The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Paint (Hot Cup)

The first release by the piano trio configuration of Mostly Other People Do the Killing and features bassist/composer Moppa Elliott, pianist Ron Stabinsky, and drummer Kevin Shea, with each composition named after a small town in Pennsylvania that contains a color, and the town of "Paint, PA" lent its name to the title, with one apt Duke Ellington cover. ... Click to View


Moppa Elliott : Still, Up In The Air (Hot Cup)

Solo double-bass improvisations from Mostly Other People Do the Killing bassist and leader Moppa Elliot, consisting of sequences of contrasting themes, or musical cubism in the spirit of Picasso and Braque, presenting 7 of 14 sequences where the improvisation is a series of disparate musical ideas that transition rapidly in an attempt to disrupt the linear progression of thematic development. ... Click to View


Leandre / Minton: Leandre / Minton (Fou Records)

Phil Minton started as a trumpeter and became one of free improv's most outside vocalists; Joelle Leandre is a double bassist who also performs free vocal improv; this is their first recorded collaboration, and it's an unusual and wonderful album of heavy tone improvisation, plucked and bowed, and a masterfully odd free association of vocalisation. ... Click to View


Talibam! : Endgame Of The Anthropocene [VINYL] (ESP)

Talibam!'s 1st cinematic album of through-composed ecogothic geosonics, the "soundtrack to 2048's despotic nationalism and crumbling international infrastructure, underscoring an eco-mercantilistic tragedy and the desperate plundering of the last pristine landscape on Earth" from NY's duo of Matt Mottel on mini moog and synths, and Kevin Shea on drums, and midi mallet percussion. ... Click to View


Talibam! / Matt Nelson / Ron Stabinsky: Hard Vibe [VINYL] (ESP)

Talibam! with Matt Mottel on sax, Kevin Shea on drums, Matt Mottel on Fender Rhodes and synth and Ron Stabinsky on organ take inspiration from Herbie Hancock's 70's electronics, Miles Davis' "On the Corner" and Albert Ayler's New grass in compositions that transforms aspects of rhythm changes into a disciplined sequence, a new take on psychedelic jazz. ... Click to View


Crys Cole / Oren Ambarchi: Hotel Record [VINYL 2 LPs] (Black Truffle)

A double LP and the second release from the duo of Crys Cole and Oren Ambarchi, also romantic partners, as they explore their relationship through sound and voice, each side presenting a unique approach to their collaboration while maintaining a certain somnambulist feeling over rich guitar and organ work, and other unfathomable sound. ... Click to View


Boneshaker (Mars Williams / Paal Nilssen-Love / Kent Kessler): Thinking Out Loud (Trost Records)

The third album from this international trio of powerful improvisers--Norwegian drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, Chicago bassist Kent Kessler, and Chicago/NY saxophonist Mars William-- in four odysseys that take the listener from introspective playing to out and out blowing, using technique to serve their incredible dialog. ... Click to View


Sven-Ake Johansson / Alexander Von Schlippenbach : Schraubenlieder [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Drummer Sven-Ake Johansson is also a poet, writer and visual artist; here he joined forced with Alexander von Schlippenbach in 1988 to record these songs, never previously released, sung in German and English, for a set of 9 fascinating narrations that engage the listener independent of language, as von Schlippenbach improvises with prodigious technique. ... Click to View


Annette Peacock & Paul Bley: Dual Unity (Bamboo)

Reissuing the debut album by vocalist Annette Peacock and pianist Paul Bley recorded during their first European tour in 1970, in a quartet with compatriots Mario Pavone on bass and Laurence Cook on drums, Bley using an early Moog synthesizer; unique and original avant jazz. ... Click to View


Paul Bley Trio: Closer [VINYL] (ESP)

A vinyl reissue of Paul Bley's 2nd ESP album from 1966, a lyrical and lush trio setting with material mostly from Carla Bley, one Ornette Coleman number, and one from Annette Peacock, with Steve Swallow on bass and Barry Altschul on percussion, exploratory free jazz that uses melodic intention in assertive but not aggressive aways; a classic. ... Click to View


Pharoah Sanders : Quintet [VINYL] (ESP)

A vinyl reissue of Pharoah Sanders' 1965 debut release on ESP, in a quinet with Jane Getz on piano, William Bennett on bass, Stan Foster on trumpet and Mavin Pattillo on percussion, decidedly a jazz album from this outside player known for his association with John Coltrane in his freeist moments, here bridging lyrical and avant worlds with powerful playing. ... Click to View


Wadada Smith Leo: Najwa (Tum)

Paying tribute to musicians whose vision paved the way for modern creative players to use new approaches, language and philosophy in improvisation, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's band with four guitarists, electric bass, drums and percussion dedicates five incredible compositions to Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Billie Holiday. ... Click to View


Wadada Smith Leo: Solo - Reflections And Meditations On Monk (Tum)

An intimate album of solo trumpet from Wadada Leo Smith, performing compositions by Thelonious Monk, Smith professing in an essay in the accompanying booklet that he was motivated to become a composer by Monk above other contemporaries for his ideas of composition and bands; his admiration and love of Monk's work is clear in this beautifully lyrical album. ... Click to View


Aki Takase / Alexander von Schlippenbach: So Long, Eric! Homage to Eric Dolphy (Intakt)

Alexander von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase assembled an ensemble of Dolphy interpreters that includes bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall, saxophonist Tobias Delius, vibraphonist Karl Berger, trumpeter Axel Dorner, trombonist Nils Wogram, &c, for a fresh take on compositions from one of free jazz's most iconic composers, Eric Dolphy, captured live in Berlin, 2014. ... Click to View


Steve Noble / Yoni Silver: Home (Aural Terrains)

The two-headed snake on the cover of this album aptly describes the sublimely sinuous and dark interplay between London free jazz drummer Steve Noble and bass clarinetist Yoni Silver, their 4-part improvisation taking on sinister elements of exceptional cymbal techniques, unusual drum tones, and extended lower register tones and high harmonics; excellent. ... Click to View


Various Artists: Asian Meeting Recordings #1 (Doubtmusic)

Otomo Yoshihide started The Asian Meeting Festival in 2005 to foster creative interaction between Japanese and other Asian musicians, since 2014 curated by DJ Sniff, and here in the 2017 edition at GOK Sound, in Tokyo, Japan with a who's-who of players including Yoshihide, Ryoko Ono, Ko Ishikawa, Son X, KEITO, Yuji Ishihara, Yuen Chee Wai, &c. &c. ... Click to View


Jim Black Trio: The Constant (Intakt)

A beautiful example of the modern piano trio, led by in-demand drummer, Jim Black, with Elias Stemeseder the pianist and Thomas Morgan on bass, in a lyrical album that uses Black's compelling and elusive drumming on 9 original Black compositions and one unexpected standard, as all three deliver complex playing that sounds accessible and engaging, a true achievement. ... Click to View


Fred Frith / Barry Guy: Backscatter Bright Blue (Intakt)

Both bassist Barry Guy and guitarist Fred Frith are key artists of Switzerland's Intakt label catalog, but surprisingly the two have never shared a stage together; Intakt had a feeling about their pairing and brought them into the studio, this superb duo album being the result in 10 brilliant tracks intertwining acoustic double bass and electric guitar. ... Click to View


Fred Frith Trio: Another Day in Fucking Paradise (Intakt)

Proclaiming that he nothing more in mind then getting together with a couple of formidable musicians, guitarist Fred Frith and Mills College alumni Jordan Glenn on drums and Jason Hoopes on electric and double bass take their listeners through 13 connected pieces that reference rock, jazz and ea-soundscape in an impressive album from a remarkable new group. ... Click to View


Lotte Anker / Fred Frith: Edge Of The Light (Intakt)

An intimate dialog between frequent collaborators, UK guitarist Fred Frith and Copenhagen saxophonist Lotte Anker, both players listening carefully as they interact in a fragile dialog of profound technique and inventive approach, using texture and nuance to create unusual and captivating interchanges that demonstrate how compatible these two very different instruments can be. ... Click to View


Schlippenbach Trio (Schlippenbach / Evan Parker / Lovens): Features (Intakt)

The long-standing Schlippenbach Trio with Evan Parker on saxophone and Paul Lovens on drums presents 15 concise "Features", improvisations of great depth and diversity, from the beautifully stark solo piano that opens the album to intense collective interactions, avoiding excess in deference to the profound expression of an inspiring group chemistry. ... Click to View


Mark Dresser : Modicana [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Double Bassist Mark Dresser, a mainstay of the Downtown NY scene as an improviser and composer, and also prominent on the US West Coast and as an international touring artist, releases a powerful album of distinctive solo playing, both technically and melodically, with 2 tracks caught live at the Umea Jazz Festival and others recorded at the University of California, San Diego. ... Click to View


Bobby Bradford / Hafez Modirzadeh / Ken Filiano / Royal Hartigan: Live at the Magic Triangle [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A live concert at Amherst, Massachusetts in 2016 as part of the Magical Triangle Jazz Series from the quartet of legendary cornetist Bobby Bradford, Turkish saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh on tenor, in-demand New York bassist Ken Filiano, and percussionist/drummer Royal Hartigan, the band performing two Bradford compositions, with one each from Filiano, Modirzadeh and Hartigan. ... Click to View


Andrew Lamb / Warren Smith / Arkadijus Gotesmanas: The Sea of Modicum [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Captured live at the 2016 Vilnius Jazz Festival, the free jazz trio of saxophonist Andrew Lamb and percussionists Warren Smith and Arkadijus Gotesmanas provide a unique orchestration, with the percussionists building rhythmic structures over which AACM alumni Lamb's powerful saxophone work emerges; a great album of solid exploratory free jazz. ... Click to View


Yedo Gibson / Hernani Faustino / Vasco Trilla: CHAIN (NoBusiness)

A fiery and energetic album of masterful free jazz from Brazilian saxophonist Yedo Gibson, Portuguese-Brazilian drummer and percussionist Vasco Trilla, and Portuguese bass player Hernani Faustino (Red Trio, K4 Quadrado Azul), recording in the studio for 6 dynamic dialogs that uses a variety of approaches and references to free jazz and creative improv. ... Click to View


TON-KLAMI (Midori Takada / Kang Tae Hwan / Masahiko Satoh): Prophesy of Nue (NoBusiness)

Ton-Klami was an influential Japanese free improvising band active in the 90s, and leading to the solo careers of percussionist Midori Takada, pianist Masahiko Satoh, and saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan; here the band is heard in a 1995 live concert recorded at Design Plaza Hofu in Yamaguchi, Japan, recorded by Chap-Chap Records but never released. ... Click to View


Liudas Mockunas : Hydro [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Lithuanian reedist Liudas Mockunas in an unusual record of clarinet and saxophone improvisations, from solo work of powerful technique to pieces using water prepared instruments to create a wealth of bubbling and aberrant sound on the instrument, side A presenting the 7 part "Hydration Suite", Side B the 3 part "Rehydration", and "Dehydration". ... Click to View


James Ulmer Blood W/ The Thing: Baby Talk (The Thing Records)

The Thing with Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on electric and double bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion, are joined by Downtown NY legend, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, for a live set at the Moldel International Jazz Festival in 2015 performing an exuberant and all-out impressive set of Ulmer composions. ... Click to View


James Ulmer Blood W/ The Thing: Baby Talk [VINYL] (The Thing Records)

The Thing with Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on electric and double bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion, are joined by Downtown NY legend, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, for a live set at the Moldel International Jazz Festival in 2015 performing an exuberant and all-out impressive set of Ulmer composions. ... Click to View


Sun Ra & His Myth Science Solar Arkestra: The Lost Arkestra Series Vol 1 & 2 [2 10-INCH VINYL RECORDS] (Art Yard)

A double 10" featuring unreleased and rare Sun Ra recordings, including a live track from Paris in 1983, two unreleased cuts from the "Disco 3000" concert tapes, a quartet session with Sun Ra on the Crumar Mainman synth, and three selections from the Sub-Underground series of Saturn LPs, including a ballad and new material from "Live at Temple" and "What's New". ... Click to View


  •  •  •    Join Our Mailing List!



The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

E and A


  Butch Morris  

Butch Morris
Butch Morris[Photo by Dominik Huber]
Although Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris first came on the scene as a free-improv cornetist (most notably in groups led by David Murray), he has been best known since the early '80s for his "conductions," a way of leading an ensemble through a piece built on their own improvisations (the term itself as a combination of the words "conduct" and "improvisation").

A conduction will generally begin with one player stating a phrase and Morris cueing the rest of the group to respond to that phrase, or to a section of it. Over the course of 30 or 40 minutes, Morris will build that original statement into an extended piece with themes (that the ensemble remembers and returns to), flourishes and contrasting sections. One of the most notable things about a Morris conduction, beyond the music itself, is the intense focus the players keep on him. This is not free jazz. Morris is very much a bandleader, a real-time composer and arranger building music in the moment.

He kindly consented to respond to questions emailed in by Squid's Ear readers.

-------------

E: What can you tell us about the trio you had with Wayne Horvitz & Bobby Previte? It seemed to open a new direction in utilizing electronics and small-group dynamics.

A: There were two bands that preceded this trio that (I think) had a direct impact on its success. The first was Bill Horvitz, J.A. Deane and myself; the other was Wayne, Dino and I. Horvitz/Morris/Previte was an exciting playing situation because Wayne and Robin Holcomb wrote such wonderful music and Wayne played and programmed great DX7 and drum machine. Bobby has a great ear for melody and rhythm (and harmony). I think we found a unique way to distribute density in space while still using the 'song' format to frame our improvisations.

E: Please describe how you came to develop conduction. Was the a "first appearance"? How did it relate to an event like the 1982 New York City Artist's Collective performance of your work - how developed was the technique at this point?

A: Although I had been working out the idea of Conduction from the mid 70s, it was not until 1985, after Conduction No. 1, that this work rose from infancy. At the time of Cond. No. 1 there were only five directives in place, and although we put them to good use, time dictated 'more'. The evolution of Conduction comes directly from my discontent with the development and direction of improvisation in large ensemble interplay.

E: The first date in most discographies of your work is listed as a Frank Lowe quartet date for the French Palm label, The Other Side. Was this the first? What can you tell us about this date?

A: Jef Gilson was/is a wonderful host (arranger, composer and producer). The first.

E: Your first date as a leader is listed as "In Touch...But Out of Reach" for Kharma. What can you tell us about this date?

A: A big headache.

E: "Queen of Spades" -- my favorite Butch Morris tune, was a feature of Jemeel Moondoc's Jus Grew Orchestra in the 80s. What is this piece's history? It doesn't appear as though you ever recorded it. Did you? Did anyone else?

A: I wrote 'Queen of Spades' in 1974 in California and I never performed it with any other ensemble, it seemed to work well with Jus Grew. I have never recorded it and to my knowledge, no one has. It was inspired by a song called "Ti Forest," by Walter Savage who was a bass player with Horace Tapscott and Taj Mahal.

E: Discuss the following artists, thoughts/recollections/impact on work/&c.:

A: Each deserves a chapter if not a book:

David Murray I've known David since 1973...he's a truly generous man. There are two wonderful memories I have of David, the first; fishing under the Oakland Bay Bridge plotting history, and the other: He called me from Rome (I was in Rotterdam) the eve of my thirtieth birthday and said I'm going to fly up tomorrow and we are going to celebrate your birthday, day and night.....and we did, then I put him on plane at 10 am.

Frank Lowe David and Frank brought me to New York. We have a great chemistry together. On any given night Frank Lowe could go from 1935 to 1999 in two breaths and scare all the saxophone players out of the room, ask Stan Getz or Archie Shepp.

Johnny Dyani A master storyteller, natural bassist, great friend and teacher.

William Parker Is doing great work.

Jessica Hagedorn A gumbo girl, first born into the elite family of spoken word poetry and 'shameless hussy-ness.'

A.R. Penck Mr. TTT, a savior to many musicians. An artist with the greatest work ethic I've ever seen. A kind and generous man who taught and showed me many things about the art world.

H/M/D This was the trio that set the stage for how I would play the horn from then until I stopped playing. Bill and Dino were great together, and playing acoustic inside all that electronics was a big eye-opener to me. It changed the way I thought, composed and played.

Peter Kowald The king of Wuppertal. Free to be.

Christian Marclay A great friend who's work decodes history with futuristic vision. He is always a joy to work with.

E:You took part in a pre-internet worldwide performance, "Telefonia," linking up performance spaces in Switzerland and New York via satellite. What did you think of this event?

A: This was a wonderful project between Winterthur and New York that predates web-based interactive projects as we know them today. And thanks not only to the great vision of Andres Bosshard, the musicians and technicians, but also to whoever was at Pro Helvetia and Cassinelli-Vogel-Stiffung who saw this vision through. As was said: Telefonia is a histerical homage to Switzerland. (the politicians are talking....)

E: Have artists outside of music approached you about applying ideas and techniques of conduction in non or extra-musical fields? I'm thinking specifically of theater, group collage work or other "plastic" arts where ensemble improvisation is possible.

A: Many choreographers have approached me to talk about the possibilities of conduction in dance but nothing has come of it yet. Christoph Marthaler is the only theatre director who has expressed an interest.

E: On your conduction techniques, do you have a set of signals that you and the band have worked out in rehearsals? Or is this all done more on-the-fly, on-the-spot.

A: There are (approximately) 26 directives in the Conduction vocabulary and much more information to be understood fully by the ensemble. Because of workshop/rehearsal limitations, there has never been enough time to work all of this information out with one ensemble. I always ask for five or more days and settle for three or four, however there have been situations where I have done performances with only an hour or two of preparation but this is by no means idealand I generally steer clear ......

E: I once read in an interview that youwere looking for a residency. Since playing regularly at the Bowery Poetry Club, how has this helped strengthen your band? What elements of your conduction or your repertoire are you seeking to grow with a residency?

A: .............Understanding! The better anyone understands anything, the more liberated they are to find freedom in all situations. To date, Berlin Skyscraper (FMP) is the most time I've spent with any ensemble and we experienced 'growth' through understanding throughout ten days of rehearsal and nine performances.

E: You led a great group called 'Holy Ghost' several years ago at the 'What is Jazz' festival. It seemed to be a conduction using scored materials. How did that project work, and will you do anything with it again?

A: We had no scored material for this Conduction (No. 103). I would love to resurrect this ensemble again...........

E: I had heard at one time you were going to stop doing conductions with Number 100 at the Vision Festival a few years back. Why did you decide to keep doing them? Are you looking at ending them or beginning another project?

A:My plan (at the time) was to end the Conduction series and begin a new series dedicated to composition and conduction but I decided to let the two overlap.

E: Please explain a little how you structured the Stravinsky 'Rite of Spring' piece you did with Burnt Sugar last year at Summerstage. Do you plan to build other conductions (or have you in the past) from other composers materials?

A: My work with conduction 'started' for the deconstruction of notation. My early collaborations with David Murray, Billy Bang, Jemeel Moondoc, Misha Mengleberg and a host of otherswere with notation. I have, more recently begun to utilize notation (again) in performance for the purpose of deconstruction (and re-construction). The 'Rites' project was broughtto me by Greg Tate for a collaboration he has with choreographer Gabri Christa. I expect we will continue to evolve this work

E: One of my favorite conductions I've seen you do was sadly marred by horrible sound: the Charlie Parker festival piece that featured Arthur Blythe, Christian Marclay and 18 or so flutes. Have you thought of trying to do that piece again under better circumstances? It was a great concept, shamefully wounded by the p.a.

A: Yes, this was "Conduction No.44, Ornithology," 28 August 1994 at Tompkins Square Park. I would love to re-work this piece again...would you like to be the Executive Producer?

E: Wilber [Morris, Butch's cousin] mentioned to me once that he played a lot with Charles Tyler on the west coast. Was this a group that you were in as well? Also,did you play his legendary pieces like "Voyage From Jericho" etc.?

A: Yes we both were in the band of Charles Tyler and we played all of his classics. My favorite was "Sad Folks."

E: Why conduction? What so you get out of working with conducting improvisors that you wouldn't from watching or participating in an unguided improv? What differentiates conduction in your mind from some of the other improv "schools" -- the John Stevens / SME approach, the AMM approach, Zorn game pieces -- obviously, the presence of the conductor is a difference, but what about the results is different? What qualities do you try to emphasize in a conduction, and what could someone else do with it?

A: As I have stated in the Artist Statement, Conduction is not exclusive to improvisers, nor the sole notion of improvisation! (see Holy Sea) Your "schools" have given me many splendid hours of listening/enjoyment, and as a player I have committed and contributed in one way or another. But I must say, I have different requirements, scales of evaluation and goals......... therefore, different results. 'Schools' cannot satisfy all of my needs as a musician, (as my needs do not satisfy (all) the needs of others) however they do serve as great tools for listening and study......and I suggest the same.



continued...



Upcoming E & A - Ask William Parker (description coming soon...)

Questions for William Parker should be sent to ear@squidco.com by May 10, 2003 or use the form below. His responses will be posted in a future issue of The Squid's Ear.

Subject:
Name:
Email Address:
  Please enter your question or request:



Previous E and A Interviews:
Ikue Mori Interview


The Squid's Ear is the companion magazine to the online music shop Squidco !


  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (8913)