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 a workshop on Friday, October 8, 2021.
Morris begins his short residency at Illinois with a lecture at the Spurlock Museum drawing from and expanding on his 2012 book “Perpetual Frontier: The Properties of Free Music,” a concise volume on music improvisation developed (at the time) from nearly four decades of experience as a student, performer, curator, and educator in the field. “Perpetual Frontier” reflects Morris’ deep investigation into the methodologies of the field and encourages a practice that continually invites new possibilities.
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.
Morris is featured as leader, co-leader, or sideman on more than 180 commercially released recordings on the labels ECM, ESPdisk, Clean Feed, Hat Hut, Aum Fidelity, Avant, OkkaDisk, Not Two, Soul Note, Leo, No Business, Rogue Art, Relative Pitch, Incus, RareNoise, Fundacja Sluchaj, and his own labels Riti and Glacial Erratic. Morris has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe as well as in Brazil , Korea and Japan.
He has lectured and conducted workshops on his own music and on improvisation in the US, Canada, and Europe including at Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Bard College, University of Alberta, and University of Guelph. He was the recipient of the 2016 Killam Visiting Scholar Award at University of Calgary. He has been on the faculty at Tufts University, Southern Connecticut State University, Longy School of Music of Bard College, and New School. Since 2000, he has been on the faculty in the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation Department at New England Conservatory. Morris is the author of the book Perpetual Frontier: The Properties of Free Music (Riti Publishing 2012).