Originally from New Haven, Conn., guitarist and composer Joe Morris began playing in 1969 and is self-taught. He considers Cecil Taylor, Eric Dolphy, Leroy Jenkins, Thelonious Monk, Jimi Hendrix, and West African string music as major influences. He has performed with Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe Maneri, Ken Vandermark, Mat Maneri, Rob Brown, John Butcher, Eugene Chadbourne, DKV Trio, Dewey Redman, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, Andrew Cyrille, Ivo Perlman, Andrea Parkins, Hamid Drake, Thurman Barker, Fred Hopkins, Bern Nix, Joe McPhee, Billy Bang, Lowell Davidson, Peter Kowald, Raphé Malik, Whit Dickey, Mats Gustufsson, Aaly Trio, Roy Campbell Jr., and many others.
He currently leads the Joe Morris Trio and Quartet, the electric sextet Racket Club, and Many Rings Ensemble; and performs solo, in duos, and as a freelance guitarist. He is featured on 30 recordings, many of which have been named among Writer’s Choice (best of the year) in The Village Voice, The Chicago Tribune, The Wire, Coda, and Jazziz. He was among those listed in the "Best Guitarist" category in the 1999 and 2000 Down Beat Critics’ Poll; listed in the "Best Guitarist — Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" category in the 1998 and 2000 Down Beat Critics’ Poll; was nominated "Best Guitarist" at the 1998 New York Jazz Awards; and nominated for the Cal/Arts Alpert Award in 2001.
He has taught guitar and improvisation privately since the early 1970s, and has performed and conducted workshops in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Former faculty of Tufts University Experimental College. Recordings on Riti Records, AUM Fidelity, Knitting Factory, Okka Disc, OmniTone, Soul Note, Avant, Incus, Hat Hut, ECM, Leo, Homestead, NoMore, About Time.
photo by Andrew Hurlbut