Matt Lavelle, June 7, 2021

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Francois Grillot and the Hymn to the Universe   What can you say when one of your oldest longtime brothers in music leaves this world?   Francois was wearing a t-shirt with wolves on it when I met him working at Tower Records Lincoln Center in the early 90’s. The boss sent him to my receiving department for overtime. I gave him these red baskets filled with random returns and stuff to figure out and he went to town. I scored a regular Saturday night gig at a place called the Rainy Daze in Chelsea and was looking for a bass player. Francois said “Hire me man, I can play this shit, I’m telling you.” (I was playing standards then) Boom-we played there for a year. Francois sometimes arrived wearing a coat with a lion's head on it. As the year went on we got more and more modal, and eventually out, at least like Miles, Tony, Wayne, Herbie and Ron out. We also played brunch gigs in the village. It was then that I was introduced to Francois kitchen, where we started playing sessions. What I wouldn’t give for a copy of Misty, one of our duo numbers that we recorded back then. At some point I left NYC on a spiritual quest of sorts. My friend Sarah saw Francois and he told her “Tell Matt to fucking call me!” Francois now had my old job at Tower as the receiving manager. I came back to NYC looking for a job, and I then worked for him at Tower as he had worked for me. Now I was on a mission to play more free and had discovered the Vision scene.

Matt Lavelle, March 24, 2021

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

An open letter to NYC and beyond  Just last week here in NYC, I was down in SOHO to deliver one of my paintings to a dear friend. Even through my COVID mask, I caught a whiff of something I knew so well, but haven't smelled in years-a true NYC slice of pizza. I jokingly told my friend Joan on the phone that the sign outside said they had the best Sicilian pizza in NYC, and she quickly informed me that it wasn’t true. Nevertheless, once that smell hit I was lured inside, the same way a pie out of the oven made Tom from the old Tom & Jerry cartoons blissfully float in the air to the windowsill where the pie was cooling. Inside I saw an old man behind the oven and I noticed that the cash register was old school, it wasn’t about entering your debit card. When my beloved slice arrived it had that extra dripping mozzarella mid landslide, over a river of perfect red sauce. The crusty bed was the perfect pillow like texture and temperature, with the heat gently heat rising off and escaping. Yes, a symphony, took place in my mouth. I wasn’t sure if these places still existed in NYC, but what was this really about? I couldn’t sit at that socially distanced table by myself without thinking back to what was really far more important, the post gig slice, where real talk always took place. Over my 30 years in NYC, many many times after the gig, it was time to go cop a slice with Ras Moshe, Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter, Roy Campbell, Raphe Malik, Bern Nix, and my whole crew over the years.

Matt Lavelle, November 20, 2020

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Broken   Part 1 Many moons ago (I just learned that Earth may have had a second moon) I experienced my first knee dislocation. I was in Little League in the late 70’s. I just went down hard to the ground and didn’t know why. I came to recognize the feeling, when your kneecap slides out of place and you just fall wherever you are. It didn’t stop me from running around back then, though each time it happened more damage was done. Both my knees would dislocate. In high school the backwards diagnosis was for me to wear knee braces with metal bars on both sides. In theory, if the kneecap dislocated and slid out of place, the metal bars would hold me together somehow. The braces were something out of the movie Forrest Gump but smaller. The other kids called me things like robo-knees.   I had knee surgery on my right knee in 1985 I think, and to this day it’s holding on with just the barest amount of cartilage as I understand it. The dislocations in my right knee stopped. My left knee was worse and I didn’t help when I tried to play with the football team without pads on a dare. (The guys in the band were supposedly soft) I carried a few guys a few feet before they piled on. Sometime after this I woke up one day and went right to the basketball court outside and tried to bust some moves. My knee popped and I went down hard and couldn’t get up. I laid there until my father found me. I went to the hospital for surgery number 2, which worked.

Matt Lavelle, July 7, 2020

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

What do you see? Ras Moshe Burnett & Music Now!   One thing I like to do is listen to live music sourced in free jazz/improvisation and try to answer my favorite question when looking at artwork or listening to music-what do you see? I've done this many times, but for the first time I wrote it out at the request of writing linear notes for an album that I truly love. A very interesting thing about this record is the balance of 3 women and 3 men. Below are the track markings and what I saw.   You can hear the record here: http://nendodango.bandcamp.com/album/music-now   Brother Ras Moshe and Music Now! with Ras Moshe, Matt Lavelle, Lee Odom, Anais Maviel, Paula Shocron, and Pablo Diaz.   First Part We climb the mountain. We climb the trees that grow on clouds. We descend into the volcano and boil the lava. We ascend to paint the sky 4:36 The Earth grows. We’re all getting older now. I remember farming near the pyramids. Wet dew leaves. Heading out to sea. Water horizon. 7:00 High pressure. We release the steam. We float in the sky. Soul grip. We open our hearts and burn. Soul BRIGHT. SUN QUAKE! Churn. Burn. Skyfire. Fire wind. Fi-RE FI-RE FI-RE 11:41 Humanity. Transform become or end. NOW now NOW now. Earth blues. We can see EVERYthing. The Birds know what we forgot long ago. The water remembers. Water never forgets. Water. Never. Water never forgets. Water. Never. Water never forgets. Water. Never. Water never forgets. Water. Never.

Matt Lavelle, July 5, 2020

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

This is it Photo: Reuben Radding Last week I was in Washington Square Park in NYC to march with Artists for a free world that was joining up with a massive group with the message to end police murder of Black people and to defund the police. I marched a couple weeks before that, but on this one music was a major part of it, and in fact music led the march all the way downtown. I just brought my blue pocket trumpet that had his own Corona mask. I knew there were other musicians leading this one and I saw myself as a clarinet player in a dixieland group, except harmelodic and free. Before we started though, I witnessed what I believe was a sign from God. Several speakers had spoken with several more to go when the skies just opened up and began the deluge. The wind swept up to hurricane level and on most occasions I think people would have broke out to seek shelter. Not today. As the thunder cracked the horizon, the crowd roared back at it in wave after wave. Soaked but mad strong. Unbreakable and unshakable. Then as the storm and protest speeches continued, here came the sun. The sun was as bright as I have ever seen, and right during a true violent thunderstorm. The protest only became stronger, and the march was on. I thought to myself that this was it, the moment when the human race decided to fight to become itself. Art and music are a big part of the way we're fighting for truth and justice.