Butch Morris - Feb 10 1947 - Jan 29 2013
In Touch...But Out of Reach
Butch Morris -cornet
Grachan Moncur -trombone
Charles Eubanks -piano
Wilbur Morris -bass
Bobby Battle -percussion
Steve McCall -percussion
1. Irin Sun
3.Lovers Existing On The Dunes / Lonely Thrill
Recorded live at ENVIRON, NYC, 22nd & 23rd December 1978
I would have first heard Butch Morris on one of David Murray records, can't remember which. Very memorably he played on Murray's incandescent 'Home' (1982) as well as Frank Lowe's wonderful 'Exotic Heartbreak' (1981).
Butch played cornet - not trumpet. Beautiful laconic style. Seeming always to be more interested in the sound & texture of *the ensemble* rather than simply blowing hot on his own horn. And always - in his own improvising - that feeling of the blues.
His development of and move toward Conduction produced an always-interesting string of records - some arguably more successful than others. Right now I am playing 'The Arkbank Conduction' of The Suleyman Erguner Ensemble - traditional Turkish musicians augmented with electric guitar, electronics, drum machine, harp, and Hugh Ragin on pocket trumpet - conducted by Butch Morris. It works - it's fantastic.
By the early 90's - evidenced on Dust to Dust and the mammoth 10CD Conduction series on the New World label - Morris was playing much less cornet and focussed on developing his conduction, for wide varieties of ensembles in a wide variety of countries.
That he could still return to small group playing on cornet and produce brilliant music can be heard on the terrifyingly good Burning Clouds on FMP from 1993.
In Touch..But Out of Reach was recorded live in 1978 (though there is no audience noise).
Even in 1978, Morris seems most interested in tones and textures he can produce from *the band* and not merely in head-solo-head arrangements or collective free improv. Rhythmically, he's included 2 drummers for a reason, and both Steve McCall and Bobby Battle play off one another as well as off the pitched instruments - even if the recording quality is not best placed to allow the processing of many of the details unfortunately.
His other players however are damn monsters - those who know Moncur will relish the chance to hear more of him, Butch's brother Wilbur is a energetic and creative bass player, and Charles Eubanks is in no way outclassed by his colleagues.
Anyone that followed the earlier INTERface/ENVIRON posts might be interested that this record was made at the Environ loft (2 days before Christmas 1978)
Testament: A Conduction Collection 10CD set by Lawrence Butch Morris - New World Records
Farewell note and recordings at Nublu Records where Morris had a strong association
Grachan Moncur III
http://www.grachanmoncur.com/ Please please - if you derived enjoyment from this recording, visit Moncur's website, check it out and buy one of the recordings of this still living and grossly undervalued yet outstanding musician. Exploration from 2004 on Capri Records is superb.
Charles Eubanks (cousin of the well known Kevin and Robin) has recorded solo records for CIMP - as well as with Oliver Lake on Black Saint and Dewey Redman on ECM
McCall has appeared on many records... Under his own name (w/ Fred Anderson), there's Vintage Duets on Okkadisk. As a third of the trio Air, McCall plays superbly on - among others - Air Time (Nessa), Live Air, and Air Mail,
Both Butch and Wilbur Morris and McCall played in David Murray's great octet of the early 80's. They made wonderful records like Ming, Murray's Steps and Home