Michael Lytle and George Cartwright


“Much rhinoceros imagery.” That’s one of the things Chuck Hill said about us when we performed in Knoxville, Tennessee in April 1979. (We’ll let you know the rest later.) As they say, those were the days.

This web site is about the “reed tandem” Michael Lytle and George Cartwright and their musical odysseys, years long, and with this site, still going. We will take you through our beginnings in 1977 at the Creative Music Studio, our premier concerts in New York City, the Southern tour in 1979, and later, our association with the Downtown Music Scene and our wonderful trio with David Moss.

They are both Southern boys, Michael from the Missouri Ozarks and George from Midnight, Mississippi. Michael was a prodigy, devouring piano lesson books with glee, settling on the clarinet in Jr. High, and going on to study that wooden tube, electronic music and composition at Wichita and Iowa City. George was a later bloomer who took off like wildfire, studied in the Mississippi College system, co-founded the Ars Super Nova Music arts organization in Jackson, tore up the Creative Music Studio as a student, and relaxed to work with some fine teachers, notably, Jimmy Giuffre. See our Link Page for their individual web sites to find out more.

They met in Woodstock, New York, at the superlative Creative Music Studio, founded by Karl Berger and staffed with one amazing guest artist after another. Popping to mind was the New Years Intensive with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, then guest weeks with Anthony Braxton, Leo Smith (his name at the time), Carla Bley, Don Cherry, Fredric Rzewski, David Izenzon, Steve Lacy, even Cecile Taylor showed up for a minute - the list abounds. Michael was on the staff, recording concerts, watching over the out buildings, planting the garden, and teaching a special tuning class.

I think it was that George approached Michael. After they kicked it around for a few days, it became obvious there was a unique communication. Needless to say, off they went.

The tapes that follow were most all recorded by Michael at concert locations, and edited by Michael and George. They are of various quality but all are restored and quite listenable. We hope you will enjoy them. After all, we wanted something special to do, and we made this music for ourselves, but we made it for you too.