Matt Lavelle - Goodbye New York, Hello World (Musicnow, 2011)
Trumpeter and bass clarinetist Matt Lavelle was once a prolific and thoughtful contributor to the Brilliant Corners jazz blog, along with the man who helped bring the nearly forgotten free jazz legend Giuseppi Logan back into the limelight. He has been quiet of late, but whatever he has been doing, it's done wonders and allowed him to produce an excellent album.
Lavelle plays quite an arsenal of instruments: bass and alto clarinets, cornet, trumpet, flugelhorn and is joined by Francois Grillot on bass, Ras Moshe on tenor saxophone, and Rob Hubbard on drums and percussion. The music is split into two inter-woven parts, with four tracks featuring Lavelle in a duet context with the remaining three performances are intense full band improvisations. Endings and Beginnings" is indicative of the duet tracks, with Lavelle playing spare and open trumpet accompanied by bass in an open and spacious duet. He switches to bass clarinet on Goodbye New York, Hello World," with light pulses of clarinet playing off haunting and probing cymbals.
The full band tracks are another matter entirely. You're the Tonic" is a nineteen minute jaw-dropping stunner of intensity and composure. Horns lead the band into a full-blooded free- bop improvisation, building to massive intensity on the back of solo reed features. Developing deeply intuitive free-jazz, the band delves deeper into the musical cosmos, screeching and caterwauling at times, but always with a purpose, never in a nihilistic manner.
Another impressive full band improvisation is Wayne" where the group develops a deep theme statement before strutting trumpet and saxophone and a massive drum beat keep things moving inexorably forward. Spare solo bass clarinet opens Choices" before everyone joins in and the horns harmonize beautifully with bowed bass and percussion. A strong and deep bowed bass solo joined by the hollow sounding bass clarinet make for a foreboding yet alluring sound. This album was very well planned out and executed, with both the duo and full band tracks succeeding well. Fans of progressive jazz are urged to check this out soon.