Ulery, Matt - Music Box Ballerina

You never heard of Matt Ulery unless you live in Chicago and are quite tuned in. I know this because I never heard of Matt Ulery either until very recently, when someone we are about to work with had him contact us. Matt is a young bassist and composer and he is composer who already is really impressive. Loom is his six piece band that he's had for about 5 years and the personnel consists of: Thad Franklin - trumpet/flugel horn, Rob Clearfield - accordian/piano, Tim Haldeman - tenor saxophone, Jon Deitemyer - drums, Zach Brock - violin, Matt Ulery - double bass/tuba/compositions, Katie Weigman - vibraphone. This is modern jazz with a composerly/avant-progressive edge. I don't think they sound anything like the Claudia Quintet, but like Claudia and Darren Johnston, he mixes jazz with music that goes way beyond that. I can't think of anything that I've heard recently by someone I had never heard of that I enjoyed as much as this. Highly, highly recommended

"The current batch of CDs under review feature mid-sized groups headed by leaders just beginning to come into their own. These are "New Mainstream" efforts for the most part, beyond Bop and incorporating various aspects of musics both local and global. Young Chicago bassist and composer-arranger Matt Ulery has created an ensemble of somewhat unusual instrumentation and written a series of pieces that heighten the special sonorities that can be obtained by various combinations of these instruments. For example, accordion, violin, and bass with horns on top on "Scott Free," or bowed bass and violin with accordion and tenor on "Constant." In as much as one could describe the music invoked in the disk, one might think of Haden's Liberation Orchestra, Eastern European Jewish and/or Baltic folk styles, Either Orchestra, the Lounge Lizards, and perhaps While You Were Out. That's just an approximation. The point is this is not standard fare. It's not terrifically outside, it is just nicely different. Everyone can solo and Ulery coaxes sounds out of his bass that help give the group a distinctive flavor. It is the compositions and arrangements that interest most, however. For example "Kentucky Animal Orchestra" is a funky, oddly metered line with an interesting counterline in the horns. Themusic shows real development internally and a wealth of themes, traits true of much of the program. Flugelhorn and violin solos areon the nose and interesting ensemble parts come and go in support of them. The two bowed strings begin "Pink Sea and Wondering Without," a sad sounding refrain with accordion backing up strings. A kind of transformed Klezmer-like music prevails, with the violin soloing appropriately over an interesting ensemble sound of accordion, bass, and rim-shot driven drums in six-eight. Then the violin and horns join in the melody again. It has the melancholy beauty of something ravishing but out-of-season. And it is quite moving. This CD is an unexpected surprise and quite absorbing listening. Ulery plays a distinctive bass and writes with originality. The ensemble has a unique sound and covers plenty of ground. They certainly bear watching. I liked this one a great deal."-Cadence Magazine, July 2008

You can hear their music here

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  • LabelWoolgathering
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