Photos of celebrants of composer-conductor Lawrence Douglas “Butch” Morris at a memorial held in Angel Orensanz, a renovated former-synogag in the East Village, by Sánta István Csaba. Writings for and about Butch by Steve Dalachinsky.
Conduction # Infinity (Out of Reach but Never Out of Touch)
Butch: his mischievous smile > stern look > open laugh > dapper apparel >
a real dandy > like back in the days when > his midrange slightly twanged voice >
everything I’ll say is clichéd pompous emotional > rubbed in ashes at times > such elaborate performance we produce sometimes for no one > the wind > trees > the rushing water > walking on hot coals to emit a portrait of pain > among the last & first budding flowers & weeds > his baton / those lighter than air dancing shoes > gentlemanliness > his overall attire that gruff little me admired so much > his NEATNESS > those dancing shoes those dancing shoes > that held him firmly in place > he passed the way neighborhoods pass yet always sustain their quality > personality > somewhere in the brick > the way seasons pass & are replaced always by hosts of new hustlers > new lovers> & he one of the last of the real of the real > a unique lover of the unique & loved by all > the unique & mundane alike > come again next fall > winter > spring > summer > come again in storm & dust > those dancing shoes that I wanted so much > last of the real of the real > dancing on indifferent waters . . .
it’s warm grey > a partial of a bridge floats between 2 buildings > bare trees blanket the river > a lifetime’s profound effect inspires the music’s language > qualities > progress >
shared experiences on & off the bandstand > intelligence > compassion > passion > courage > contact > appreciation > special > gifted > interpersonal > shrewd > sharp always zeros in on feelings & strengths > brought out the best in all > presence > worked with nurturing > worked til the end > gave as he danced in those special shoes > baton wave(r)ing > all for the flight the stage the flow the all the legacy for the future to be taken > remarkably dignified > professional > though sometimes lost his cool > always taught with his presence > treated all as equals > a prime element of conduction > open direct validation > hey I’m with the band I’d feel sometimes > those dancing shoes that held him in place rooted to the NOW > truly always in the instance > makes you get it > get what he gets > the essence of the process > challenging > demanding > draining > gotta get it right > you knew when he knew he got it right > that smile the body relaxing > though he never felt secure > gave more than enough > but when he felt he failed or that he didn’t go far enough you saw it on his face & when he succeeded you saw it on his face > that smile > the baton relaxing > worked with every type of person > instrument in completely unique ways developed a new concept of world music taking it far beyond that simple term > far beyond the world creating a world of worlds > a clinician bridging 2 worlds 3 worlds endless worlds > how he made the musicians & instruments react/interact > musician & instrument becoming one > helped folks connect with their inner voice > understand & tap into their strengths > mixing their personal languages with his > travelling around the world like running up & down stairs > room heart mind journey commitment > the work always first > well maybe not always >
nothing can stop this force even up to the end > radiates > a special relationship with everyone > heartbreaker with the skill to be a real human being > & so CHARMING >
a charmer a lover > the more one let one self go the more one understood the concept he put forth both audience & orchestra > world traveler dandy handled his illness positively privately maturely > a mature guy this Butch > a child a dandy a flirt > the band became his family as did his friends & his audience > we all became his lovers of sorts > this perfectionist who rehearsed performed demanded > he left me his extra food coupons in Marseilles & a drawer full of vitamins too > & when I finally got the process his concept what conduction was wow I was up there with him expecting laughing scowling relaxing tensing up getting frustrated or getting HIGH > he was a one of a kind > his contributions will live on > he will & does have imitators but not duplicators > disciples even > filled with exploration > fiery dancey > shoes I want those shoes that dignified presence on the dance floor > as I said he was a hard task master but when he got the results he wanted everyone knew it everyone felt it everyone got it > transcendent > like dancing on different waters > bridging > expanding > building > a life partially hidden by the seasons > like dancing on different waters > last of the real of the real > spirit genius > genuine > scraping the sky with his wand > wandering into the void a partial of a bridge suspended between 2 buildings sunset a lifetime blanketed by a river of trees . . .
— Steve Dalachinsky, c 2013