Matt La Von has worked as a professional musician, performing and teaching, in New York City for more than 10 years. As a performer, his main area of expertise is as a jazz saxophonist, although he has also been prolific as a sideman in bands and on recordings that cover a wide range of genres which include Rock, R&B, Funk, Fusion, and Hip-Hop. As a teacher, he specializes in private instruction for beginner to advanced saxophone and clarinet as well as beginner to advanced jazz improvisation.
Unlike many successful musicians, Matt La Von wasn’t born into a family of artistic types, much less professional musicians or folks with ties to the entertainment field. In short, he was no ‘industry kid.’ So, it’s a wonder that he’s been able to spend the majority of his adult life as a professional noise-maker in the City of New York. Some might say that it is a testament to a childhood spent as the son of an enlisted Marine—an upbringing that imbued him with that “can do” spirit, determination, and discipline to never give up on a thing. Some might say that his drive is derived from his extended familial roots…a sort of grit, inherited from the blue-collar, hardworking, salt-of-the-earth folk who hail from the Southern and Midwestern states.
Some might say that.
And there’s probably a little bit of truth in there.
Still, we might be romanticizing reality, just a tad. And maybe the truth of the matter is—as truths of the matter usually are —something more nuanced than the myth. And the actual truth, more than likely, goes something like this: Matt La Von was never much good at anything else other than playing music (…) but no one would ever label him a musical prodigy at a young age, and point of fact, many of the things that came swiftly to most, always took him twice as long to learn. He’s never found himself in the right place at the right time. More often than not, he’s been in the wrong places far too late or way too soon. He’s never been “discovered.” And he’s certainly not the golden poster boy of a musical institution of higher learning. He’s made far more bad decisions than good ones. A smarter man would’ve moved out to the suburbs long ago, and “got’ one o’ them ‘real’ jobs.” But, let the record show, Matt La Von has never claimed to be a smart man.