Matt Lavelle, November 15, 2018

Deeper Reality

HeartelodicsHeartelodics   Hear art elodics   These past few months I’ve gone right to where in vs.out was born. I’ve gone back and forth from Bird to Ornette, from Warmin’ Up a Riff to Ramblin’. From Klactovestedstene to Endless. I’ve gone back to Cherokee and played over 500 choruses. I’ve spent at least that many hours constructing a melodic improvising methodology. Not exactly harmelodics, but kind of a branch on that tree, where the improvising is not the melody, but free melody is the goal at all costs. Along the way, I’ve had some revelations about harmelodics that I have been dwelling on for some time. Stand with me.   At the risk of bad comedy, playing chord changes is just like wearing clothes. They protect you. You can be mad basic, or very elaborate. You can make bad choices, or look stylish as hell. Most people would say that wearing clothes, or playing changes is required. Even democrats and republicans agree that wearing clothes is for the most part a good idea.   Playing without changes, is playing naked. Most people consider being naked a private experience. What happens when you take off your clothes? What kind of activities do you engage in? When you play free like this, the bottom line is that you’re vulnerable as hell on pretty much every level. The safety of structure and harmony are gone. It’s ALL on you now, and whomever is there with you.

Matt Lavelle, October 23, 2018

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

The Pit of Gold Upstate, Kingston New York. 1995. My self-imposed exile from the straight-ahead scene in NYC has taken an unexpected turn. I work for an organization in Ulster County that gets work for and then supervises folks with mental illness. Today my crew is working at a recycling plant. Trucks come and dump recycling into a giant pit. A conveyor brings the trash up to a platform where my crew sorts everything by separating it and throwing the trash into giant bins. Unfortunately for me, there is a massive clog at the base of the conveyor and our production has come to a halt. Rick, I need you to go down there and unclog the pit man. Not today Matt, sorry. Alex? Nope. John? As I have always down in situations like this in my life, I went down into the pit myself. I entered a waist-high sea of what people have discarded. Recycling is still trash. It’s backwash, it’s slime, it’s filth, it’s the excrement of society, one of the lowest forms of civilization in American life. As I struggled to reach the clog and free up the belt I paused and said to myself that I’m going to remember this moment. I was working to survive, doing what I had to do, no shame in that, but this was still low. I was the slime on the sewer that the rain cannot clean. I was in danger of getting my soul stained. I made it out of the pit. Now 23 years later I’ve been wondering where my sounds come from. Why does everything I play have a blues element? That could just be me.

Matt Lavelle, September 6, 2018

Deeper Reality

Giuseppi Logan's Last Stop Somehow, I end up getting out to see G right before school starts again. Today he asked me when I would be finished. I said by the end of this year, but I added that I’ve learned more from him than I’ll ever get in school. I wrote a letter to Hildred Humphries back in the day during my one semester at Berklee saying the same thing. The oral tradition, that’s not over. I remember hanging out with Butch Morris once outside Nublu between sets. The subject of Giuseppi came up and Butch said he loved his music. The reason he gave is that no one, no one plays like that. He found a new way to play the horn. I like to think that when Butch hired me to play bass clarinet it was for the same reason. Say what you will about Ornette’s trumpet playing, one of the reasons Jackie Mac was down with it on Old and New Gospel was that nobody sounded like that. That’s the main reason I play alto clarinet, it’s like landing on a planet that has only just begun to be explored. I found G asleep in his room. He has no roommate up on the fourth floor. I waited for him to wake up and then we had a listening session. First up was Dance of Satan. I showed him on YouTube that people have listened to this piece 7,000 times and had given him 97 “thumbs up.” He laughed. When Giuseppi was holding court in Tompkins Square Park a few years ago, he would tell people to google him, with one of his CD’s proudly on display.

Matt Lavelle, September 4, 2018

Deeper Reality

The Divine Inventor. The Astrology of Ornette Coleman   “Ornette always knew what he was doing. He had it all worked out.” -Denardo Coleman   I’ll even go as far as to say that even before birth, Ornette had a plan. His entry point into this world was perfectly timed for him to actualize his life. In other words, Ornette came into this world astrologically armed to be exactly who he was and accomplish exactly what he did. While John Coltrane’s astrology placed him on somewhat of a tilting wheel playing in the spaces between everything, and Albert Ayler’s astrology was so extreme that it couldn’t be sustained long-term, Ornette’s mission was crystal clear. He was a spiritual and musical scientist with a true heart of gold containing a sensitivity rare in human beings that permeated everything he did. In a more abstract sense, Ornette was as he told me, the moon itself.   Let’s go to the videotape. Ornette told Art Taylor that he was born in Fort Worth Texas on March 9th, 1930. He was four years younger than Miles Davis and John Coltrane and born the same year as Clifford Brown. His Sun in Pisces in the first house granted the power to be a leader with collaborators, along with a deep need for freedom of expression as the undertow of everything he did. Ornette was 43% cardinal energy, which further grants a need to undertake plans, to create, and to be an extreme individual. Ornette was 50% water and what I call a true Pisces.

Matt Lavelle, September 3, 2018

Deeper Reality

4 am. The Hour of God. I like to envision being on the Earth where there are no cities, no suburbia, no people and no requirements to live other than to simply exist. The only constant would be the Earth continuing to rotate and orbit. The sunrise and sunset the only barometer of the existence of forward motion. Perhaps what I miss is life in ancient Egypt, but that would be too much society, too much structure. I envision a place where the only relationship that exists is one with the forces that are beyond our control and beyond our understanding.   I could pursue this kind of reality as a mountain man perhaps, or if I somehow found a deserted beach. Last night I came as close as I ever have to this reality in New York City of all places. Down at the RFK bridge in Astoria where the bridge reminds me of what we’re capable of creating when we’re not wasting all our energy on the culture that spawned Trump. The bridge also reminds me of giant spiritual structures, though it certainly does not contain the power of the great pyramids.   Down by the riverside is where I’m drawn to practice music meditation. I have, for some time now, been practicing music meditation often as close to the river as possible. The reason is that I feel the rivers natural power. Despite being surrounded by human structure, it exists as does the sky and the ocean. The river is defiant in today's world, like the trees.