Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri. Feb 20 & Tues Feb 24

I’ll try to break it to you gently, but if you want to hear my impression of the dovecall of the European wood-pigeon you’ll have to wait until the end of the show—8-10PM Friday and noon to 2PM next Tuesday, NYC urban pigeon time—when I perform it, possibly in too low a key, in reference to the climactic theme of Sibelius’ 3rd Symphony, which in my opinion he lifted from a local Finnish specimen, without attribution. At least the Canadian TV Western, Bordertown, that lifted the opening theme from that same Sibelius symphony and orchestrated it in a manner suggesting Mike Post in his Rockford period had the good grace to say so in the credits. All three versions will be on offer toward the end on the show, which opens with the music of the late and well-loved Butch Morris. I’ve seen other musicians—Roscoe Mitchell and Karl Berger for two—lead large improvising ensembles in a manner approaching Morris’ ‘conduction’, but no one employed it as extensively or for that matter as internationally as he, shaping music out of the air of the moment with a highly cultivated vocabulary of gestures, with or without previously composed material offered into the whirlwind: a music that could play fast and loose even when it was slow and brooding. The show starts off with The Long Goodbye, not the John Williams tune wittily deployed in the Altman movie of that name, but Morris’ own memorial piece for pianist Don Pullen, and after some torch ballads, one of them featuring a Frank Sinatra at once definitive and phony, Butch Morris music resumes with his three-movement Conduction #31. After that you can sing along with Cecil Taylor and Max Roach until Sibelius skiis into the border town all the world’s music lives in, and sampled for you here.Butch

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