Text by John Pietaro
Matt Lavelle – trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, alto clarinet; Jack DeSalvo – cello, mandola, guitars, banjos; Tom Cabrera – dumbeq, rik, frame drums, bass drum, percussion.
Other-world art music. Improvisations through space and time. The soundtrack of twilight. These phrases have all been used to attempt to describe this trio known as Sumari. The channeling of free improvisation and global folk culture with a boundless sense of the new are the path Matt Lavelle, Jack DeSalvo and Tom Cabrera course to conjure the sounds heard on their eponymous release on Unseen Rain Records. Each member of Sumari is a veteran of international New Music and Free Jazz, with roots in NYC’s “downtown sound”:
JACK DESALVO, hailed in THE WIRE magazine as “masterful”, joined Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society in the 1980s and has toured the world with many artists in his own musical-spiritual journey. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, DeSalvo also studied classical guitar and composition before taking private tutelage with Bill Connors. His pianistic, wholistic approach to performance practice on guitar led to committed doubling on such instruments as cello, alto guitar and various members of the ukulele, mandolin and banjo family. DeSalvo’s credits beyond Ronald Shannon Jackson include Peter Brotzmann, Karl Berger, Chris Kelsey, Vic Juris, Tony Malaby, Pat Hall, D3 and many more.
MATT LAVELLE, former student of Ornette Coleman’s, is one-fourth of Bern Nix’s band and a founding member of Harmolodic Monk. His haunting trumpet sound is reminiscent of Don Cherry’s, yet doesn’t one also note the full-throated influence of Rex Stewart? Lavelle’s first teacher was swing-era veteran Hildred Humphries but his foray into the unfettered carries him beyond traditions. Strong doubling into woodwinds brought him to the bass clarinet and ultimately, the alto clarinet. Lavelle makes extreme use of the alto’s natural range, fusing it with the cry of Dolphy’s bass clarinet sound and then into the imaginary realm of Eastern double-reeds painted New Orleans blue. Lavelle’s extensive resume includes Giuseppe Logan, William Parker, Sabir Mateen, Jameel Moondoc, Roy Campbell, and his own12 Houses Orchestra.
TOM CABRERA is a percussionist of striking depth. An in-demand jazz drummer who made a specialty of the percussion family known as frame drums, Cabrera constructed a drum-set which sports riq, tar, dumbeq, bodhran and various percussives about a small bass drum and hi-hat. With a sonic oeuvre that ranges from the quaking to the sublime, Tom carries the band’s rhythmicity in the best harmolodic fashion. Silences (the sort described by Cage) feature into his wave of sounds. Cabrera can also be seen playing a more standard drumset with the Julie Lyon Quintet and others.
Sumari’s debut recording, Sumari is available via http://www.unseenrainrecords.com/?p=1324
The trio will open THE UNSEEN RAIN FESTIVAL at ShapeShifter Lab, Brooklyn NY, on April 12, 2015