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Tyshawn Sorey Remembers Butch Morris

2.10.47 – 1.29.13

Lawrence "Butch" Morris

In July 2002 Butch Morris called me out of the blue and asked if I would be willing and able to participate in a series of concerts at the Bowery Poetry Club. Several months earlier I had become familiar with Butch’s work through separate discussions with my friends and colleagues Michele Rosewoman and Vijay Iyer. As I walked through the front door of the club for what would be my first creative orchestral performance, I didn’t realize I was about to embark on a journey that would forever change my life as a composer and performer.

For that first edition of New York Skyscraper, Butch welcomed me with open arms. Following the performance, he told me, “Whenever you want the gig, you got it!” Every night thereafter, Butch taught me a great deal about the necessity to commit to the moment at all times; he also taught me to always make compositional decisions, whether reading a score, responding to his “Conduction” cues-his trademarked term meaning “conducted improvisation”-or performing free improvisations. I found in him not only a generous, kind mentor but also a musical kindred spirit.

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