"Matt is the sweetest most dedicated to the music. Ask him about being the jazz buyer at Tower close to Lincoln Center. He booked players in that spot.
We talked once on a gig about the various mute styling of the Ellington trumpet players. He is a master put it into practice historian/21st cent. Experimenter practitioner."
As with all of the people who participate in this profile project, Mr. Lavelle is a very deep, kindly human. The real intent of it all is to make that case one profile at a time.
Matt additionally is on a fairly interesting quest, mastery of two instrument classes that couldn't disagree more in terms of embouchure. (Note: for those unfamiliar with music tech, embouchure is the term for how mouths interact with instrument mouth pieces. Trumpetish things want a kind of kiss while reedish things need a kind of grip.)
What brought you to music?
"My grandfather had me sit and listen to symphonies with him as a child,and then playing trumpet in school.I was led to Louis Armstrong's "Back O Town Blues",and my course was launched. "Kind of Blue" came soon after."
Describe your role models, muses and mentors.
"Ornette taught me in person how to find my own musical dna,write my own sound language,and resolve my ideas.Roy Campbell taught me about what the trumpet is and can be in this music. Albert teaches the message about being true to yourself in today's world above all,then its all Coltrane for the spiritual meets the technical and Miles, space and use of dark power in music,(Pluto in astrology).Paul Gonsalves for heart.William Parker is a HUGE influence,then Duke and Mingus."
Describe your community of colleagues and audiences.
"My community is wide but not wide enough. My main partners are Ras Moshe,Francois Grillot, Chris Forbes, Andre Martinez, Hill Greene and everyone from question 2!. I play in NYC almost 90 percent centered around the Brecht Forum and Vision scenes. I'm traveling more and more and I have a small group of fans internationally.We're all like minded people,not afraid of the spiritual power in music."
What are the important elements you apply to your personal approach to performance, repertoire and composition?
"I'm all about telling a story,really, communicating specific spiritual messages and being as real and human as possible.A concert is a group climbing a mountain together,audience and musicians as one. It's a spiritual event.I just played with Sabir Mateen in Syracuse and people left uplifted. The bottom line is to reach the soul. William Parker:'You should only play if you feel you're about to change somebody's life.'"
What role does teaching have in your work?
"I don't formally teach,but have entered the hall of harmelodics with grandmaster Ornette Coleman.I have mos def paid dues as a sideman with Sabir, Steve Swell and William Parker. I myself am personally a metaphysical teacher of sorts and have written extensively about the relationship of music to spirituality."
How have changes in the economy impacted your work?
"I've had a 40 hour a week day job since 1988. I've never been able to survive off of my music, but I have tried!. I've recently started a job where I work for myself at my own hours in an attempt to direct energy towards my music. Survival energy can deplete you and you must be vigilant!"
If you perform beyond your region or overseas, how has that changed over time?
"I have been to overseas several times and its increasing which is what I'm fighting for.Its a totally different world, where EVERYTHING is better across the board.I don't desire to move there yet. But I get why so many of us have for so long."
How has technology and changes in the way music circulates impacted your work?
"I have almost no tech chops and no time and money to hook it up,needs improvement. Business wise,.I was the jazz buyer at Tower Records for several years in NYC. Almost like a plant or spy I pushed my community in front of the main stream and Lincoln Center until Tower went down in flames. Records meant something, cds less.
And now change is forcing all of us to relate to music in a different way. I really care and try very hard to make records that I feel will stand the test of time. I aim for masterpieces when everybody just churns out tons and tons of stuff,too much. I feel my Silkheart cd called Spiritual Power will stand the test of time as one of my definitive works."
Describe your current and potential future projects and collaborations along with things you would like to do.
"I need more time to compose! I just recorded a string quartet with a project called Stars Like Fleas. My main band at the moment is called Morcilla as I attempt to lead a group through my tunes and concepts discovered through spending time with Ornette Coleman.
I'm right on the bridge between Ornette and Trane,as ever. Working and being an important voice on trumpet and bass clarinet is number one.And I play all the time with a lot of people to foster that. Lastly, I'm a good friend of Giuseppe Logan and I'm doing whatever I can to help him,in his own words,'Go out playing!'"