By: Richard B. Kamins, Step Tempest
The trio of Zach Brock(violin), Jon Deitmeyer(drums), and Matt Ulery(bass) has worked together in various larger groups and on recordings by both the violinist and bassist. But, never as a three-piece group: that is, until the last few years (the one exception is one track on Ulery’s 2014 Greenleaf album “In the Ivory“). All three are composers and very busy sidemen with Brock playing with groups such as Snarky Puppy and bassist Stanley Clarke’s band, Ulery playing in numerous ensembles throughout the Chicago area, and Deitmeyer with pianist/vocalist Patricia Barber and pianist Phil Markowitz.
The band’s eponymous debut album, “Wonderment“, is out now on bassist Ulery’s Woolgathering Records. The 12-song program features four compositions by each member; yet, each piece plays to the strengths of the trio as an ensemble. Whether they are dancing delightfully (Deitmeyer’s “Wokey Dokey“) or creating a mysterious flow (Brock’s title track) or negotiating a tricky rhythm ((Ulery’s “Pumpkin Patch“), the music shines with creative interactions, well-drawn melodies, and fine solo moments. There is a full-out “rock” feel, thanks to Deitmeyer’s solid drumming (he “kicks it” with such glee), on “Cry Face” and make sure to listen to how articulate and deep Ulery’s bass lines sound on “Yge Bieve.” Brock’s blues and bluegrass sound comes to the fore on the lovely ballad “Cheyenne” – at times, the violin sounds like a voice singing a plaintive ballad.
The album closes with the high-spirited “Happy Place.” Note Brock’s strummed intro (sure sounds like a mandolin) and how he dances atop the funky rhythms during his solo. “Wonderment” indeed! And in fact. This music is a joy to behold from beginning to end. Playing with your friends is often great fun – to do just that in the studio is an impressive accomplishment. Enjoy this fine new CD from Zach Brock, Matt Ulery, and Jon Deitmeyer: if they are ever playing anywhere near you, go catch them in concert!!