerized: they finally physically understood what Butch meant by Conduction, and  got some insight into the genius that allowed him to hear music in every moment he lived.

Perhaps one day we’ll release the outtakes.

For now, check out this great clip of Butch conducting a workshop at Lucky Cheng’s in the East Village.

Black February at the BlackStar Film Festival, Philadelphia

Posted in Festival Screenings with tags , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by Vipal Monga

2012-BlackStar-GuideWe’re pleased to announce that Black February will be screening at the BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia.

The film will play at 6:30 pm on Saturday, Aug. 3 at Drexel University.

BlackStar is a celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of African descent in a global context.

Butch was acutely aware of his heritage as an African American man and the limitations that society tried to place on him because of that. He saw Conduction as a way of breaking through those racial and musical boundaries, which existed even in New York in the ’70s and ’80s. Part of Butch’s genius arose out of his willingness to actively use Conduction to subvert those limitations and preconceptions.

In the clip below, Brandon Ross, Greg Tate, and Howard Mandel tell the story of Conduction No. 1, which became the celebrated album, Current Trends in Racism in Modern America.

Vision Festival and a DVD Sale

Posted in Festival Screenings, Sales with tags , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by Vipal Monga

banner-06The Vision Festival, New York’s great festival of experimental music and dance, is holding a special screening of Black February on Sunday, June 16 at 4:30 pm.

Butch was a regular performer at the festival, and it’s an honor, if a little bittersweet, to hold the Brooklyn premiere of the film there.

The festival is being at the experimental performance space Roulette. Details about the Vison Fest and Roulette can be found at Arts for Art, which organizes the festival every year.

A special thanks to Patricia Parker, the festival organizer, for helping us pay tribute to Butch.

In celebration of the screening, we’ve put copies of the Black February DVD on sale. It makes a perfect Father’s Day gift for the music lovers in your life.

Wayne Horvitz Conducts at The Stone NYC May 21-26

Posted in Performances with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2013 by Vipal Monga

Wayne Horvitz, who wrote a beautiful tribute to Butch on the New Music Box blog last month, is holding a residency at The Stone in New York City between May 21 and 26.

imagesThe NY Times’ Ben Ratliff, highlighted the performances in an article published on Wednesday.

Wayne, who called Butch his only mentor, is conducting his Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble, using some of the technique he learned from Butch in the 1980s.

Says Ratliff:

Mr. Morris tended to use very little written music in his conductions, working from scraps. Mr. Horvitz, by contrast, is using his own themes and pre-existing pieces, some riff-based and directly out of the jazz tradition, but blowing them apart, making them judder and flash and fold in on themselves. His is an excellent band of nearly all Seattle residents — the soloists included the trombonist Naomi Siegel, the clarinetist Beth Fleenor and the saxophonists Kate Olson, Craig Flory and Briggan Krauss — and its had an efficacious start. What I heard in Tuesday’s early set was tighter and stronger than a live recording the band was selling at the club, made in Seattle only a few months ago.