Vipal Monga’s first feature-length documentary chronicles an unprecedented series of concerts performed in February 2005 by the legendary jazz composer Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris. The concerts were in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Conduction, Butch’s revolutionary technique for live music-making. Butch put on 44 performances in 28 days with 85 musicians pulled from all across New York’s musical community. Along with footage from these remarkable concerts that span a full range of musical styles—from big band jazz to funk to electronic and symphonic works—the documentary features some of the leading lights of the New York creative-music community, including Henry Threadgill, JD Allen, Brandon Ross, Graham Haynes, Howard Mandel, and Greg Tate. Although the film provides unique insight into New York’s vibrant avant-garde music scene, BLACK FEBRUARY is more than a simple portrait of those 28 days, or a biography of an enigmatic and complex musical legend. It’s a film about the scope of a theory that is redefining what it means to make music. More than a testament to Butch’s place as a leading figure in the evolution of jazz or a glimpse into New York City’s dynamic musical counterculture, BLACK FEBRUARY is about the creative process and the struggles of all artists trying to distill the purest essence of themselves into their work.
Official Selection, Big Sky Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, New Filmmakers New York 2012
Filmmaker Fund Recipient, Rooftop Films
"Butch Morris is a vibrant voice for modern jazz. His ideas about composition and improvisation will be with us for many years to come. They're reflections of the way we live in a tech and information based culture."
- Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky
“Butch has evolved an extremely powerful language for creating a real-time music that balances composition and improvisation”.
- Elliott Sharp
“Seeing the maestro in a live "conduction" is like being in his brain--his thought process at once visible and audible”.