The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Frode Gjerstad Trio + Steve Swell: Bop Stop (Clean Feed)

The indefatigable Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad invites trombonist Steve Swell, with whom he collaborated in 2011 on the live album "At Constellation", to join his trio with Jon Rune Strom on double bass and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, at Cleveland's Bop stop during their 2017 tour, recording this impressive concert of exemplary collective free jazz. ... Click to View

Matt Piet & His Disorganization (w / Berman / Mazzarella / Daisy): Rummage Out (Clean Feed)

A young and fresh voice in the creative Chicago improv scene, pianist and composer Matt Piet who leads his own trio and the band Four Letter Words, and one third of Rempis/Piet/Daisy, introduces a new quartet with saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, cornet player Josh Berman, and drummer Tim Daisy, a superb example of the energetic and active Chicago scene. ... Click to View

Benoit Delbecq 4 (w / Turner / Hebert / Cleaver): Spots On Stripes (Clean Feed)

French pianist Benoit Delbecq brings together frequent collaborators from New York--Mark Turner on tenor saxophone and drummer Gerald Cleaver--and from Paris--Delbecq himself and double bassist John Hebert--for an album of refined and inventive contemporary jazz, the work of masterful players with years of experience and collaborations dating back to 2003. ... Click to View

Samo Salamon / Tony Malaby / Roberto Dani: Traveling Moving Breathing (Clean Feed)

A peer of Tim Berne, David Binney, Sabir Mateen, Mark Helias, &c., Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon presents an album of original compositions and one collective improvisation from his ever-changing Bassless Trio, here with drummer Roberto Dani and saxophonist Tony Malaby on tenor and soprano, in an introspective album of profound technique and lyrical playing. ... Click to View

Sara Serpa (w / Laubrock / Fiedlander): Close Up (Clean Feed)

Lisbon, Portugal native, singer and composer Sara Serpa in a trio with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and cellist Erik Friedlander, recording live at Pete's House, in Brooklyn, for an album of unusual and creative vocals inspired by experimentation and changing identities, bringing a unique approach to improvised vocals in the company of accomplished players. ... Click to View

Turbamulta (Raon / Sao / Ferreira / Martins / Aroso): Turbamulta (Clean Feed)

With orchestration of harp, daxophone, idiophones, piano, cello, guitar, percussion, sampling & electronics, the Portuguese quintet Turbamulta (roughly translates to "rowdy mob", though clearly a very sophisticated mob) was born from the band Powertrio of Eduardo Raon, Joana Sa and Luis Martins, expanded to blend compositional, EA and improv approaches into something unique and beautiful. ... Click to View

Jonas Cambien Trio (w / Roligheten / Wildhagen): We Must Mustn't We (Clean Feed)

Leveraging influences in improvisation and contemporary compositional music, Belgian/Oslo pianist Jonas Cambien, a member of Simiskina and Platform, extends his own trio of saxophonist Andre Rolighete and drummer Andreas Wildhagen with trumpeter Torstein Lavik Larsen on 2 tracks, as they balance jazz, avant, free improv and other hybrid forms in a compellingly creative album. ... Click to View

Mattias Risberg : Stamps (Clean Feed)

Swedish pianist Mattias Risberg demonstrates the passion he dedicates to vintage instruments like mellotron, Hammond organ, analog synthesizers, clavichord and even pipe organs in a solo album of piano, with some light preparations, and the pedals of a Moog Taurus, an inventive album of improvisations inspired by the vivid images of postage stamps. ... Click to View

Maria da Rocha: Beetroot & Other Stories (Shhpuma)

Using violin, viola, synth and effect pedals, Portuguese string player Maria da Rocha creates rich environments of sound and unusual rhythmic structures over which she plays with subtlety and transcendence, in her first solo album, using her unique language as she tells the story of a beet and a witch, inspired by Odyssey Ulysses and Circe from Cortazar. ... Click to View

Tyler Higgins (w / Stevens / Higgins): Blue Mood (Shhpuma)

Hailing from Atlanta, GA, guitarist Tyler Higgins is also a multi-instrumentalist and composer who merges genres of moody, cinematic music based around folk, blues, and jazz and twisted with unusual approaches, aided in his endeavors by drummer Paul Steven and wordless vocalist Ellen Higgins, producing a alluring set of musical narratives. ... Click to View

Roscoe Mitchell / Montreal-Toronto Art Orchestra: Ride The Wind (NESSA)

Reedist and composer Roscoe Mitchell in a collaboration with the Montreal - Toronto Art Orchestra, an extraordinary group of improvising musicians comprised of 6 woodwind, piano, vibraphone, tuba, 2 each of trumpet, trombone, viola, string bass and drums plus Mitchell on sopranino saxophone, a profoundly elaborate and absorbing work for a large improvising ensemble. ... Click to View

Barre Phillips / Motoharu Yoshizawa: Oh My, Those Boys! (NoBusiness)

Two bass players--European free improv legend Barre Phillips and Japanese master Motoharu Yoshizawa--met at Cafe Amores in Yamaguchi, Japan in 1994, with Phillips on an amplified acoustic upright and Yoshizawa using an electric vertical 5-string bass of his own design, as the two weave and merge their unique sounds and approaches in a brilliant concert. ... Click to View

Barre Phillips / Motoharu Yoshizawa: Oh My, Those Boys! [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Two bass players--European free improv legend Barre Phillips and Japanese master Motoharu Yoshizawa--met at Cafe Amores in Yamaguchi, Japan in 1994, with Phillips on an amplified acoustic upright and Yoshizawa using an electric vertical 5-string bass of his own design, as the two weave and merge their unique sounds and approaches in a brilliant concert. ... Click to View

Samuel Blaser / Gerry Hemingway: Oostum [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A fantastic album of free improvisation between two creative and versatile players captured live at Kerkje van Oostum, Groningen, The Netherlands in 2015--percussionist Gerry Hemingway and trombonist Samuel Blaser--both using immense talent and unorthodox approaches to their instruments as they shift from unexpected atmospheres to lyrical richness. ... Click to View

Martin Blume / Tobias Delius / Achim Kaufmann / Dieter Manderscheid: Frames & Terrains [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A great example of collective free improvisation from the quartet of drummer/percussionist Martin Blue, tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Tobias Delius, pianist Achim Kaufmann, and double bassist Dieter Manderscheid, performing live at the LOFT in Cologne, Germnay in 2016 for two extended intricate, melodic, and commanding performances of expressive and passionate free jazz. ... Click to View

Grant Weston Calvin : Improv Messenger [CD + DOWNLOAD] (577)

Performing on drums, trumpet, guitar, bass, moog bass, and keyboards, Philadelphia born and West Coast drummer/multi-instrumentalist Grant Calvin Weston, a member of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time Band, presents an album or fierce drumming and powerful electronic sources balanced with beautifully paced sonic environments, 16 tracks of diverse and gripping music. ... Click to View

Elio Amberg / Christoph Baumann: Life In A Pond (Creative Sources)

Nine freely improvised introspections as "enlightening spots on different forms of life in a rather muddy environment" from Lucerne, Switzerland based tenor saxophonist Elio Amberg and pianist Christoph Baumann, wonderful miniatures of great style and skill, a diverse exploration of their fictional pond that's quite spellbinding and exciting. ... Click to View

Paul Morgan Khimasia : peoplegrowold (Confront)

Paul Khimasia Morgan is a British guitarist and sound artist who performs on a prepared acoustic guitar body and zither, using objects and electronics to create works of tones, interventions and transitions, here in four rich pieces of well-chosen sound delivered with patient pacing, keeping each piece active while exploring the potential of his instruments and devices. ... Click to View

Giacomo Salis / Paolo Sanna: Humyth (Confront)

Creative uses of percussion from Italian drummers Giacomo Salis and Paolo Sanna, who explore gesture, movement, listening, and the investigation of natural materials and found objects, in five studio tracks that present the results of their research in both rhythmic sections and sections of abstract sound, honed from concerts, studio albums, and a collaboration with Jeph Jerman. ... Click to View

Ame Zek: First Bow (Creative Sources)

Croatian guitarist and electroacoustic musician Ame Zek in an album of electroacoustic improvisation using prepared guitars, acoustic percussions, self made objects, contact microphones, analog modular synthesizer, amplified feedback speakers, magnetic field microphones and digital midi machines; an album of raw, raspy, dark and dissonant sound. ... Click to View

Derek Bailey & Company: Klinker [2 CDs] (Confront)

Derek Bailey's Company in recordings from 2000 at The Klinker in London, with four performers--Bailey on guitar, Simon H. Fell on double bass, Mark Wastell on violincello, and Will Gaines tap dancing--the concert presenting various permutations of these musicians improvising, with narrations from Bailey, Fell, Wastell and Gaines punctuating the recordings. ... Click to View

Phil Maguire / James L. Malone: Working Title (Confront)

Phil Maguire (Verz label) exchanges abstract electronics from a variety of lo-fi devices with glitch and aberrant guitarist James L. Malone, a London improviser who has worked with Eddie Prevost, Phil Durrant, Steve Beresford and Adam Bohman, as the two trade strange sonic disruptions, avoiding pandemonium, instead using noise in pointed discourse. ... Click to View

Phil Minton / Roger Turner: Scraps Of Heard (Confront)

London Free Improv Scene long-standing members, vocalist Phil Minton and drummer/percussionist Roger Turner's first album together, "Ammo", was released in 1984; the two have continued to record together, and this live recording from 2016 in Hanover, Germany shows the two continuing to create distinctly bizarre and wonderfully personal dialog unlike any other. ... Click to View

Golden Oriole: Golden Oriole (BeCoq)

Rough and ready, angular instrumental rock from this Stavanger, Norway-based instrumental duo of Kristoffer Riis on guitar and Thore Warland on drums, two parts of the power-trio Staer, here creating a massive dose of momentum as they push heavy rhythmic riffs with odd tonality and a great sheen of prickly effect layers, in a compelling and muscular album. ... Click to View

Loubatiere / Warnecke: Couleurs Chimeriques (BeCoq)

An album of rich aural environments contrasted with clamorous action and disintegrating sound from the duo of French percussionist Rodolphe Loubatiere performing on snare drum and Berlin-based sound sculptor Pierce Warnecke, their second album as a duo presenting a sophisticated and diverse set of compositions that both entrance and disrupt their listeners. ... Click to View

IKB: Apteryx Mantelli (Creative Sources)

IKB continue their series of albums graced with taxonomic latin names for animals, here with the North Island brown kiwi bird, as the string- and wind-heavy electroacoustic ensemble led by violist Ernesto Rodrigues present this extended improvisation of subtle motion and understated complexity live at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal in 2017. ... Click to View

Finn Loxbo / Erik Blennow Calalv : Snow Country (Creative Sources)

A duo between Swedish guitarist Finn Loxbo (Fire! Orchestra) and bass clarinetist Erik Blennow Calalv, in a low-key, moody and tranquil album of improvisations with titles implying their unhurried approach to their dialog--"Clouds", "Moving, Dancing", and "Ryoanji"-- making a beautiful album of nearly ambient but decidedly determined music. ... Click to View

Kang Hwan Tae : Live at Cafe Amores (NoBusiness)

Korean free saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan recorded this album of sincere and satisfying solo improvisations in 1995 at Cafe Amores, in Hofu, Yamaguchi, Japan, two decades after forming his first free jazz trio of experimental improvisations, demonstrating powerful technical skills and a unique voice on the sax; a long-overdue distillation of his music. ... Click to View

Kang Hwan Tae: Live at Cafe Amores [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

Korean free saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan recorded this album of sincere and satisfying solo improvisations in 1995 at Cafe Amores, in Hofu, Yamaguchi, Japan, two decades after forming his first free jazz trio of experimental improvisations, demonstrating powerful technical skills and a unique voice on the sax; a long-overdue distillation of his music. ... Click to View

Jeph Jerman : The Bray Harp (White Centipede Noise)

Aural explorer Jeph Jerman reworks 20 years of source material into this large work of recurring sound, obscuring sources in a rugged mill that turns its sonic grist into a mesmerizing flow of ringing tones and resolute grit, constructed from Jerman's own recordings and tapes from Eric La Casa and Oskar Burmmel, and metal & wood from Ben Brucato. ... 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.


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

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

Email Address:
  Please enter your question or request:

Previous E and A Interviews:
Ikue Mori Interview

The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at
written by
independent writers.


Recent Selections @ Squidco:

Matt Piet &
His Disorganization
(w /
Berman /
Mazzarella /
Rummage Out
(Clean Feed)

Frode Gjerstad Trio
+ Steve Swell:
Bop Stop
(Clean Feed)

Kidd Jordan /
Alvin Fielder /
Joel Futterman /
Steve Swell:
Masters Of

Roscoe Mitchell /
Art Orchestra:
Ride The Wind

Paul Morgan Khimasia:

Barre Phillips /
Motoharu Yoshizawa:
Oh My,
Those Boys!

Martin Blume /
Tobias Delius /
Achim Kaufmann /
Dieter Manderscheid:
Frames & Terrains

Derek Bailey &
[2 CDs]

Barre Phillips /
Motoharu Yoshizawa:
Oh My,
Those Boys!

Matthew Shipp Quartet:
Sonic Fiction

Max Eastley /
Steve Beresford /
Paul Burwell /
David Toop:
Whirled Music
(Black Truffle)

Stephen O'Malley /
Anthony Pateras:
Reve Noir

William Hooker
(Feat. Ava Mendoza /
Damon Smith):
(Astral Spirits)

Quin Kirchner:
The Other Side
Of Time
(Astral Spirits)

Anthony Braxton :
(Parker) 1993
(New Braxton House)

John Zorn:
The Urmuz

Lehn Schmickler
(Thomas Lehn /
Marcus Schmickler):
Neue Bilder
(Mikroton Recordings)

Veryan Weston:
The Make Project

Silke Eberhard Trio:
Being Inn

Taylor Bynum Ho :
Enter the Plustet
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Click here to
advertise with
The Squid's Ear

The Squid's Ear pays its writers.
Interested in becoming a reviewer?

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

  Copyright © 2016 Squidco. All rights reserved. Trademarks. (119364)