The Squid's Ear Magazine


Lavelle, Matt & The 12 Houses: The Crop Circles Suite (Mahakala Music)

An album to absorb and get excited over, as Matt Lavelle pursues a long-running dream to bring his 12 Houses Orchestra to record, here in an incredible collection of compositions, just the first set of a larger concept of solid jazz pieces that pivot on astrology and numerology as reflected in time signature, bar lines, melody notes, chords, and intervals; powerful, lyrical, spectacular work!
 

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Personnel:



Matt Lavelle-bass clarinet, alto clarinet, pocket trumpet

Lee Odom-soprano saxophone, flute

Charles Waters-alto saxophone, clarinet, flute

Ras Moshe-tenor saxophone, flute, gong

Claire Daly-bari saxophone, flute

Matt Lambiase-trumpet, flute

Nicole Davis-trumpet

Art Baron-trombone, didgeridoo

Ben Stapp-tuba

Mary Cherney-flute, bass flute

Cheryl Pyle-flute, alto flute

Stephanie Griffin-viola

Claire de Brunner-bassoon

Christopher Forbes-piano

Hilliard Greene-bass

Jeremy Carlstedt-drums

Jose Luis Abreu-percussion

Jack DeSalvo-guitar, banjo, oud


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UPC: 195269295677

Label: Mahakala Music
Catalog ID: MAHA-073
Squidco Product Code: 34676

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Scholes Street Studio in Brooklyn, New York, on October 29th and 30th, 2022, by Rene Pierre Allain.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Liner notes: In the mid 90's I exiled myself from the straight-ahead jazz scene in NYC to upstate New York where the trees ruled the land. I had met a spiritual teacher who had become a mentor, Stephanie Gouveia. I had questions about who I was, and especially what life was. During this period my playing was only sporadic so that I didn't lose my trumpet embouchure completely. I spent most of my time studying metaphysics, numerology, astrology, tarot, and beyond. I was invested in trying to figure out life just as much as I spent the majority of my adult life on a music quest. During this period I learned about the Crop Circles phenomenon. The sacred geometry inherent within them gave me a connection to music through yes, the math. An idea was born in me back then to one day double down on the metaphysical properties in the numerology of the Crop Circles in music, but how?

The 12 Houses were formed originally with the idea to one day reach a point musically where we could go all the way in, or out. The 12 Houses are the 12 houses of astrology. My original idea was for 12 musicians, one representing each sun sign by way of birth would comprise the band. I first sought out musicians for their sounds and when running their astrology charts I had to abandon that level of specificity, though maybe someday I can achieve it.

In 2022, the 12th year of the orchestra after hundreds of live concerts and 2 studio recordings in 2017, Chad Fowler made it possible for the dream and idea I've had since the mid 90's to finally manifest. In the universe's usually maddening methodology, it was the Covid pandemic that gave me the time and resources to write the music. While Crop Circles 7-12 are still in development, 1-6 presented here, are my life's work. The Music is the meaning of my life.

In order to vibrations the Crop Circles are showing us, we have to start somewhere, and what we're doing here is taking the math in music to the extreme, one number at a time. Time signature, bar lines, melody notes, chords, and intervals especially, are all based on the numerology of the piece. All of these tools have been used for a very long time of course, but we're looking at each one up close and staying on it. You could say this is the beginning of the establishment of a new paradigm. You could say that by doing so, we are attempting to make eye contact with God and thus to look inside their mind without going insane. The Crop Circles suite is an attempt to musically see, feel and understand human life, as we are attempting to tell the story of the human race-especially in the future. The deeper realities of our true and future existence contain art, science, and some natural chaos in good measure.

Music is the bridge between science and art.

Crop Circle one opens in a tree just packed with birds overwhelmed with joy. They are so happy to be alive and exist together. Birds get nature so much better than us. They are born to sing. The Circle itself is the divine, the eternal flow of life from birth through death. As such the circles of fourths and fifths are our melodic concept. In the studio the 12 Houses manifested as 4 groups of 4 humans. A sax quartet, a brass quartet, a classical quartet, and a rhythm quartet. In establishing the reality of the orchestra I broke the circle into 4 parts, be they the seasons or the elements. In this piece each element and season are established as they work with each other in deep exchange that I cultivate. Jack Desalvo is a master of harmony who delves into the core of the circle as the wind and rain. Crop Circle one culminates with an all out embrace of every known musical interval, in order mind you.

Crop Circle two-the division of unity and the power of 2. Light and dark, order and chaos. The piece opens featuring the 2 beautiful sounds of Cheryl Pyle on alto flute and Mary Cherney on bass flute in conjunction with an all out assault of orchestral whole tone possibilities. The mastery of Jeremy Carlstedt came through when I asked him to change the rhythm every time I moved the orchestra to the next step. It's like time travel through an entire day, every 12 seconds or so.

Crop Circle three, the triangle. Three is seen in the opening with myself, Ras Moshe, and Charles Waters before a transition to Stephanie Griffin, Chris Forbes, and the orchestra itself with Charles Waters as the lead as a third element. The holy trinity, beginning, middle and end all begin to juxtapose and collapse on each other before a balance is restored and renewed by the piece's end. The highlight of the piece for me is my favorite sound, Stephanie Griffin in her lower register on viola that brings forth the emotion that only comes from lifetimes of experience-a musical moment where it is understood that humans throughout history experienced loss no matter what time period. A sound that breaks and unifies and transcends time simultaneously.

Crop Circle four is an unabashed unapologetic foray into fourths, where Woody Shaw was king. Four brings depth and volume in being, a solid equality. There's a reason life is felt so strongly in 4/4 time. To swing is to be alive. The Zodiac sax quartet opens with an all out exploration of the world of fourths. Matt Lambiase is featured here as a true representative of planet brass. Matt's tone contains a sanctified honest purity that drills down into what a true brass sound is all about. Timelessness is again present in his sound.

5 fingers. 5 toes. A head with 2 arms and 2 legs. Why 5? It makes the most sense of course but based on who's or what logic? The power of 5 is the power inside life manifestation. Crop Circle 5 opens with the well known Fibonacci sequence. The Golden section is utilized throughout the harmonic properties of the piece. Musically Stepahnie Griffin was called on again as she embraced the full power of fifths before the orchestra just erupts within the concept. In the clearing it was time for my brother Ras and I to drop one of our long term most powerful devices: His lowest note on tenor sax and mine on Bass clarinet might be the strongest perfect fifth in the entire world. We then indulge in what being brothers is really all about to the point where the great Art Baron leads the orchestra in conducted support. As the lava cools, Chris Forbes shows why sometimes you must destroy in order to create as he plays music from a newly created world. Chris solo music here encompasses thewonder of life, and I believe, I know, this was the world my father experienced as he left here for the vibration above this (3rd dimension to 4th) in January of this year

Finally Crop Circle 6 closes part one, with part two, Crop Circles 7-12 to be recorded in the future. The Hexagon in musical form. In true 12 Houses fashion, six opens with Jack DeSalvo playing a duet with himself on banjo and oud! A second duet follows with Art Baron on didgeridoo and myself on bass clarinet. All of this before a maddening orchestral bass line of 6ths in 6/4. We become a honeycomb. We're the natural force that turns water to ice. Jeremy Carlstedt again plays what I call the groove of the entire human race, just the perfect amount of true blues. Claire Daly then represents humanity sailing on an ocean of blues as only she can. Finally, I received the greatest gift of all in conversation with trombone master and Ellingtonion Art Baron. Charles Waters joins in to activate the original jazz holy trinity.

There it is my friends. Here is what we all could, should, and will be. We're stumbling right now more than ever, but as in my own life, we must and will keep growing."-Matt Lavelle"


Artist Biographies

"Matt Lavelle (Paterson NJ 1970), began his music career with a High School Big Band tour of the Soviet Union in 1988, and then a 5 year period of study with Hildred Humphries, a Swing era veteran that played with Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and many others of the time. Lavelle played Trumpet during this time as a member of Hildred's band.

Lavelle then made his move on New York City to go through the trials of all new Jazz musicians, and played Straight-ahead Jazz until 1995. When he relocated to Kingston New York, and immersed himself in the study of the Bass-clarinet, keeping the trumpet going, creating the only known successful double of these 2 challenging instruments.

Lavelle returned to New York seeking out what is known as the Downtown community in 1999, which he has been a member of to this day (2009). Along the way Lavelle has played with William Parker, which also consisted of a tour in Sardinia Italy, Sabir Mateen, consisting of a tour of Northern Italy, and also toured in Scotland with an improvisation collective known as Eye Contact.

Lavelle began study with Jazz Legend Ornette Coleman in 2005, having huge impact and transformational impact on the Musician, also resulting in the addition of the Alto Clarinet as another voice.

Matt also was the key in the return and resurgence of Jazz legend Giuseppi Logan, playing on and producing his comeback record after a 40 year absence.

Lavelle has played and collaborated with Ornette Coleman, Giuseppi Logan, Hildred Humprhries, William Parker, Eric Mingus, Sabir Mateen, Roy Campbell, Daniel Carter, Jemeel Moondoc, Mat Maneri, Ras Moshe, Potato Valdez, and many others."

-Matt Lavelle Website (http://mattlavelle.org/matt-lavelle-bio)
5/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Ras Moshe has been playing in various groups throughout New York City for almost twenty years, with William Hooker, Sabir Mateen, Steve Swell, Marc Edwards and others. His style has been compared to post-1965 John Coltrane and Frank Wright, among others. Born and raised in New York, and with a family history rich in the jazz tradition, Ras has uniquely positioned himself to bring the lineage of free jazz into the present day."

-Media Sanctuary (http://www.mediasanctuary.org/node/193)
5/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Composer and Tubist, Ben Stapp, although classically trained with Tommy Johnson and Roger Bobo while pursuing his love for jazz tuba, Ben further opened up his horizons while living in Portugal, hanging out at Clean Feed's record store. Since then he's been living in New York since 2007 and experienced the diversity of New York's music scene including engagements with Steven Bernstein's Universal Melody Brass Band, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), toured with Red Barrat, played with the Garden State Philharmonia at Carnegie Hall, with Slavic Soul Party, Mario Pavone's Accordion Project, playing Earle Brown with the ECCE Ensemble at MIT, frequent traditional jazz and brass band freelancer, Nate Wooley's Seven Storey Mountain, tubist for the Chelsea Symphony, with TILT at Lincoln Center to Premier John Luther Adam's Sila, for Eli Yamin's Blues Band, Sousaphone player for Jacob Sac's live Heavens Trombone Choir, plays tuba in Stephen Haynes Quintet with Joe Morris, Warren Smith, and William Parker, and dedicated Colombian-music tubist with Martin Vejarano's Cumbia River Band, Chia's Dance Party, Pablo Mayor's Folkore Eurbano, and the experimental Alejandro Florez' Tin Throat Ensemble."

-Ben Stapp Website (http://www.benstapp.com/wordpress/)
5/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Stephanie Griffin is an innovative violist/composer based in New York City. She founded the Momenta Quartet in 2004, is a member of Ensemble Ipse and the Argento Chamber Ensemble, and has received prestigious composition fellowships from the Instituto Sacatar (Brazil), the Bronx Arts Council, the Jerome Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She holds a doctorate from The Juilliard School and teaches at Brooklyn and Hunter Colleges."

-New Music USA (https://www.newmusicusa.org/profile/stephaniegriffin/)
5/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Claire de Brunner first played the bassoon at the age of 14, and was soon awarded a scholarship to study with the principal bassoonist of the NY Philharmonic and to attend the Dalcroze School of Music. She later attended the High School of Music and Art where she earned a scholarship to study at North Carolina School of the Arts. She went on to study with Stephen Maxym at the Manhattan School of Music and played in various orchestras and chamber ensembles before deciding to venture beyond the classical arena.

In the 1980s she answered an ad in the Village Voice, which called for a musician who loved Kafka, Captain Beefheart and Lennie Tristano, having no idea who the latter two were at that time, and shortly thereafter became a founding member of 101 Crustaceans, an integral band of the post-punk era in NYC. She later joined Church of Betty, another seminal band at that time. She played at the major venues of the era including the Knitting Factory, Sidewalk Café, Pyramid, ABC No Rio, Dixon Place, CBGB's and has recorded CDs with both bands.

In the early 90s, having been encouraged to build on her ability to improvise, she studied jazz improvisation with saxophonist Lee Konitz and pianist Connie Crothers. She found herself, in effect, having to learn an entirely new instrument and it was nearly a decade before she began to feel a sense of mastery in the genre.

She has since played with many notable musicians including Ras Moshe, Ed Pastorini, Carol Liebowitz, Francois Grillot, Daniel Carter, Matt Lavelle, Chris Rael, Oren Bloedow, Ratzo Harris, Blaise Siwula, Deep Singh, Adam Caine, Pete Drungle, Tom Zlabinger, Anders Nilsson, Vlada Tomova and Rima Fand, to name a few.

In 2010 she co-produced the CD Macroscopia, which was released on the Metier label and features a quartet comprised of New York free jazz musicians including Daniel Carter.

She continues to play at music venues in NY such as The Firehouse Space, BAMcafe, Ibeam, Barbes, Issue Project Room, Goodbye Blue Monday and has several recording projects in the works.

While her musical development is varied, it reflects the natural outgrowth of the ongoing pursuit and exploration of her deepest passion."

-Claire de Brunner Website (http://www.morebassoonplease.com/bio.html)
5/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Hilliard Greene has been studying music for more than 30 years and has been playing professionally over twenty. His emphasis is in classical, jazz, rock, blues, R&B, Tango as well as the music of other continents and US regions, and solo performances.

Greene studied at the University of Northern Iowa and at Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been teaching private students and classes for over 25 years. He is currently a faculty member at the Bass Collective in New York City. He continues to teach privately and to do workshops and master classes in upright and electric bass for both children and adults.

He performs widely in the New York City area: recitals, nightclubs, concert halls (including Carnegie Hall), recording studios, radio and television. Also performs in major cities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe east and west, Asia, the West Indies, and South America.Greene performed and recorded with Jimmy Scott for 20+ years, serving as his Musical Director from 1995 to 2013. Greene was also Cecil Taylor's Concert Master for his group "Phtongos". He was in residence at Minton's a.k.a. legendary Minton's Playhouse as the house bassist.

Greene works / worked with Rashied Ali, Barry Altschul, Lucian Ban, Billy Bang, Kenny Barron, David Berger, Karl Berger, Cindy Blackman, T.K. Blue, Dougie Bowen, Joanne Brackeen, Oscar Brown Jr., Uri Caine, Roy Campbell, Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Skin, Daniel Carter, Carla Cook, Akua Dixon, Dave Douglas, John Esposito, Bobby Few, Erik Friedlander, Camille Gainer, Eddie Gale, Charles Gayle, Eddie Gladden, Electric Symphony, Alex Harding, George Haslam, Jon Hendricks, John Hicks, Jason Kao Hwang, The Inkspots, Yoron Israel, Vijay Iyer, Klaus Kugel, Leroy Jenkins, Howard Johnson, Frank Lacy, Gloria Lynne, Michael Marcus, Sabir Mateen, Jason Moran, Bern Nix, Greg Osby, Jimmy Ponder, Don Pullen, Lenore Raphael, Matana Roberts, Perry Robinson, Josh Roseman, Vanessa Rubin, Nipsy Russell, Warren Smith, Steve Swell, Grady Tate, Jacky Terrasson, Gebhard Ullman, Marlene VerPlanck, Village Vanguard Orchestra, Petras Vysniauskas, Jack Walrath, Bobby Watson, Mars Williams...

Hilliard Greene has recently formed The In&Out Band, a trio using jazz standards as a vehicle for free improvisation. Also, he is co-leader of the classical crossover ensemble ZigZag Quartet. He produced three CD's with his own ensemble The Jazz Expressions, a solo bass CD entitled "Alone", and co-produced self-titled ZigZag Quartet CD."

-Hilliard Greene Website (http://hilliardgreene.com/about/)
5/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Crop Circle one 30:52

2. Crop Circle two 7:24

3. Crop Circle three 8:52

4. Crop Circle four 7:10

5. Crop Circle five 10:25

6. Crop Circle six 14:09

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Large Ensembles
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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