Butch Morris obituary

American composer who created 'conduction', a fusion of conducting and improvisation

The globetrotting projects of the American composer Lawrence "Butch" Morris, who has died of cancer aged 65, drew on the talents of players from many backgrounds, including Us and European jazz, Turkish sufi music, Japanese kabuki theatre, and classical music, dance and poetry. Morris described his approach as "an improvised duet for ensemble and conductor". Although he steered these encounters with a baton, his sign language was a homegrown technique he dubbed "conduction" – the definition of which has variously been given as a fusion of conducting and improvisation, and of combustion, ignition and propulsion. Morris staged more than 150 conductions (most of them simply entitled by their number in the sequence) in more than 20 countries in as many years.

His methods were a hybrid of conducting gestures borrowed from Horace Tapscott, Charles Moffett, Sun Ra, Lukas Foss and the electronics and computer composer Larry Austin.

See full article on The Guardian - TV News