Aug 5, 2013
Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music label continues to provide some of the most interesting contemporary jazz music being recorded today. The second release on the label for Matt Ulery’s quintet Loom is no exception.
Wake an Echo features the same rhythm section as his critically praised 2012 double-CD By a Little Light - pianist Rob Clearfield, drummer Jon Deitemyer, and Ulery on double bass - joined by Geof Bradfield on bass clarinet and Marquis Hill on trumpet. The result is shifting textures and colors that are not often heard these days, recalling at times the work of Eric Dolphy with Charles Mingus’ smaller combos.
Ulery writes and arranges as well as plays bass, and the material is well thought-out and structured, allowing for improvisation, but not requiring flights of fancy to bring across mood or texture. From top to bottom Wake an Echo is a strong CD, and may well give him even greater exposure. Listen for an NPR Tiny Desk concert for the Quintet later this month.
I spoke to Matt about this CD and group, along with his other projects, including recordings and gigs with the band Eastern Blok and singer Grazyna Auguscik. Listen to our conversation in Podcast 367, featuring Ulery musical selections, including:
Matt Ulery’s Loom – “In Every Lonely Chamber” from Wake an Echo. Ulery explains the writing exercise he uses to spark creativity in our interview, and how it started this composition, which features Ulery on double bass; Rob Clearfield on piano; Jon Deitemyer on drums; Geof Bradfield on bass clarinet and Marquis Hill on trumpet.
Matt Ulery’s Loom – “Dark Harvest” from By a Little Light. This CD earned 4 ½ stars from Downbeat and appeared on NPR’s Top 50 Albums of the Year across all genres. It moves from tunes supplemented by orchestrations and vocals to a core quintet. This track features Ulery on double bass; Ben Lewis on piano; Deitemyer on drums; Michael Maccaferri on clarinet; Tim Munro on flute; James Davis on trumpet; Zach Brock on violin; Dominic Johnson on viola; and Nicholas Photinos on cello.
Eastern Blok – “Octopus” from Underwater. Ulery has held the bass chair in this group for almost a decade. Terming their music “Balkan Fusion”, the tunes are a modern take on traditional folk music from the Balkans, Spain, and the Americas. The group is led by expatriate guitarist Goran Ivanovic.
Grazyna Auguscik – “Fruit Tree” from The Man Behind the Sun. The music of the late Nick Drake continues to inspire jazz musicians, as this CD shows. Ulery and his rhythm section friends Clearfield, and Deitemyer introduced Ms. Auguscik to the music, and helped create this moody and expressive album, joined by trumpeter James Davis and guitarist John McLean.