RELOADED for Butch Morris

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Ensemble del Conservatorio di Palermo

The Fantasia per Ensemble – born from the breakdown and the reassembly of some of Leo Brouwer’s Estudios Sencillos – has been composed as part of an curriculum experiment conducted at the Vincenzo Bellini Conservatory of Music of Palermo in the late 90’s, in order to introduce a reflection on the ‘art of’ improvisation in the Classical Guitar course.

I thank first of all Fulvio Buccafusco and Dario Carnovale, already then – and even more so today- established first-class jazz musicians, whose creative input was pivotal to the success of the project.

Thanks to the enthusiasm of the students a successful series of concerts ensued, and finally, in 2000, a recording, published by the magazine Guitart, and reissued in this reprint.

In the past fifteen years a lot has happened in the artistic development of the protagonists of that exceptional experience: some former students are presently working as musicians while others are successful professionals in fields other than music.

All of them however share the feeling that the experience of the Ensemble has been invaluable in each of their subsequent personal development.

As for me I had occasion to deepen the art of improvisation through my assiduous presence in the New York music scene, which I have been profoundly linked to in recent years. Within that contest, I got to know a musician who has had a strong influence on me, both musically and personally: Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, who prematurely passed away about a year ago.

To him our Reloaded is dedicated.

Butch Morris is known worldwide for his memorable conductions all over the planet; improvisations with large and small ensembles of different kinds -including symphony orchestras -which he conducted all with remarkable consistency during the span of over twenty years –achieving incredible results as documented by the numerous recordings of his 199 conductions for major record labels.

Our Ensemble experiment proved to be unconsciously inspired by the practice that I would personally end up deepening in New York as a guitarist in formations such as New York Skyscrapers and the Nublu Orchestra, conducted by Butch Morris.

When I met this extraordinary musician, I had the feeling of walking on a road hitherto seen only in a dream, a circle closing once it had finally revealed its full potential.

At the time of his death Butch was about to move to Bologna in Italy, where he would have regularly conducted a symphonic orchestra as part of an artist residency that was expected to last several years. I am sure that the Italian Music Conservatories would have contended among each other to host his workshops, to the great advantage of musical education in our country.

In dedicating our music to him – now reprinted by Dotguitar – we want to remember one of his sayings, personally heard and noted during a rehearsal by me, in honor of all those who in the Arts have the courage to walk the path no one has yet ventured on:

“Do not mess up the name ‘art’ by creating stupidity. Conduction is a process not a product

Here’s to you, Butch Morris.