Matt Lavelle, October 13, 2019

Boundaries Boundaries is a tune written by Bern Nix. Celebrating his life and music last week has me musing once again on musical identity. It has occurred to me that I have been trying to figure out my musical identity for many moons. Bern was a straight ahead Berklee graduate when he joined Prime Time. His time with Ornette had a deep impact on him. After he left OC he sort of went back halfway to where he was before they met, but he was now totally harmelodic. Was he harmelodic before he met OC though? Bern liked to swing with acoustic bass, and harmonically he created his own language that was rooted in tradition but had become so personalized. His unique chordal process may only be understood only by musicians that have played with him, and in the end was based on in the moment human exchange. Bern was a true master of playing the chordal position with a horn player in a traditional context but being harmelodic. He liked open swing and Prime Time grooves opened up in a swing context. I not only miss him personally, I miss him musically. When people understand each other musically they can have an exchange that only they can share. It's a human experience that transcends technical analysis. Bern not only invited me into his music, he understood what I was doing, and then backed me up traditionally in a non-traditional way that only he could do. Bern and I just understood one another in the end. Those phone calls, man I miss him.

Matt Lavelle, September 9, 2019

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Giuseppi Logan Saves the World I got the call from the universe, or a feeling from deep inside, that it was time to go see my buddy Giuseppi a few days ago. I tried to get other folks to join me, but it looked like it was me and G again. I found him in his room wearing a fly hat that had his name on it, a gift from his angel. G was in a good mood when I stepped in with my surprise visit. We quickly got into what we both exist for: Music   First up was the tools we use to get it out. G told me the flat five on his piano was broke! Sure enough his E and Bb keys were out of commission. He told me it was all about piano now. That sound from his horns still exists, through we may not hear it again. I immediately flashed back to a gig we did at the Stone when I asked him to only play piano which went great. G has his own unique comping language besides his own piano voice and touch. That gig always stands out because G asked me what key a tune was in and I said "every key", to which he then started running all the keys. I  recall another gig with Bern Nix and Giuseppi playing on a Fender Rhodes. Long after the gig, Bern was talking about how effective G was, listening and responding to him. Next we listened to his piano piece Curve Eleven from his second disc on ESP. Then we listened to his piano playing on his quintet record that we did. I talked with his angel about replacing his keyboard. Next we just went on a Giuseppi Logan deep dive on my phone.

Matt Lavelle, August 26, 2019

Deeper Reality - New York City Subway Drama and Beyond

Bright Momentum Daniel Carter and I talk about many things. He's the person who got me to start writing. I used to have a notebook of stuff that's lost now. I was using an ancient tool called a pen that I could use to write words in ink on paper. We used to roll on the phone then. DC called me at my desk at Tower Records, where I would talk on the DL. He liked to rap about rap and in response I wrote some and even performed it a few times, once at CBGB's Gallery on Dee Pop's free jazz Sunday. (not for free, that joke is played) The tourists in the front row were confused, but yes, entertained. That was tricky, because in my mind at the time it was confrontational. I try to stay today on my own terms. Many trumpet players younger than me are much better at it.

Matt Lavelle, August 2, 2019

Deeper Reality

DeathI read an interview with Branford Marsalis who spoke about a group of people gathered around Elvin Jones asking him about what it was like to be right at the center of John Coltrane's music. Elvin said that at the core of it all was this level of conviction: To reach that level with someone musically, you have to be willing to die with that person. The folks around him thought that maybe he was kidding and then realized he was serious. That's where many people tap out and that's where my study begins. I certainly don't enjoy looking death in the eye. I have been pushed into it. Born in 1970, many of my closest friends in music are in their 60's and above. The ascension of so many warriors during the last few years is enough to crack your jaw and keep you pinned down to the floor, with your heart in a cage across the room out of reach. Tazz, Raphe, Will, Joe, Juan, Ramsey and beyond. I was playing my way through it until death invited me into an intimate and sacred experience that in truth, I may never be able to shake. When I found my brother Bern Nix, he had been dead for a couple days, and I essentially broke the seal on his room that had become a chamber of death. Death was in that room. I have been haunted by this encounter ever since. I have written about eye contact with God. When death looks at you, death sees your soul. Your soul knows it's being seen. As far as I can tell, this experience is impossible for the soul to forget.

Matt Lavelle, July 15, 2019

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Soaring With Bird. The Astrology of Charlie Parker Looking deeper into the astrology of Ornette Coleman inevitably led me to the astrology of Charlie Parker. Bird is where Ornette started. Thanks to Massimo Magee who asked me when I would do Eric Dolphy's chart. That idea made me realize I had to go to Bird first. Looking closely at Bird's cosmic relationship with the universe leads to what I call the forbidden questions. Some people feel there are questions that shouldn't be asked. Bird's chart contains a clarity that brings insight into the extreme nature of his life experience, and maybe even a few answers. As usual, I defer to Amir Bey, Charles Downs, and the late great Will Connell as the jazz masters of astrology. My interpretations are based on the work of Jeffrey Wolf Greene and stem from my own astrology where my Pluto in the 9th house placement gives me a window into the world where Bern Nix is currently talking shop with Juan Quinonez. Rest in peace Juan. Bird's chart is available online, with a solid source of his birth time from the website Bird Lives! He was born August 29th, 1920 at 1:45 AM in Kansas City. He would be on the verge of his 100th birthday today. Bird had his Sun in Virgo in the third house of communication, but not only that. His Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn were also in Virgo in the third house. All of that power in one house is known as a stellium. A stellium is when three or more planets converge in one house, turning up the volume, and denote a very specific mission that the soul was on.