Lavelle began his music career with a High School Big Band tour of the Soviet Union in 1988 followed by a five-year period of study with Hildred Humphries, a Swing era veteran who played with Count Basie, Billie Holiday and others. Lavelle played trumpet during this time as a member of Hildred's band. Lavelle then made his move on New York City and played straight-ahead jazz until 1995 when he relocated to Kingston, New York and studied the bass clarinet. Lavelle returned to New York seeking out what is known as the Downtown community in 1999. Lavelle has played with William Parker, including a tour in Sardinia, Sabir Mateen, on a tour of Northern Italy, and also toured in Scotland with his own trio, an improvisation collective known as Eye Contact.
He began study with Ornette Coleman in 2005, resulting in the addition of the alto clarinet as another voice. With over ten appearances as a sideman on record, Lavelle has four records released with himself as a leader. Lavelle was key in the resurgence and return of avant jazz man Giuseppi Logan, helping him return to playing after a 45-year absence, and recording a new record released in spring 2010.
Matt Lavelle and Morcilla, the Manifestation Drama
Matt Lavelle/Barry Chabala - I Like To Play 2007/Roeba Records
Matt Lavelle - Cuica In The Third House 2007/KMB Jazz
Matt Lavelle Trio (with Hilliard Greene and Mike 'TA' Thompson) - Spiritual Power 2007/Silkheart
Eye Contact - War Rug 2006/KMB Jazz
Eye Contact - Making Eye Contact With God 2005/Utech
Eye Contact - Embracing The Tide 2005/Utech
Sparks Trio - Short Stories In Sound 2006/Utech
Matt Lavelle/Daniel Carter - Blackwood 2006/Antamira
Matt Lavelle/Daniel Carter - self-titled 2004/self-released
Matt Lavelle - Trumpet Rising, Bass Clarinet Moon 2003/self-released
Matt Lavelle Quartet - Handling The Moment 2002/CIMP
Steve Swell's Nation of We - Live at The Bowery Poetry Club 2006/Ayler
Sabir Mateen's Shapes, Textures and Sounds Ensemble - Propehcies Come To Pass 2006/577
Steve Swell's Unified Theory Of Sound - This Now! 2005/Cadence
Ras Moshe + The Music Now Unit - Live Spirits, Volume 1 2005/Utech
Ras Moshe + The Music Now Unit - Into The Openness 2003/Music Now!
Ras Moshe + The Music Now Unit - Schematic 2002/Jump Arts!
Assif Tsahar's New York Underground Orchestra - The Labyrinth 2003/Hopscotch
Assif Tsahar's Zoanthropic Orchestra - Embracing The Void 2003/Hopscotch
With William Parker
- Bouchard, Fred (2009-06-06). "Multiple reviews: Bass Clarinetists: Rudi Mahall, Matt Lavelle & Jacques Foschia". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
- Stockton, Jeff (2007-04-07). "Multiple reviews: Matt Lavelle: Spiritual Power and War Rug". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
- Allen, Clifford (2010-04-08). "Extended analysis: Giuseppi Logan: The Giuseppi Logan Quintet". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-08-14.