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.

Matt Lavelle, April 10, 2019

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

49 49 trips around the sun is not just a quick skip through the park. My older friends are quick to tell me that I’m still young. It seems that as long as someone is older than you, then you’re still young. It goes right to the top. My father, in his mid-70’s, was telling me about the old-timers he drives around in his bus for Veterans gig. The guys in their 80’s and 90’s look back on people in their 70’s and say “What, your only 70?” I know and have know people up there in their 80’s. My first mentor Hildred made it to 85 or so. My buddy Giuseppi is 83 and seems to almost exist outside of time. Doc Cheatham is the oldest person I ever met, and he had chops in his 90’s. When I met him, he told me to tell Hildred to call him right away, there was music to play! As I write I’m about to turn 49, my last year in the 40’s. I’ll never forget Roy Campbell turning 50 and telling me he made the 50 yard line. I never had a mid-life crisis, at least I didn’t suddenly start driving a motorcycle or something like that. I have had somewhat of a musical mid-life crisis however. We all have our paths to walk, and have to be who we are. The timing of the way each lifetime works is what haunts me. What haunts me is that I sense the master plan’s presence, but access to it is denied. Every now and then in life an event can occur that changes everything. You can meet a person that just changes your entire life.

Matt Lavelle, March 3, 2019

Deeper Reality

Soul Thesis Who writes the idea of your soul? We all have to be who we are in this world, no matter what, but who decides where and when you are born, and with what purpose? I have always felt out of time and out of place, and left with no choice but to trust the process of life itself. So many things just make no natural sense, don’t make any sense on a level that deep down you just know are wrong. There are things that human beings have done and are doing that cannot be right. Life so often feels like a never ending test of what Spike Lee called do the right thing. We have failed in such extremes that one wonders how the school continues to exist. Over and over we must make the choice that somehow from deep down inside, we know is the right thing. What happens when you choose the path that you know is wrong? In jazz we’re thought to have to tell a story. But who’s writing it? I like to think we have a hand in writing it, and that our experience as souls, and the choices that we’ve made, lead us to the lessons we need to move forward. This is the issue I have with astrology.

Matt Lavelle, January 9, 2019

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Natural Music, Part 2 (Eagles and Snakes) Just a few weeks past, the Universe had me walking across town in NYC with none other than Pharoah Sanders. When you’re around someone imbued with that much spiritual power, you can sense something present that’s beyond the energy that you’re used to, especially in such a twisted environment as Times Square. The weather was brick cold, and the wind was gusting. As we moved past Broadway and headed West, an especially heavy gust came right for us, the kind that can make you lose your balance. I suggested that we seek shelter. Master Sanders did not agree.   “I don’t care about the cold. I want to feel the wind. I want to feel the spirit of it.”   Weeks later, I’m still thinking about what Pharoah felt. Master Sanders music has always contained a connection to forces beyond this world, and connected to those parts of life that are beyond our control as human beings. The forces of birth, death, and love. Forces like the almighty Sun. Seeing his embrace of the wind has stayed with me from deep inside the fortress of iron madness. Some might call the Zombies in Times Square unnatural, in their attempt to somehow head home covered with a nice superficial gloss. The wind whips its way through Times Square unimpeded, carrying the forces of change. The wind, has witnessed not some, but all of our transgressions over the centuries. The wind, is part of the natural world that some have turned their back on.