Matt Lavelle, August 6, 2017

Tales from the Front - The Nitty Gritty

Facebook Live and Beyond Sleep deprivation or insomnia affects people in different, and personal ways. During my sleep process, I have endured sleep apnea since the late 80’s. My version as of late is my body forcing me awake to breathe several times a night as I ride a perpetual roller coaster of sorts between lucid dreams and the space in between, where those demons you thought you vanquished lurk in the shadows. During sleep, my mind never truly rests, and at times I’m held hostage by my music which refuses to turn off in my head. My right three fingers that push down my trumpet valves often continue to finger the horn even though it’s not in my hands. There are times when my fingers continue to do this even while I’m dreaming or thinking about something else entirely, as my body continues to play music even without me being there. I asked William Parker once if someone could talk to their music and he found the question interesting. I have spent countless hours in conversation with my music when I should be asleep, as it tries to help me understand multiple deeper realities. Sometimes I’m granted visions. Recently I was shown a painting of myself on a wall in a different reality where the ancient Egyptians now reside. The most intriguing vision I may have ever had was shortly after I discovered that my dear friend Bern had left his body. I saw the Sphinx in ancient Egypt, but the face was now Berns. Bern’s passing has made a deep impact on me.

Matt Lavelle, June 5, 2017

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front - The Nitty Gritty

Low Barometer, Farewell Brother Bern Nix One path through grief is to play music. Another one is to write. I have been called here to the page once more in an attempt to capture and hold onto that speck of light in the dark. The sun has been hiding behind the clouds this past week, and with good reason. Perhaps she can’t look me in the eye after what she’s done. That’s OK; I don’t want to look at her anyway. The great mystery has spoken, and we have lost a man who had music coursing through his veins. As I  posted a very short time ago: Bern Nix just played a chord that plugged in the moon, painted clouds different colors and made the wind visible to the naked eye. Such was the power of Bern Nix, a deep thinker, an incredibly unique scribe, and one of the great guitarists in jazz history. I first met Master Bern while subbing for the late great Roy Campbell Jr. in a band led by Jemeel Moondoc. My brother Francois was also in his trio for a long time. When I would see Bern, we would inevitably end up talking about being caught up in the all-seeing eye of Ornette, and how to try and see the world afterward, seemingly being altered forever. Our exchange led to him asking me to join his trio making it a quartet. We had a few sessions in Francois kitchen to try it out, and after he found Reggie Sylvester on drums, the band was born, and our friendship truly began. Many, many hours in Francois kitchen we spent playing Bern’s tunes, exploring every crease and corner for the musically unknown.

Matt Lavelle, May 23, 2017

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front - The Nitty Gritty

A force for good, the astrology of John Coltrane The first time I felt a genuine connection between my soul and music was given to me by John Coltrane. In my early 20’s while working the night shift at a supermarket, I found myself with nights off, being wide awake while the rest of the world was in slumber. One hot summer evening I took my Walkman and my new John Coltrane cassette titled OM and started walking downtown around 3:30 am. As if I was guided by some unknown force, I ended up sitting on the steps of a church that I had attended in the past, and I played the cassette. At this point, I had heard maybe 30% of Trane’s music and nothing past A Love Supreme. During the music, I felt a connection to a deeper part of myself that I had never felt before. What I was hearing was beyond any music I had ever experienced. I heard sound from beyond this known sphere of existence. My grandfather was a devout Catholic and sitting on the steps of the church with John Coltrane; I was spiritually awakened for the first time in my life. Hearing many years later that Trane was on LSD during the recording doesn’t change what happened for me. Reading that he didn’t want it released makes me only grateful that it was. Between hearing OM and seeing Eric Dolphy play with him on a VHS tape that I borrowed from a library shortly after this, my life became devoted to music as something more than itself. Music became a gateway or a bridge to a hidden reality that I knew was there, even if I couldn't see it.

Matt Lavelle, May 16, 2017

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front - The Nitty Gritty

Free at last, the astrology of Albert Ayler and beyond The Coltrane Tone Circle is now being researched as an example of the relationship between jazz and physics, music and geometry, and beyond. Now 50 years after his transition, we’re finally reaching a place where we can start to look into the areas Coltrane was driven to explore, as he attempted to make eye contact with God through his sound. While others are looking into the math, and some limited aspects of the principles attached to the form and energy of spiritual numerology, there’s another area I feel we’re ready to explore: The core Astrology of the lives of the most iconic figures in jazz. In looking at the Coltrane Circle, I see an Astrology circle; I see--the 12 Houses. Jazz musicians that are into astrology are certainly not a new thing. Charles Downs practices and the late great Will Connell was very deep into it. Will told me a story once about Horace Tapscott slamming his astrology book shut on him without offering an explanation as to why. I learned from my Aunt Sherry, my esoteric rock in my bloodline. There’s a case to be made that the information in a natal chart is not meant for us to see, as looking at the information is a violation of trust in God. In my chart with Uranus in the 9th house, I have to look. In regards to one’s relationship with God, I needed to look into the chart of Albert Ayler first, whose musical and spiritual relationship with the Universe was one of the most extreme in jazz history.

Matt Lavelle, May 14, 2017

Tales from the Front

Giuseppi Logan and the Light Not since January of this year have I had time to write here at No Sound Left Behind. I devoted every second to getting better at music and writing. At Rutgers, I engaged in an independent study with Dr. Henry Martin to transcribe 6 Duke Ellington small band sides. Coming from my harmelodic perspective, this was an enormous challenge as I attempted to mind meld with Duke, examining every decision he made with a magnifying glass. At the same time, I entered the world of Dr. Kwami Coleman who tasked me with taking my writing to the next level, culminating in writing a true academic paper 22 pages long that I titled The Deeper Realities of Bix Beiderbecke. I intend to publish this paper which I believe will leave many folks unhinged as I went directly into the issues of race in jazz that continue to haunt us today, including the concept of white authenticity. While I was working on these projects, and also switching my in order to survive to survive work drama’s I kept thinking that I had to get out to Far Rockaway to check in on brother G. Today, a window finally opened up. As I have written before Far Rockaway is far, and the only way there required a forced G train bus transfer, one of the worst MTA scenarios. I was hoping for a group of people to come with me to celebrate G’s birthday, but my plea on Facebook fell on deaf digital ears. I wasn’t expecting much, but 3 or 4 people would have been so uplifting.