Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Joe Morris (guitarist)

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Occupation(s)  Musician, Teacher
Role  Guitarist
Name  Joe Morris
Instruments  Guitar, double bass

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Birth name  Joseph Francis Michael Morris
Born  September 13, 1955 (age 60) (1955-09-13)
Origin  New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Genres  Jazz Free jazz Avant-garde jazz Free improvisation Free Music
Books  Perpetual Frontier: The Properties of Free Music
Record labels  Clean Feed Records, Leo Records, Hathut Records, Black Saint/Soul Note, Knitting Factory Records
Albums  Red Hill, At the Old Office, Age of Everything, Colorfield, Three Men Walking
Similar People  Jamie Saft, Gerald Cleaver, Mat Maneri, Matthew Shipp, Ivo Perelman

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Joseph Francis Michael Morris (born September 13, 1955) is an American jazz guitarist, bassist, improvisor, and composer.


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Joe morris

Life and career

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Joe Morris was born in New Haven, Connecticut, United States in 1955. He started on guitar in 1969 and played his first professional gig later that year. With the exception of a few lessons, he is self-taught. The influence of Jimi Hendrix and other guitarists of that period led him to concentrate on learning to play the blues. John Coltrane's Om inspired him to learn about jazz. He worked to establish his own voice on guitar in a free jazz context from the age of 17. After high school he performed in rock bands, rehearsed in jazz bands, and played improvised music until 1975, when he moved to Boston.

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In 1983 he formed his own record company, Riti, and recorded his first album, Wraparound. An early mentor and playing partner was pianist Lowell Davidson.

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Between 1989 and 1993 he performed and recorded with his electric trio Sweatshop and electric quartet Racket Club. In 1994 he became the first guitarist to lead his own session in the twenty-year history of Black Saint/Soul Note with the trio recording Symbolic Gesture, and he has continued to record extensively for many labels such as Leo, Knitting Factory, AUM Fidelity, Hathut, Clean Feed, ESP and RogueArt. In addition to leading his own groups, he has recorded and performed with among others: Matthew Shipp, William Parker, John Zorn, Joe Maneri, Rob Brown, Ivo Perelman, Ken Vandermark and DKV Trio, Jim Hobbs, Steve Lantner, Daniel Levin, Petr Cancura and David S. Ware.

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He has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the US and Europe. He is a former member of the faculty of Tufts University Extension College and is currently on the faculty at New England Conservatory in the jazz and improvisation department.


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Morris has stated that his single-note technique was inspired more by traditional African music, and by saxophone players like Eric Dolphy and Jimmy Lyons, than by other guitarists. He cites as influences Cecil Taylor, Eric Dolphy, Leroy Jenkins, Thelonious Monk, Jimi Hendrix, and West African string music. In his solo work, he avoids distortion and guitar effects. He uses a serrated pick to "bow" the strings of his guitar and to create an otherworldly, harmonic-rich sound. He also plays banjo and banjo-uke, and since 2000 has concentrated on playing bass.


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  • Morris, Joe. Perpetual Frontier / The Properties of Free Music. Riti Publishing, 2012.
  • References

    Joe Morris (guitarist) Wikipedia