Butch Morris leads a conduction at the 2007 Skopje Jazz Festival in Macedonia. Samir Ljuma for NPR hide caption

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Samir Ljuma for NPR

Remembering Butch Morris, The Man Who Conducted Improvisation

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Herbie Hancock speaks with the current class of Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance masters degree students. Chip Latshaw/UCLA hide caption

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Chip Latshaw/UCLA

Drummer Pete La Roca plays during the May 19, 1965 recording session for his album Basra. Francis Wolff/Mosaic Images/Corbis hide caption

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Francis Wolff/Mosaic Images/Corbis

Trumpeter Ted Curson, depicted here on the cover of his album Urge, died last Sunday morning. Fontana Records hide caption

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Fontana Records

Eric Lewis, as ELEW, performs at the Blue Man Group's 20th anniversary after party in 2011. Jemal Countess/Getty Images hide caption

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Jemal Countess/Getty Images

David S. Ware. Michael Jackson/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Michael Jackson/Courtesy of the artist

Jamison Ross competes in the semifinal round of the 2012 Thelonious Monk Competition. Steve Mundinger/Courtesy of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz hide caption

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Steve Mundinger/Courtesy of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Emmet Cohen performs in the final round of the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, where he placed third. The 2012 competition takes place this weekend. Brendan Hoffman/WireImage hide caption

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Brendan Hoffman/WireImage

Abel Meeropol watches as his sons, Robert and Michael, play with a train set. Courtesy of Robert and Michael Meeropol hide caption

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Courtesy of Robert and Michael Meeropol

The Strange Story Of The Man Behind 'Strange Fruit'

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Pianist Kris Bowers performs in the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. He was later named the winner. Brendan Hoffman/WireImage hide caption

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Brendan Hoffman/WireImage