by Roberto Binda, Argonauta Magazine

Matt Ulery è una figura ormai di spicco nell’attuale scena Jazz di Chicago, insieme al chitarrista dei Tortoise Jeff Parker e al trombettista Marquis Hill ha partecipato lo scorso anno a quel meraviglioso album di ibridazione tra Jazz e Hip Hop che era “In The Moment” del batterista Makaya McCraven uscito per International Anthem e ricordato per essere uno dei dischi più riusciti degli ultimi tempi. Lo spirito visionario di Matt Ulery lo ritroviamo ora in tutta la sua impressionante creatività in “Festival”, settimo album in proprio dove accanto al suo storico quintetto Loom troviamo un’orchestra di 27 elementi a comporre un album diviso in tre parti dove alla tradizione armonica si combina l’esperienza  del Jazz modale con un approccio ricco di intensità e fantasia. Il classico di Jimmie Rowles The Peacocks in apertura è anche l’unica traccia che non porta la firma di Matt Ulery, ma la rilettura per formazione allargata del classico pianistico è una perla dal gusto cinematografico con violini e ottoni ad irrobustirne il suono con il nostro impegnato dal basso alla tuba. La successiva Hubble, ritrova lo stesso ensemble teso a spingersi verso improvvise accellerazioni virtuosistiche alternate a momenti di respiro quasi cameristico, sempre nel segno di una grande energia grazie a solisti di grande livello come il sassofonista dei Phonic Juggernaut Greg Ward e il trombettista dei Beveled James Davis.

La seconda parte è il cuore dell’intero lavoro, concentrandosi sulle atmosfere più rarefatte e notturne del quintetto con Rob Clearfiels al piano, Jon Dietemyer alla batteria, Geof Bradfieldal clarinetto, Russ Johnson alla tromba e Ulery al contrabasso la musica si fa nell’insieme più rilassata e introspettiva. Da Middle West a Ecliptic le tracce sono tutte composte da grande musica dotata di notevole attenzione all’equilibrio dei ruoli. La terza e ultima parte si apre con la voce di The Silence is Holding e il Pump Organ di Rob Clearfield a dare al tutto un tono da  musica da parata, quasi da Marching Show band se non fosse per le atmosfere che rimangono invece riflessive e con un carattere malinconico come nella evocativa Slow it down che mette la parola fine ad un disco imprevedibile e ambizioso nel tentativo di legare in maniera indissolubile la musica popolare americana al Jazz e alle sue avanguardie più colte.

Rough translation:

Matt Ulery is a figure now prominent in the current jazz scene in Chicago, along with Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker and trumpeter Marquis Hill participated last year at this wonderful album of hybridization between Jazz and Hip Hop that was “In The Moment” from drummer Makaya McCraven released by International Anthem and remembered for being one of the most acclaimed discs of recent times. Enter the visionary spirit of Matt Ulery: we find him now in all its awesome creativity in “Festival”, the seventh album in just where next to its historic quintet Loom we find an orchestra of 27 elements to compose an album divided into three parts where the harmonic tradition combines the experience of modal jazz with a rich intensity and imagination approach. The classic Jimmie Rowles “The Peacocks” opening is also the only track that does not bear the signature of Matt Ulery, but the reading for enlarged formation of the classical piano is a pearl cinematic style with violins and brass to irrobustirne sound with our involved from the bottom to the tuba. The next “Hubble”, find the same ensemble tended to go to sudden accelerations virtuosity alternating with moments of almost chamber breath, always the sign of a great energy thanks to soloists of great level as the saxophonist Greg Ward’s Phonic Juggernaut and trumpeter of Beveled James Davis.

The second part is the core of the entire work , focusing on the most rarefied and night atmosphere of the quintet with Rob Clearfiels on piano, Dietemyer Jon on drums, Geof Bradfield on clarinet , Russ Johnson on trumpet and bass music Ulery to do in ‘ together more relaxed and introspective. From the Midwest to Ecliptic tracks are all composed of great music with great attention to the balance of roles. The third and final part opens with the voice of “The Silence is Holding” and Pump Organist Rob Clearfield to give the whole a parade music tone, almost like a marching band if it were not for the atmospheres that remain rather reflective and a melancholy character as in the evocative “Slow it Down” that puts an end to an unpredictable and ambitious hard in an attempt to tie indissolubly American popular music to jazz and its most educated avant-garde.


by Leonid Auskern, Jazz Quad

Мэтт Юлери – один их тех, кто поддерживает славу Чикаго, как одного из крупнейших джазовых центров Америки. По основной своей музыкальной специальности он – басист, причем в широком смысле слова: помимо традиционного контрабаса, Мэтт играет еще и на соответствующем духовом инструменте – тубе. Как настоящий профессионал, он за свою карьеру, начавшуюся в 14-летнем возрасте, играл музыку разных стилей, но предпочитает джаз. Юлери работал с Патрисией Барбер, Куртом Розенвинкелем, польской вокалисткой Гражиной Аугустик и многими другими. Мэтт Юлери является лидером квинтета Loom, а новый альбом Festival – уже седьмой в его дискографии. Музыку Юлери пишет музыку не только для своего коллектива, но и для целого ряда других камерных и оркестровых составов.

Программу Festival, большого многопланового проекта, для работы над которым Юлери получил несколько грантов, как от города Чикаго, так и от штата Иллинойс, можно разделить на три части. В первой из них Юлери играет (и руководит) с большим ансамблем из 27-ми человек (отсюда Large в названии состава), практически равноценным биг-бэнду с полными секциями духовых, секцией скрипок и с солирующим скрипачом Захом Броком. В этой части музыканты исполняют композицию Джимми Роулза The Peacocks в аранжировке Юлери и его собственную композицию Hubble. Две другие части альбома – это уже записи квинтета Loom, играющего музыку своего лидера. При этом в шести треках Юлери играет на контрабасе, а Роб Клиэрфилд – на фортепьяно. В последних же пяти композициях Мэтт сменил контрабас на тубу, а Роб – фортепьяно на помповый орган.

И при всех отличиях частей друг от друга по набору инструментов, используемым звуковым краскам, характеру исполняемых произведений, альбом воспринимается, на мой взгляд, как единое целое. «Виной» тому – единый композиторский подход Мэтта Юлери к музыке, объединяющий сложность гармоний и пластику академической традиции и свободную, чисто джазовую, игру динамическими соотношениями и идиомами этого музыкального языка, скрепленных вместе присущими Мэтту лиричностью и основательностью композиторского мышления. И слаженная игра секций, и скрипичные соло Брока, и техника самого Юлери и участников его квинтета впечатляют, но основным остается ощущение цельности и глубины этой музыки. Да, «джазовый Малер» из Чикаго предлагает нашему вниманию не простую работу, которая может отпугнуть людей, привыкших слушать музыку только в автомобиле. Но это тот случай, когда стоит попробовать прислушаться повнимательнее – и не пожалеть об этом.

Rough Translation:
Matt Ulery is one of those who support the glory of Chicago, one of the major jazz centers of America. In the main it is his musical specialty – bassist, and in the broad sense of the word: in addition to the traditional bass, Matt plays more and at the appropriate wind instrument – tuba. As a true professional, he is in his career, which began at the age of 14, he played different styles of music, but prefers jazz. Ulery’s worked with Patricia Barber, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Polish vocalist Grażyna Augustik and many others. Matt is the leader of Loom Large, which now presents their new album “Festival” – the seventh in his discography. Ulery’s writing music not only for his team but for a number of other chamber and orchestral compositions.

“Festival”, is a large multi-faceted project that Ulery received several grants from the city of Chicago, Illinois to complete. It can be divided into three parts. The first of these Ulery plays (and directs) with a large ensemble of 27 people (hence the ‘Large’ of Loom/Large), almost equivalent to a big band with full brass sections, a section of violins and solo violinist Zach Brock. In this part, the musicians play the Jimmy Rowles composition “The Peacocks” in Ulery’s arrangement and his own composition “Hubble”. The other two parts of the album – with quintet Loom, playing the music of their leader. In the six tracks Ulery’s playing the bass, and Rob Klierfild – the piano. In the last five compositions Matt changed his bass to the tuba, and Rob – piano on the pump organ.

And for all the differences between parts of each other on the set of tools used by the sound colors, the nature of the pieces, the album is perceived, in my opinion, as a whole. Matt Ulery’s approach to music combines the complexity of harmonies and academic tradition and the free, pure jazz, playing dynamic relations and idioms of musical language, held together by Matt’s inherent lyricism and compositional thinking thoroughness. And coherence game sections and solo violin Brock, and technology of Ulery and members of his quintet are impressive, but the takeaway is the feeling of wholeness and depth of this music. Yes, “Mahler Jazz” from Chicago offers to our attention not just a job, which may deter people used to listen to music only in the car. But it is the case that it is worth trying to listen more attentively – and not regret it.

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