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.

Matt Lavelle, August 28, 2018

Deeper Reality

Who, are you? The deeper realities of relationships in music Dealing with your natural self in music takes courage, honesty, and determination. Sometimes it can take years for you to process just how you relate to the different aspects of what happens when you play an instrument with the intention of being who you are. Of course, singing makes it even more personal with no go between like a horn. I have recently come to see that some of the greatest things we have heard in jazz over the years are what came from relationships between very specific people when they were both being completely themselves. Sometimes people must play with very specific people to get to themselves, as when they play with others, their music doesn’t become fully revealed. It comes down to how natural selves line up with one another. Sometimes your music fits with another person’s music and sometimes it doesn’t. When a group of people find all the relationships fit, then watch out, you’re creating something that only those people could create together. In this way, making music with other human beings is based on relationships. Just like personal relationships, musical relationships can come and go, and must be sustained through commitment, patience, and hard work. As it is with human nature, you can be hurt when you want to develop a musical relationship with someone but the two of you just don’t line up. That can be a learning moment if you can summon the self-honesty. Maybe two people line up, but the third or fourth person doesn’t fit.

Matt Lavelle, April 8, 2018

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

The Street   This past week in NYC I had some recurring problems with my alto clarinet. Back in the day jazz musicians might have been sleeping off the late night hit but I was out the door at 7am so I could take lady alto to my man Perry Ritter, a long time sax and clarinet repairman who has been holding it down in NYC for over 20 years. I’ve been going to Perry for all of that time, turned on to him by Daniel Carter. I had to leave early so I could open up Michiko studios, THE jazz rehearsal spot in NYC run by another NYC legend, Roberto Romeo. At the top of the stairs at Michiko is the famous framed and signed pictures of sax players that have been to Roberto, who is another legendary sax technician. Stopping and looking at the walls of pictures, you can bask in the history of NYC jazz. It’s one of the last living strongholds of something that more and more feels like it’s under attack. On the way to see Perry, I walked down the late music row on 48th st, which once was an entire block of music stores including Sam Ash where I also worked. Music Row is so completely gone that if you didn’t know it was there you would never know it even existed. Such is the brutal and deeper reality of NYC. NYC doesn’t care if you come or if you leave. NYC doesn’t care if you contribute to any kind of culture while you’re here. You can hustle to survive while you’re here, but NYC will stare at you right in the eye when your hungry.   No food for you.