Butch Morris, RIP

Butch Morris-thumb-98x109-18567

The ceaselessly innovative and searching composer and Butch Morris died yesterday in New York. He had been under treatment of cancer for several years. Morris was 65. He developed an approach to big band music that he called conduction. It made demands on musicians by insisting on intensive, intuitive listening, reaction and interaction. The effort involved adjustment to Morris’s highly personalized methods of conducting while simultaneously composing and arranging through a system of cues and … [Read more...]

John And Johann

John Lewis

It is not news that J.S. Bach influenced John Lewis. The Modern Jazz Quartet pianist and his wife Mirjana recorded two-keyboard albums of pieces by Bach, and many of Lewis’s compositions for the MJQ contain harmonic and fugal elements that are direct reflections of Bach. The Baroque master introduced into music so many structural, rhythmic and harmonic aspects beloved by jazz players that Dave Brubeck, among others, said if Bach had lived in the 20th century, he would have been a jazz … [Read more...]