Matt Lavelle, December 15, 2019

Tales from the Front

Evolve or Die In my earliest days in NYC I used to haunt Smalls. After hearing me play, Jimmy Lovelace sat me down and told me to quit music because I just didn't have it inside me. He insisted he was stopping me for my own good. I was shook but I came back the next night and played. He approached me again. "I thought I told you music was not your path." I responded in a way that he decided to back down and leave me alone. That still didn't stop another trumpet player from trying to get me to step outside and fight because he was the out cat at Smalls, and I was trying to take his territory. I left Smalls on good terms however. The last time I played there at around 4 or 5 in the morning people were listening and digging me. You know when the audience is with you. That was 20 years ago, and I never returned. I still couldn't get my survival game together. I self-exiled myself to upstate NYC and engaged in let's say cult-like activity. I ended up playing cornet maybe an hour a week in a closet. I got that horn from a school and never returned it and then gave it to my girlfriend Liduva's son. Then I heard he had a girlfriend who took the horn on some revenge stuff or something. While I was upstate I was considering living an entirely spiritual life only to discover that without music it would be impossible. I started playing again and made my way back to NYC. My survival game was still in shambles.

Matt Lavelle, November 28, 2019

Deeper Reality

Sound Manifesto Sound Manifesto   We've never seen sound We've measured it, transcribed it, analyzed it, and spent countless hours listening to each other speak.

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.