HRI is pleased to co-sponsor a series of programs on music improvisation featuring New England-based guitarist Joe Morris, widely recognized as one of the most original and important improvising artists of our time. Morris will offer a lecture and performance on Wednesday, October 6 and workshop on Friday, October 8, 2021.
A duo performance at Humanities Research Institute with Chicago-based cellist Tomeka Reid will follow the lecture that evening in a special double bill with a San Francisco Bay Area duo featuring Larry Ochs (saxophone) & Don Robinson (drums). The two groups featured as part of the annual Nick Rudd Music Experience will offer listeners an opportunity to hear distinct directions in Free Music, along with a first-time collaboration among all four players, illustrating in performance aspects of Morris’ earlier lecture. Both groups are represented on recent releases, Morris / Reid’s “Combinations” on RogueArt (2020), and Ochs / Robinson’s second issue “A Civil Right” on ESP-Disk’ (2021).
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS
Larry Ochs—Don Robinson Duo
Celebrating the recent release of their second and definitive duo recording, A Civil Right, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Larry Ochs—Don Robinson Duo will perform pieces steeped in the spirit of free jazz and improvisation. Ochs is a founding member of the great Rova Saxophone Quartet, one of the Bay Area’s avant-garde treasures since 1978. Robinson— “a percussive dervish,” according to Coda Magazine – has worked with luminaries such as Cecil Taylor, Glenn Spearman, Lisle Ellis, Wadada Leo Smith, and was the drummer of choice for ROVA’s revivification of John Coltrane’s Ascension. From The Wire (Bill Meyer, 2021): “Even at its most restrained, the playing is forcefully muscular, with Ochs leveraging emotional impact from the grit in his tone on both tenor and sopranino, and Robinson operating with the economy of a long distance runner. “
Described as a “New Jazz Power Source” by the New York Times, cellist and composer Tomeka Reid has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community over the last decade. Her distinctive melodic sensibility, always rooted in a strong sense of groove, has been featured in many distinguished ensembles over the years. Reid grew up outside of Washington D.C., but her musical career began after moving to Chicago in 2000. Her work with Nicole Mitchell and various Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians-related groups proved influential. By focusing on developing her craft in countless improvisational contexts, Reid has achieved a stunning musical fluency. She is a Foundation of the Arts (2019) and 3Arts Awardee (2016), and received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2017.
About Joe Morris
Downbeat Magazine called guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/composer/improviser Joe Morris “the preeminent free music guitarist of his generation.” Will Montgomery, writing in WIRE magazine, called him “one of the most profound improvisers at work in the U.S.”
He was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1955. He began playing guitar at the age of 14 first playing rock music, progressing to blues, then to jazz, free jazz and free improvisation. He released his first record Wraparound (riti) in 1983. He has composed over 200 original pieces of music.
Morris has performed and/or recorded with many of the most important contemporary artists in improvised music including, Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, John Zorn, Ken Vandermark, Mary Halvorson, Tyshawn Sorey, Tomeka Reid, Fay Victor, Tim Berne, Jaimie Branch, William Parker, Sylvie Courvoisier, Agusti Fernandez, Peter Evans, David S. Ware, Joe Maneri, Dewey Redman, Sunny Murray, Wadada Leo Smith, Leroy Jenkins, Ikue Mori, Charmaine Lee, Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, Marshall Allen, Barre Phillips, Barry Guy, Matthew Shipp, Sunny Murray, Zeena Parkins, Joe McPhee and many others.
These programs were made possible by the Nick Rudd Music Fund. Initiated by Rudd’s surviving wife Gina Manola and stepson Townes Durbin with a goal of the fund reaching endowment levels to ensure Nick Rudd Music Experience becomes established as an ongoing and permanent part of the music culture of our campus and community. To make a contribution towards the endowment, please contact David Allen at the School of Music.
These programs were also made possible with support from Humanities Research Institute, Improvisers Exchange, School of Music, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and Spurlock Museum of World Cultures.