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A Musical Portrait


Peter V.C. Morris, solo piano

1. OPENING – Peter V.C. Morris
2. FLAMINGO –Ted Grouya & Edmund Anderson
4. COUNTERPOINT – Peter V.C. Morris
5. OCEAN ETUDE – Frederic Chopin Op. 25 No. 12
6. SKYLARK – Hoagy Carmichael / Johnny Mercer
7. BOSTON 1954 – Peter V.C. Morris
8. REVOLUTIONARY ETUDE – Frederic Chopin Op. 10 No.12
9. TONE ROW – Peter V.C. Morris
10. OUT OF NOWHERE – Johnny Green & Edward Heyman
11. DON’T BLAME ME –Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields
12. ALLEMANDE – J.S. Bach – French Suite N°2 BWV813
13. PETER’S BLUES – Peter V.C. Morris
14. SARABANDE – J.S. Bach - French Suite N°2 BWV 813
16. YESTERDAYS – Jerome Kern & Otto Harbach
17. CODA – Peter V.C. Morris

Recording Dates:
Tracks 1, 2, 4, 11, 13, 16, 17 – 1955
Tracks 3, 5, 8, 12, 14 – 1959
Track 6 - 1988
Tracks 7, 9, 10, 15 – 1954


The project of releasing the music of Peter V.C. Morris, spanning over decades, was conceived by Carlotta Morris, Peter’s wife, and Connie Crothers. Lenny Popkin has been dedicated to finishing this project. Working with several sources, he has created a beautiful master. The tracks for “A Musical Portrait” were chosen by Connie, Carlotta, Lenny, and in a way, Peter, himself, as he had compiled a list of preferred pieces.

Connie spoke to me many times about this project. She was very excited about it and had worked assiduously transferring tapes and compiling track lists for choosing the music for this CD. She specifically mentioned Peter’s counterpoint on his free improvisation, “Counterpoint”. She was very moved by his expression of the piano voices. She felt he was doing something original. About “Boston 1954”, Lenny Popkin noted that this music is among the earliest recordings of an extended free solo improvisation.

Peter was on the scene when Lennie Tristano had his studio at 317 East 32nd Street in Manhattan. He took piano lessons from Lennie for a short time. He also studied tenor saxophone with Warne Marsh, with whom he developed a lasting friendship. You can hear Peter playing tenor sax on “Out of Nowhere”.

Peter talked to me about attending sessions at Lennie’s studio as a listener - his reminiscences were vivid. I know how deeply inspired he was by Lennie and Warne, as well as many of the other musicians who frequented Lennie’s studio during that vibrant and creative time. 

He was also impacted by Charlie Parker, whom he heard and became acquainted with when Bird often played at the Hi Hat club in Boston, where Peter was living at that time.

Peter studied classical piano with David Saperton in NYC. His ability to render classical pieces with amazing intensity and feeling and also be able to improvise as a true jazz player is unique. Not too many musicians have successfully done both! 

About Peter’s improvising on standards, Lenny Popkin said, “His focus is unwavering when he’s improvising. His sound and line are original.” And about Peter’s classical playing, “Peter’s recordings of these Bach selections from the French Suite No. 2 have become my personal favorites. I am moved by his beauty of sound and depth of feeling.”

Peter had a natural dedication to, and love for music. Carlotta had this to say: “Music was really the focus of his life. Music was what he cared about other than his family and his friends.” Peter’sdaughter, Theodora, described how much she loved hearing her father play when she was growing up.Peter was a dear and great friend to all of us. It is with love and deep respect that we present this music to you.

Carol Tristano