Matt Lavelle, January 9, 2019

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Natural Music, Part 2 (Eagles and Snakes) Just a few weeks past, the Universe had me walking across town in NYC with none other than Pharoah Sanders. When you’re around someone imbued with that much spiritual power, you can sense something present that’s beyond the energy that you’re used to, especially in such a twisted environment as Times Square. The weather was brick cold, and the wind was gusting. As we moved past Broadway and headed West, an especially heavy gust came right for us, the kind that can make you lose your balance. I suggested that we seek shelter. Master Sanders did not agree.   “I don’t care about the cold. I want to feel the wind. I want to feel the spirit of it.”   Weeks later, I’m still thinking about what Pharoah felt. Master Sanders music has always contained a connection to forces beyond this world, and connected to those parts of life that are beyond our control as human beings. The forces of birth, death, and love. Forces like the almighty Sun. Seeing his embrace of the wind has stayed with me from deep inside the fortress of iron madness. Some might call the Zombies in Times Square unnatural, in their attempt to somehow head home covered with a nice superficial gloss. The wind whips its way through Times Square unimpeded, carrying the forces of change. The wind, has witnessed not some, but all of our transgressions over the centuries. The wind, is part of the natural world that some have turned their back on.

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.