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Butch Morris

I first met Butch Morris in New York around 1980.  He was part of a new wave of artists, many from the West Coast, that included David Murray, Arthur Blythe, and James Newton.  There was a revolution going on, and I wanted to be part of it.  Butch was still playing cornet at the time.  They say you only regret the things you don't do.  I had wanted to record with Butch, I had an idea to call it Blue Flute Clan.  By the time I had my own label in the early 80's, Butch had left the coronet and was doing his conductions exclusively.  We would meet with mutual friends over the years, usually when I was visiting New York.  My producer Cookie Marenco also knew Butch through Dino J.A. Deane, a long time collaborator of Butch's.  Dino was one of the very first samplers, and Butch would incorporate that into his conductions.  A couple of years ago Butch was awarded a residency at Montalvo, and Cookie and I had several meetings and dinners with him.  Butch was looking for a label to release his film score to L'Amore Cache, and one of his music box pieces, Nowhere Everafter.  We agreed my label would release them.  We spoke of perhaps doing a live recording to DSD of his Nublu Orchestra, perhaps with myself and/or Emily Palen.  While never famous in mainstream media, Butch's influence among musicians and composers is immense.  He was such a gentle soul, and had a wonderful sense of humor.  Like Harry Partch and Lou Harrison, he was extremely prolific in spite of not receiving the recognition and rewards he deserved.  I've always considered that persistence an act of great bravery, and I am inspired by it.  Vale, Butch, it was a privilege, an honor, and a blast to know you.  Thank you for all the music.  That will be with us forever.