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Trumpet Rising, Bass Clarinet Moon 2020

Trumpet Rising, Bass Clarinet Moon 2020 by Matt Lavelle
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Matt Lavelle

Label: Bandcamp
Released: 2020
Views: 93

Track Listing

1. ML on BC 05:21 2. Trumpet Rising 06:21 3. West End Blues 06:45 4. Bass Clarinet Moon (for Joan Fleur) 05:21 5. Super Old Silver 04:42 6. ML on BC 2 03:34 7. Thanks Miles 03:41 8. Zim 05:09 9. Shuffle Simmer 03:45 10. Sunspot 04:28


Matt Lavelle

Album Description

The way my odd double trip started goes back to the early days of the Smalls jazz club in NYC in the 90's from around 94-96. Back then all I wanted to do was play standards and I would hit the Smalls late night session that started at 2am. All kinds of stuff happened like Tommy Turrentine flexing on all of us for not having anything to say musically, to Jimmy Lovelace sitting me down to try and convince me to give up music, as I didn't have it inside me. I had bright moments too though, like dragging rhythm changes into a whole tone improvisation that Roy Hargrove told me he dug. The identity crisis vibe was so out that a free trumpet player wanted to fight me claiming he was the outside trumpet player at Smalls. I was trying to play IN though. I'll never forget calling what is this thing called love, and then the piano player started playing clusters and the drummer opened with massive bombs at the start of my first chorus! I eventually decided that just trying to play some kind of straight miles/clifford/freddie bag was just not happening and I left NYC entirely. Upstate in Kingston NY on this self-imposed music exile, I walked by a music store one day and asked if they had any used bass clarinets. They did, for $200. I was ready to try a different perspective, and I hit the shed for a year. In 98 I returned to NYC after meeting drummer Ryan Sawyer, who introduced me to the whole out scene in NYC, which at the time I didn't even know existed. One day he left me a note to go to Tonic on a weekend afternoon, and I walked into a Little Huey Music Orchestra rehearsal right before a concert with William Parker, not knowing I would eventually join the ensemble! Now that I found the right environment, I was free to pursue my crazy notion of a trumpet bass clarinet double in earnest. It caused me problems though. I would get hired to play trumpet, but take bass clarinet solos. I said to myself, if Ornette can do things like this, the door is open. I didn't know that I would not only study with him, but he would be turned off by my BC work! On my first record I came into conflict with Bob Rusch at CIMP records who believed in me as a trumpet player. In 2002 I self-produced a record called Trumpet Rising Bass Clarinet Moon. I was on a big microtonal blues thing on trumpet then, and was playing hard and free on BC. I kept pushing and shedding and broke through some real barriers playing both on records with Eye Contact on Utech Records, and a trio for Silkheart called Spiritual Power. Fast forward to 2020. After I made my last record playing solo alto clarinet, I got way into the solo concept and quickly saw that I need to do one on trumpet and bass clarinet. The idea then became to update Trumpet Rising Bass Clarinet Moon for 2020. So much has happened since 2002. Many mountains have been climbed. I have scheduled a session next week to make a solo flugelhorn album. At my absolute core these days, I'm a harmolodic swing player who is more and more into playing lines. I spent a year studying Bird at Rutgers, but I'm not trying to play his music. I've ended up somewhere where OC was in his records like Ornette on tenor. The question I always had was, what if you took the bass and drums away? At the same time, when I do play tunes, I want to come at them with harmolodics. I made a whole record of Monk tunes like this that was well-received on Unseen Rain Records. My victim on this one is the West End Blues. I have threatened to make the harmolodic Hot fives someday. The trumpet was my first instrument, way back in 1978, when I was 8. Mr. Natoli chose it for me based on my teeth. I didn't know what a trumpet, clarinet, sax, or trombone even were. I remember getting busted for writing the note names and fingerings above the music. Back then I was known for exuberance that was hard to contain, one time taking an unplanned solo in a concert that I couldn't hold back. I thought Mr. Natoli might explode as my solo was in danger of throwing everyone off. He figured out how to cool me out by having me play Popeye the Sailor Man solo for the whole school. I was terrified of a Bb above the staff, but hey, I was like 10. I made the all-county orchestra and we played the music from Fiddler on the roof. I still have the LP! In middle school, I lost my way when my grandfather died and my folks divorced. I gained like 100 pounds and became the school outcast. I was switched to Tuba by Mr. Sherman, since the fat kid plays tuba. Fast forward to high school and my chops were offline until I met the great Bert Hughes. Bert needed a trumpet player for his jazz band that was touring Russia! I spent a summer getting my chops back, and I was back in the game. I still remember my break on C Jam Blues. I went to college to study art, but kept trying to play jazz. I had an uptight classical French Horn teacher trying to teach me jazz and classical. I ended up quitting school after one semester at Berklee, and turned to my first mentor, Sir Hildred Humphries. Hildred was a Swing Era master. He had a brother named Frank Humphries that had passed, so he was into having a trumpet player ready to learn the real deal. Even in those early days, Hildred supported my avant garde blues. He once told me that his crew used to criticize John Coltrane, and he challenged them saying that Trane was the greatest of them all. In his heyday Hildred played with none other than Billie Holiday for 6 months. He said people were warning him that she was out, but it was actually the best gig he ever had, and she was just beautiful in every way. I have now pursued the trumpet seriously for 32 years. I have never registered on any Downbeat Poll or anything like that. Could be because I'm out here with low clarinets, or people just don't feel me on the horn. I have always made it my first priority no matter what, the trumpet wouldn't have it any other way. Louis Armstrong on Back o' Town Blues is why I play music, and blues have always been my root on the horn. I've been told I sound like Roy Eldridge without the range. What did Roy sound like when he sat in with OC? Over the years I've narrowed my primary influences down to Lee Morgan, Booker Little, Thad Jones, Don Cherry, Don Ayler, and Roy Campbell. I had a seven month affair with cornet as my main brass horn, but came back, needing the trumpet's power. Oh yeah, I absolutely speak plunger, though not on this record. Duke's trumpet crews over the years are to me the highest level of the art. Of course Duke tried to get both Miles and Bird. What if he did? The trumpet itself is an instrument of spiritual power, kind of like Thor's hammer. As soon as I hold it and close my eyes, I see doors to other universes billions of miles from Earth, and i can access other dimensions. I meditate with the horn doing long tones daily. On this album playing solo, I'm trying to connect the stars in constellations like playing connect the dots, but I'm improvising. I'm trying to engage creation mechanics. I'll have to do another album to do the power thing, though I'm transitioning from ego power to spiritual, which is not always about volume. Vulnerability is the true power, and Nina Simone is my guiding star. On the last track you can meet Sunspot, my second pocket trumpet. He was born in a sunspot on the sun and is covered in radioactive material that is extremely hard to acquire. What Miles did for the harmon mute, Don Cherry did for the PT. There's still more stories to tell on these little horns that can sting like a bee. The Bass Clarinet is such a magnificent instrument. The way I play, I'm trying to get into the human side of it, which is why the horn is so brilliant to me-it can be so human in it's expression! I just don't get the classical side of it. There's actually a $20,000 Buffet BC called the privilege. Not for me, I play a used LeBlanc that I had to hustle for to get the $1200. I consider King Eric Dolphy to be the Louis Armstrong of the horn, and what a place to begin. Of course Harry Carney had one before Eric, complete with his huge cavernous sound. David Murray and Bennie Maupin are certainly signposts for me on the horn. David gets so vocal on it. For me, the fact that Miles heard BC in his electric world in the 70's makes a profound statement about what the BC can be. I have taken all of this in, but I still come at the horn from a different place and was playing it in the trumpet register at first. Sabir Mateen and Daniel Carter brought that to my attention, and Sabir even wrote a piece to play downstairs. One thing I cherish about the BC is the incredible dynamic range. It's not the loudest horn, but it can be the quietest, truly whispering the secrets of the stars, or maybe the moons orbiting Mars. I enjoy telling my sax friends, one thing bass clarinets can do that saxes cannot, is slither. I'm a jazz historian, but I believe we have to keep exploring. The most important exploration being the ones inside ourselves, including whatever sounds we may discover there. I hope you enjoy the music. Peace ML credits released October 2, 2020 Matt Lavelle: Trumpet, Bass Clarinet, Pocket Trumpet (10) Recorded by Rene Pierre Allain at Scholes St. Studio on September 25, 2020 Cover art by Matt Lavelle. 16 x 20 Acrylic on Canvas license all rights reserved


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