"DINO.....I NEED A HIP SAMPLE"
Traveling with Electronics : "DINO.....I NEED A HIP SAMPLE"
.....my remembrance of a dear friend
NEW MUSIC OBSERVATORY @ The Stone NYC 3/26/12 - The last time I saw my friend Butch
I met Butch Morris while sitting next to him on a John Zorn gig in late 84 / early 85. I was 34 playing electric trombone, Butch was 37 playing cornet. I wasn't quite sure what he thought of my rack of electronics and squawking feedback, but within weeks we were playing together again in a trio formed by guitarist Bill Horvitz and we became fast friends. Butch invited me to come see a concert he was giving at the Kitchen, doing something he called "Conduction". That concert on 2/1/85 was conduction #1 (Current Trends in Racism). I remember during the concert telling my partner Colleen, "He is doing the same thing that I do with samplers only he is doing it with live musicians". In that moment I "got it" and was hooked on the concept. By Conduction #3 (Goya Time - 1985) I was playing in Butch's large ensemble and in his trio as an electric trombonist and live-sampler and he became one of my dearest friends on the planet.
@ The Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg 1994 (with Martin Schutz) Performing SUCHT/LUST
I introduced Butch to the idea of having a live-sampler in a Conduction ensemble and he immediately got how organic it was to his concept of musical form and developed a sign specific to it. As a live-sampler one had to take a larger view of the music and almost intuit the direction Butch was going, in order to be ready to grab the appropriate motifs as the music would progress. Over time we developed a real unspoken short hand as I would sample what he needed/wanted even prior to getting the sign and he would flash me that impish grin of approval for being right where he was with the music. Often just before a concert he would find me and whisper in my ear "dino.....I need a hip sample", which meant to get something with an attitude, going early on that he could use to build on.
Off to lunch - the day after our performance of Holy Sea @ Teatro Puccini Firence Italy 2/8/96
After the performance a music critic burst into the dressing room demanding to "see the music"
that Butch had obviously forced all of the musicians in The Orchestra della Toscana to memorize!
We had both grown up in L.A. and shared a love for the arranging styles of Gil Evans and Gerald Wilson and during one long conversation on a train to somewhere about the idiosyncrasies of Gerald's conducting style we realized that we had to have been at the same club on the same night back in L.A. digging Gerald's band long before we ever met.
I think it was my role as live-sampler and my growing understanding of the conduction form that moved Butch to trust me to edit and sequence his recordings, sometimes in collaboration with him (Testament 10 CD box set), but more often by myself (Holy Sea, Berlin, Verona, London Improvisers Orchestra, Interflight, SuchtLust, Excessette, Butch Morris Trio Vol I, II, III, Folding Space). Many of these works have yet to be released. After he got out of the Hospital in October 2012 he called me and talked with great focus about the need to finish his book on Conduction and get un-released material edited and ready for release, so I completed another 4 CD's.
@ The Crystal Palace Madrid 2000 (INTERFLIGHT), maybe the last project Butch played cornet
Butch was so far ahead of the musical curve in both his large and small ensembles and took allot of shit from allot of people in the first ten years of Conduction. One of the biggest lessons I learned from him was perseverance and always being true to the integrity of your vision.
12 years into our friendship and artistic collaboration I started conducting my own ensemble Out Of Context, to better understand Conduction and over the next 15 years we had many long conversations and he was always very supportive about the direction I was taking this work. Our last conversation was around 1/12/13 and I told him that I felt I needed to take OOC in another direction and do a Conduction Guitar Choir. He loved the idea and offered this advice - "Dino, don't let them get comfortable.....Push Them.....we have to move this music forward.
Butch has given the world volumes of amazing music that will live on and I hope he will receive the widespread recognition that he deserves as a peerless artistic figure. His greatest gift to the world of music is CONDUCTION, this fundamentally simple yet boundlessly deep, method for manifesting exquisite musical form completely in the moment. What a profound gift that is.
@ My place in New Mexico for a good rest, a good hang, good food
and some good wine - while listening to the music of Gil Evans.
Butch will be missed by many - his gift must be taken forward into the future,
as it enriches the lives of those who practice it as well as those who listen to it.
I think Butch would like that.
I will miss you my friend.....dino