Matt Lavelle, April 21, 2020

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Giuseppi Logan rises to the stars   The very first time I met Giuseppi Logan, I didn't know it was him. He was an older guy looking to get a reed at Sam Ash in Times Square where I worked. I thought I knew all the street musicians in NYC at that time. A name popped into my head though. In an act of mysticism, I asked him if he was Giuseppi Logan. I had never seen a picture of Giuseppi. In response G said: "That's right, I'm Giuseppi Logan. I'm here because I want to end my life playing music." As I recall I immediately tried to get him to go to the Vision Festival and find William Parker. This was in 2008 I believe. A few days later I saw WP and Giuseppi was with him, he got G an Eb real book. G kept coming by the store and we started hanging out more. We decided to partner up and try to get some music happening by any means. The next stop for us was Francois Grillot's kitchen in Hell's Kitchen where bassist Francois Grillot and I played hundreds of sessions. I told Francois about Giuseppi, and he immediately said to bring him by. We started helping G get his chops back. I gave him an old low C Bass Clarinet. It was during this time that Giuseppi played with Steve Swell's Nation of We at Roulette in an incredible alto section with Darius Jones, Saco Yasuma, and the late great Will Connell. G was reluctant to play and at first declined to solo. Steve asked him again and at that moment the orchestra seemed to go through a window into a different universe where time just stopped.

Matt Lavelle, March 26, 2020

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Epicenter Yesterday we reached over 15,000 cases of Corona here in NYC. We're now the epicenter of the virus. Why wouldn't we be? It's certainly nothing to be proud of. Long term NYC dwellers and survivors sometimes find unity looking at all the things we've gone through as a group. Tragically that always leads us back to 9/11. I was at my day job at Tower Records running the shipping and receiving department at Lincoln Center when my boss came in and told me a plane crashed into one of the twin towers. We both thought it had to be an accident. A few weeks later I rode my bike down to ground zero late at night. It felt like I was looking at a tear in the universe. There was a hole ripped open that I couldn't see but could feel. There was an overwhelming feeling that death had visited this place. Fellow New Yorker's will reel off other times when we got served, on a far lesser scale of course, but still enough for a memory. The transit strike, and the Blackout both come to mind. When I look around at NYC on virtual lock right now from Corona, I'm forced to see the biggest difference: The Corona pandemic is not just NYC, it's the entire world. What absolutely kills me is when 45 takes credit for saving thousands and thousands of lives. The very idea that he believes he has .1% of spiritual power on this level has me baffled to no end. Seeing him with his eyes closed pretending to pray is quite a sight. The so called leader of the free world asleep at the wheel.

Matt Lavelle, March 18, 2020

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Power and Transformation: The Astrology of Eric Dolphy  King Eric For me, Eric Dolphy is the Louis Armstrong of the bass clarinet. I'll never forget the first time I both heard and saw him for the first time. I had a John Coltrane videotape I rented from the library in the late 80's. Trane was reaching down into the molten core of the Earth on Impressions. I didn't know Eric was on deck to play. The camera switched to someone I had never heard, seen, or knew of. Suddenly- BAM- here was a human being drawing new constellations in the stars. I have never been the same. Hearing Eric Dolphy for the first time changed my life completely. Louis Armstrong connected Love to music for me with the Back of Town Blues. Miles had shown me that jazz musician's could be like great painters with his masterpiece of creation, My Funny Valentine live (My Grandfather was a great painter). John Coltrane plugged me into my soul listening to whatever I could find. When Eric hit that solo however, I was chosen. My life path was opened up before me. His solo taught me that doing something nobody had ever done before was a genuine path. Here was someone proving that the impossible was possible. I have always been hesitant to research his chart, perhaps out of fear of what I might find. I'm not surprised then, that I have discovered the theme of power and transformation defining the narrative of his chart. This is my 5th chart investigation following Bird, Trane, Ornette, and Albert Ayler, and is dedicated to Yuko Otomo.

Matt Lavelle, February 3, 2020

Deeper Reality - Tales from the Front

Giuseppi Logan and the Big Picture I recently received the word that my buddy G had a new round of health adversity. The stars lined up for me to head on out to check on him. I reached out on social media to see if I could assemble a squad to join him in person to lift his spirits. The only person that could make it was brother Reggie Sylvester who plays drums. I then suddenly realized what G needed more than anything else: to make music with other musicians. I asked Reggie to bring his brushes. I was always worried about making to much sound at his residence, but figured that with a mute in my pocket trumpet Sunspot and with Reggie using brushes even on a phone book or something, we could pull it off with G playing his keyboard. Reggie took it to the next level and brought in a snare drum and stand in a suitcase to disguise our secret mission. I knew something was different when I arrived, G was already playing keyboard with his headphones on, and really into it. He didn't know I was coming, and I found him in the mood and health to make some music. Classic G, he told me he had written a new song which I knew was Perdido by Juan Tizol, but he had morphed it into his own vibe and world so much that he could make a case that it was actually something different. Reggie came in and set up and we were off. William Parker was the first to tell me that G would call a tune, but play a different one. I have experienced this as well.

Matt Lavelle, December 15, 2019

Tales from the Front

Evolve or Die In my earliest days in NYC I used to haunt Smalls. After hearing me play, Jimmy Lovelace sat me down and told me to quit music because I just didn't have it inside me. He insisted he was stopping me for my own good. I was shook but I came back the next night and played. He approached me again. "I thought I told you music was not your path." I responded in a way that he decided to back down and leave me alone. That still didn't stop another trumpet player from trying to get me to step outside and fight because he was the out cat at Smalls, and I was trying to take his territory. I left Smalls on good terms however. The last time I played there at around 4 or 5 in the morning people were listening and digging me. You know when the audience is with you. That was 20 years ago, and I never returned. I still couldn't get my survival game together. I self-exiled myself to upstate NYC and engaged in let's say cult-like activity. I ended up playing cornet maybe an hour a week in a closet. I got that horn from a school and never returned it and then gave it to my girlfriend Liduva's son. Then I heard he had a girlfriend who took the horn on some revenge stuff or something. While I was upstate I was considering living an entirely spiritual life only to discover that without music it would be impossible. I started playing again and made my way back to NYC. My survival game was still in shambles.