Saturday, February 2, 2013

bye bye butch


I'm sad to hear about the passing of Butch Morris, one of the biggies of improvisation conducting (there aren't that many of them). I had the chance to see him conduct a few times and, along with Walter Thompson, he seemed not only able to devise his own conducting language, but to teach it to improviser orchestras in a fairly short time.  Watching him work could be distracting, but the music that resulted was usually amazing. Here are a few clips of Morris an one of Thompson (for contrast). At one point I got inspired to try to devise a similar conducting system and let me tell you that it is much harder than it looks.

Walter Thompson (this one even has dancers)