Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris2006


Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris was recognized as an innovator in the confluence of jazz improvisation, contemporary classic and new music, and as principal theorist and practitioner in the evolution of Conduction®: (conducted interpretation/ improvisation) is a vocabulary of ideographic signs and gestures activated to modify or construct a real-time musical arrangement or composition. Each sign and gesture transmits generative information for interpretation, providing instantaneous possibilities for altering or initiating harmony, melody, rhythm, articulation, phrasing or form.

Conduction® is a vehicle to maximize musical potential with basic threshold standards for the continuing discovery of music and musicianship in general, and aims and objectives in particular: a system of principles and a means of communicating knowledge; an organon for the instrumentalist, composer, conductor and audience. This process invites revelation and transforms the conductor into a musical creator. The goals and intentions of Conduction® are akin to those that jazz has always espoused: justice, unity, liberty, mastery of self and the moment through virtuosity, risk and teamwork. Mr. Morris’ career is distinguished by outstanding contributions to television, film, theater, dance, radio, interdisciplinary collaborations, concerts and recordings worldwide.

"To find my expression as contribution to, and continuum in, music, I initially turned to notation and improvisation. How could I overcome the differences between them? I began by locating their common ground. Then, with the values I held–spontaneity, momentum, combustion, ignition and propulsion (the essence of swing)–I returned to fundamentals to identify how all traditions could coexist; that is, for improvisers to improvise and for interpreters to interpret the “same material.” I see Conduction® as a bridge between, and a supplement to, notation, interpretation, improvisation, and musicianship, giving greater latitude to each. My goals are, as always, to answer the questions that Conduction® raises as an expressive medium in culture, community, art and education, and to find the Primus of the Spirit' in a new social logic."