Street Date: July 16, 2019
For violinist Zach Brock, bassist Matt Ulery, and drummer Jon Deitemyer, their debut trio album Wonderment is very much a realization of separate musical journeys coalescing into one undeniably personal statement. Due to be released on July 16th on Ulery’s Woolgathering Records, Wonderment features original compositions from all three members for this unique violin/bass/drum trio. The group’s almost fifteen-year musical relationship culminates with this exciting new collaborative release.
“You have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself” famously remarked Miles Davis. For an individual musician the meaning is clear: put in the time practicing, performing, writing, and failing, and (hopefully) something undeniably personal and sincere will emerge from the struggle. Often-times this emergence of originality occurs in moments of isolation. But occasionally a group of musicians can illuminate the path ahead together with that immutable light afforded through trust - such is the case for this heavyweight ensemble of Chicago elite. On this twelve-track collection of originals, the trio covers a wide array of compositional and improvisatory ground: from Ulery's loping, odd-timed "Nightshade" to Brock's driving and somewhat tongue-in-cheek "Cry Face" to Deitemyer's post-bop tinged "Wokey Dokey". Wonderment prioritizes sincerity in its compositions and performances. There are moments of courageous improvising and palpable energy, and moments of serene beauty and restraint. There is darkness and humor, and above all a sense of care and unity that can only arise between musicians that have traveled their paths alone, but then meet around the creative hearth to re-connect.
Zach, Matt, and Jon began playing together in 2005 in Chicago. What began as a casual monthly session grew quickly into local gigs and deeply personal musical connections. Zach's move to New York afforded him countless opportunities with incredible musicians (Stanley Clarke, Snarky Puppy, Phil Markowitz, Clarence Penn) and even earned him a Grammy Award and a Downbeat Magazine "rising star" accolade. Matt has grown into a prolific composer and performer by any measure, boasting eight recordings as a leader (three on Dave Douglas' Greenleaf Music label) and performances as a bassist with Greg Ward, Marquis Hill, Makaya McCraven, and Eighth Blackbird. Jon is a long-time sideman with Patricia Barber and Matt Ulery's projects, and has toured with Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion." He has a recording of his own original compositions on ears&eyes Records.
All of this experience and creativity came together in 2014 when the trio recorded a track for Ulery's Greenleaf album In the Ivory. The thoughtfulness, transparency, and challenge of the music making demanded more opportunities, and so the three musicians agreed to officially create a bona-fide band. Opportunities and performances quickly arose. Brock, Ulery, and Deitemyer played as a trio (and with the Miami String Quartet) as the featured performers for "Off the Hook Arts" Festival in Fort Collins, CO. They premiered “Become Giant,” a major work of Ulery’s for string sextet+drums commissioned by the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington to feature Zach, and performed with a quartet led by First Associate Concertmaster of the LA Phil, Nathan Cole.
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" This mix of violin styles, of folk, classical and jazz, permeate the music on this set, but do so in a way that leads you to conclude that Brock has a sound of his own. Ulery’s bass provides a sonorous, often stately, pulse that accompanies the violin along the paths that it weaves." Review here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
“This ensemble is rich with crescendos of energy, tender with sweetly sung melodies and daring with provocative performances by each individual instrumentalist and composer. Somehow, they meet in the middle, and have created an unusual and very pleasant work of musical art." Review here.
BEST OF 2019
"Taken as a whole, Wonderment augurs an auspicious beginning for a collective that’s been playing together for years, but only recently started to fully explore its abilities." Review here.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Jazz meets rock meets gypsy and whimsy, each track powered by an effervescence and ebullience found all too rarely when outstanding talents convene." Read the full review here.
ANTHONY DEAN HARRIS
"These three are a great trio who have dazzled on their own and with others for years. Whether backing Stanley Clarke, Marquis Hill, Makaya McCraven, or any other fantastic talent, these three have built distinct voices that sound very much them (and in a way, very much Chicago). It would only make sense that they would one day make a co-led trio album, even moreso that it would sound this good. Wonderment is their natural state." Review here.
BEST OF 2019
"Wonderment is trio playing of an inordinately high order, the sound of three advanced musos joyfully bringing the material they so clearly love into being." Read the full review here.
CHICAGO JAZZ MAGAZINE
"...the disc is singularly inventive and deeply absorbing. Its balanced performances, crackling with spontaneity and lyrical melodies, are both provocative and moving—making the music simultaneously accessible and intellectually satisfying." Full review here.
BEST OF 2019
" My personal feeling is that the first seven on this list could each be the single best jazz release of the year. " List here.
RICHARD B. KAMINS
BEST OF 2019
“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.” Read the full review here.
"[TRANSLATED] The best thing to do in these cases, given the rarity of such art excellence in circulation, is to enjoy this true and audacious listening experience with the smile of the heart and the dance of the body." Full Italian review here.
"A collection of twelve original compositions covering a wide array of compositional and improvisatory ground, as well as a wide range of emotions, but always favoring sincerity, Wonderment stands as a coming together of separate journeys into one strong, long-awaited personal statement." Read the full 10 New Albums you Need to Know About feature here. Podcast here.
"Occasionally a group of musicians can illuminate the path ahead together with that immutable light afforded through trust - such is the case for this heavyweight ensemble of Chicago elite." Read the full review here.
"Violinist Zach Brock, bassist Matt Ulery and drummer Jon Deitemyer are all respected bandleaders, compose at high levels, and have a dedication to sonic detail that makes their collaboration, and ‘Wonderment', a highlight in Jazz for 2019." Read the full review here. PLUS read exclusive feature on Zach Brock here.
"Surprises include Brock’s gorgeous title number with a melody worthy of mid-century Broadway and Ulery’s “Levelled,” which sometimes suggests the imperative drive of prog rock." Read the full review here.
"This may be their first official release as a trio, but the collaborations between bassist Matt Ulery, drummer Jon Deitemyer, and violinist Zach Brock have a rich history, resulting in some of the most compelling music of the new century." Read the full feature here.