Butch Morris ‎– Current Trends In Racism In Modern America



Part One 24:35
Part One (Continued) 12:20
Part Two 10:30



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May 27, 2015
referencing Current Trends In Racism In Modern America, LP, Album, SAS 4010

This music-composition method Morris created, a way of presenting Morris’ own variation on a live music performance, he described as “an improvised duet for ensemble and conductor.” The Morris conduction combined the techniques of centuries-old European classical music and jazz with, consciously or unconsciously, the concepts of consumer electronics. Most notable was that for most of the three decades of conductions, there was no preconceived source material. Morris commandeered his musicians’ improvised gestures during each performance and directed them into set-long temporal compositions. No repeat performance, no greatest hits shows and no classic album tours.

1985’s Conduction No. 1 – provocatively titled “Current Trends in Racism in Modern America” – featured burgeoning New York downtown scenemakers including reedist John Zorn and turntablist Christian Marclay. No. 1, like most conductions, sounded far more like a new strain of modern classical music than jazz improvisation. The recorded outcomes of Morris’ numerically ascending conductions often float like the fantasias of the Renaissance era, imitative of voices while introducing various tempos and clashing harmonies.

Though he’s not widely remembered as an arranger, Morris, in effect, was a live mix editor: choosing which spontaneous figures would get mirrored, modified, discarded or saved for later usage by a series of baton and hand signals. Morris’ imitation of electronic memory (or sampling) was a gesture to the head and a number signal. A musician’s riff or an entire conducted section might get a number and return later in the performance as a repeat or counterpoint to another idea.....

Matt Gorney