Matt Lavelle (trumpet, flugelhorn, alto clarinet) and Reggie Sylvester (drums), New York avant-jazz veterans and longtime cohorts in the Bern Nix Quartet, perform in duo here on Retrograde, their debut on ESP-Disk'. Visiting destinations overlooked on John Coltrane's tour of the solar system, they craft their own space suite of earthier delights. This album was recorded live at Andrea Wolper's WhyNot Experiment?
series. Matt and Reggie played two sets; the second set, with Bern Nix
in the audience, is what you hear on this album, which is dedicated to
the late Mr. Nix. This is the sixth album as a leader from Matt Lavelle
(b. 1970), and his first on ESP-Disk'. He has studied with Ornette Coleman and swing-era veteran Hildred Humphries, has worked with William Parker, Roy Campbell, Daniel Carter, Jemeel Moondoc, Mat Maneri, Matana Roberts, Rashid Bakr, and folk/improv ensemble Stars Like Fleas. He collaborated with ESP fave Giuseppi Logan on the latter's 2010 comeback and worked extensively with Sabir Mateen. Currently, Lavelle leads a variety of groups, most notably The 12 Houses, an all-star avant big band. Drummer Reggie Sylvester (b. 1957) was a member of the early Black Rock Coalition of the mid-1980s and played with the BRC Orchestra and its instrumental offshoot Trio From Beyond, he opened for Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, Ginger Baker's Middle Passage Band (album produced by Bill Laswell) (2016), and Raging Slab at Wetlands. In 1995, he recorded with experimental guitarist/vibist/bassist Paul Steven Ray, producing a three-song EP produced by John Snyder. In 2001, Sylvester joined metal/hard rock trio Rock Diesel, which recorded the independent CD Feedback.
In April 2012, he became a member of the Bern Nix Quartet, playing all
their shows until Nix's death in 2017 and on their 2013 album Negative Capability. Sylvester currently co-leads avant-pop/folk group the Human Hearts Trio with Lindsey Wilson and bassist Michael Trotman, a band that sometimes includes Daniel Carter. Sylvester was commissioned by Patricia Nicholson Parker to compose and perform I Know Your Face with Wilson, Carter, Nix, and bassist Francois Grillot at the Arts for Art festival Justice Is Compassion. Sylvester has also performed with Charles Gayle, Jemeel Moondoc, James Brandon Lewis, Ava Mendoza, J.D. Parran, Ann Waldman, and Charles Waters.
James McLean, original sound man at the Knitting Factory, recorded and
carefully engineered a full sound as good as that of a studio album.
Cat. number: ESP5010