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Handling the Moment AllAboutJazz review

Thirty-two year old trumpeter Matt Lavelle hails from the Rockland County area of New York State. With this release, he reaps the benefits of a seasoned rhythm section, featuring seminal CIMP session drummer and solo artist Lou Grassi. In addition, Lavelle matches wits with tenor saxophonist Ras Moshe for an abundance of group-based highlights.

At times the band spurs remembrances of the late Art Blakey’s fabled Jazz Messengers, as they commingle open-ended improvisational flurries with compact exchanges amid breezy choruses. Grassi serves as the catalyst via his sweeping fills, snappy rim-shots and peppery beats. On “The Kitchen,” Moshe churns out angst-ridden lines atop bassist Francois Grillot’s blustery patterns. Here, the band conveys gobs of movement as Lavelle and Moshe separate into pairs with the rhythm section by way of various mini motifs.

Lavelle’s phraseology consists of rapid 16th notes mixed with poignant statements to counterbalance his penchant for detail and nuance. The musicians integrate some of Ornette Coleman's ideas into their arsenal while venturing off into various mood-evoking passages on “Chant 1” and “Chant 2.” Handling the Moment stays strong throughout, as the quartet intelligently covers a wide spectrum, spanning free-bop, mainstream and the avant-garde. Lavelle has seemingly embarked upon the fast track with this superfine exposition. (Passionately recommended)

Published: December 19, 2002

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