Matt Lavelle, December 17, 2018

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Reflections As 2018 draws to a close, I have found myself not reflecting on the past year, but on all the music I’ve been involved in since 1978 when Mr.Natoli told me I was a trumpet player. I'll be 49 next year. I’ve spent the last several years researching music when I’m not working on it or playing it. With the rain coming down yesterday and a break from work, I was drawn to research my own music. Something told me to go find that box of mini-discs. I put on Monk and Sonny Rollins playing Reflections, and the next thing you know about 5 hours had passed. What follows is more for me than anyone reading, I’ll admit my selfish nature straight off. I need to document myself, and can’t explain why. (2018 was heavy, from the 12 Houses playing Beacon, the release of Retograde on ESP, and recording my next quartet record coming out in the Spring on Unseen Rain called Hope)   Roy Campbell used to carry an old school tape recorder around with him, and place it right below him, recording hundreds, if not thousands of performances. I did the cassette thing too. Then mini-disc came out and was a big deal, for me anyway. I could upgrade my recording game pretty easily. Some of my records were made on mini-disc. CD-R was next, and when those first TDK CD burners came out, that changed everything again. Francois Grillot had one burning night and day. With the advent of the digital age, all of my recordings became relics overnight.

Matt Lavelle, December 13, 2018

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Cornet Karma Long have I been haunted by the cornet. There's something mystical about them. They contain a human element that is difficult to grasp from a technical perspective. Here's a horn that plays a vital role in our history, going all the way back to Pops Cornet Chop Suey and Bix Singin' the Blues. Even further, to King Oliver, and all the way to Buddy Bolden himself. I wondered recently if Buddy might have been a literal ghost. He certainly seems that way in the one surviving photograph. Going deeper on Bolden, the story of mental illness and playing jazz starts with him. Bolden, the first great soloist, spent the last 24 years of his life in a mental home. It certainly doesn't mean something detrimental. Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Donald Ayler, and Giuseppi Logan all spent time in these kind of places. I like to think that if you look into the eyes of God with your music, coming back to focus on a fallen world becomes difficult. Back to the cornet. The fat little horn that sings. Cornets aren't built to shout you into submission like trumpets, they invite you inside. (Though that didn't stop Bolden from summoning people to his bandstand from across the river) Not all cornet players embrace it for what it is. Rex Stewart, Ray Nance, Thad Jones, Nat Adderley, and Bobby Bradford came alive on cornet. These days, there are several specialists that play new music through the cornet, sometimes from the outer limits.

Matt Lavelle, November 19, 2018

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Giuseppi Logan and Devotion Sunday. The day of rest. The day you check in with deeper reality, or perhaps reaffirm your spiritual beliefs. Certainly a good day to go see Giuseppi Logan since we both practice the same religion.   Music   Last time I spent time with him I found his horn hurting. I asked him to let me take it and have it fixed. On the way back I thought maybe fixing the horn could be a group effort as I've always seen a lot of Love for G online. Sure enough, within 2 days folks from all over the world chipped in. I took the horn to Roberto Romeo and he had the horn purring just like his shop cat, the great Micio. Saxophonists in particular took helping G seriously and sent mouthpieces. Will Connell always told me that the mouthpiece was the number one problem facing G. Today, team Giuseppi solved this problem and I brought his horn back to him with more supplies than he has ever had. Hey guys- THANK YOU. Truly.   Of all the time I've known Giuseppi, today was the most lucid I have ever seen him. I started to understand him on the deepest levels. What I realized, thanks to my wife Sue who joined us, is that when Giuseppi sees me, he sees music. When I appear in his room out in Far Rock his whole musical life is awakened to an extent. Though he hasn't had a horn for a couple of months now, when he took his alto back into his hands, I witnessed a transformation take place. He paused. He took a breath. He closed his eyes and plugged his heart into his soul.

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.