Matt Ulery’s “In the Ivory” featured on the Utne Reader

Posted by: mark on September 9, 2014 @ 6:15 pm
Filed under: Matt Ulery


Check out a preview of Matt Ulery’s track “There’s a Reason and a Thousand Ways” from his record In the Ivory featuring vocalist Grazyna Auguscik at Utne Reader.  The 2 CD album releases on September 16th, but you can preorder your digital copy on iTunes now!

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Matt Ulery’s In the Ivory Available for Pre-Order on iTunes!

Posted by: mark on August 19, 2014 @ 3:27 pm
Filed under: Matt Ulery


We are very excited to announce that Matt Ulery’s In the Ivory is available for pre-order on iTunes! Receive an instant download of the track “There’s a Reason and A Thousand Ways” when you pre-order. In the Ivory officially releases on September 16th and will be available as a double CD.

Expanding upon the artistic and critical success of his 2012 double album By a Little Light, Chicago bassist-composer Matt Ulery returns with In the Ivory on Dave Douglas’ acclaimed independent label Greenleaf Music – eighty minutes of resplendent, lyrical, transportive, and impeccably performed chamber-jazz music. Inspired and motivated by the musical and personal relationships developed while recording and performing By a Little Light–Ulery’s most ambitious project to date–In the Ivory explores the idea of consciousness through patient, lyrical composition.

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Matt Ulery’s Loom+ Live from Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: mark on August 15, 2014 @ 2:16 pm
Filed under: Matt Ulery, Subscriber Downloads


This month’s subscriber track, Shortest Day, comes from a live performance on August 13th, 2013 at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY by Matt Ulery’s Loom+.


Rob Clearfield – piano
Marquis Hill – trumpet
Geof Bradfield – bass clarinet
Anne Drummond – alto flute
Zach Brock – violin
Tricia Park – violin
Maria Jeffers- cello
Jon Deitemyer – drums
Matt Ulery – double bass/composition

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Matt Ulery Performing in Chicago

Posted by: admin on June 2, 2014 @ 4:05 pm
Filed under: Matt Ulery


Matt Ulery will be live at Chicago’s City Winery tonight with the New Millennium Orchestra, performing new orchestrations of “By a Little Light,” as well as previewing the forthcoming “In the Ivory.” Grab your copy of “By a Little Light” here!

Matt will also be performing as The Shepherd and The Herd next Tuesday June 10th at the Polish Triangle, and again at the Plein Air Cafe in Hyde Park on June 24th. More information about the series can be found here.

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Join us. Support the Artists and Access the Music

Posted by: Dave Douglas on February 18, 2014 @ 4:33 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas, Donny McCaslin, Greenleaf (News), Matt Ulery, Rudy Royston, Subscriptions

Dear Friends,

As you probably know, Greenleaf Music has offered a subscription plan for several years. What you may not know is how much unreleased music is available with your subscription!

I want to let you know that we are reviving the track-a-month additions to our Subscription Series. January featured the Dave Douglas Quintet playing “Garden State” live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. February features an extra track from Rudy Royston’s fantastic new CD, 303, called “Big Money.” The rest of this year will see extra tracks from Linda Oh, Donny McCaslin, Matt Ulery, and additional tracks from yours truly, Dave Douglas.

Additionally, I selected an album length collection of exciting Dave Douglas Quintet recordings from Fall 2013. This collection features songs from the albums Be StillTime Travel and Pathways. It also features–aside from quintet members Jon Irabagon, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, and Rudy Royston–special cameo appearances from pianists Bobby Avey and Luis Perdomo.

Dave Douglas

This new Dave Douglas Quintet Live Fall 2013 album will automatically become part of the Subscription Series. If you’re already a Level 2 or Level 3 subscriber, you know how to find it. Enjoy! And if you want to take advantage of all of this special music, please consider joining those who have access.

Subscriptions also include: special updates about Greenleaf Music activities, discounts at the store, the use of our proprietary Cloud Player to stream our entire catalog, as well as the potential for free tickets and backstage visits with the artists. Visit our subscriptions page to find out more.

Please consider joining us and hearing all this music. We appreciate the support.


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Wake An Echo

Posted by: admin on June 25, 2013 @ 4:22 pm
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Matt Ulery, store

“This is music of brisk intelligence and an almost off-putting abundance of composure… with frictionless access to great chunks of classical postminimalism, atmospheric indie-rock and harmonically astute post-bop.”
-NY Times

With his 2012 release By A Little Light, Chicago bassist and composer Matt Ulery presented profoundly rich compositions for a large ensemble. The sprawling two-disc collection, lush with strings, winds, and vocals—care of the iconoclastic contemporary classical ensemble eighth blackbird, and Polish singer Grazyna Auguscik—was called “one of the most hauntingly beautiful recordings of [2012]” by Chicago Tribune, received ★★★★ ½ in Downbeat, and appeared on NPR’s Top 50 Albums of the Year across all genres. For his follow-up—his second for the Greenleaf Music label—Ulery sets aside the grandeur of the large ensemble without sacrificing the beauty inherent in his compositions, reimagining his long-standing Loom Quintet on Wake An Echo.

Loom is an acoustic jazz quintet influenced by current indie rock and the folk music of the Americas and Europe. The personnel includes five unique composers, bandleaders, and improvisers with Ulery at the compositional center.

The rhythm section, anchoring the ensemble since 2006, consists of the trio of pianist Rob Clearfield who doubles on accordion on Wake An Echo, drummer Jon Deitemyer, and Ulery on double bass. This grouping also provided the backbone to the By A Little Light ensemble. These are musical confidantes who have collaborated on countless endeavors helping to foster what is a deep musical relationship with the type of confidence essential to the sensitive elasticity of Ulery’s music.

The frontline of the Loom quintet is a unique blend of trumpet and bass clarinet. While Geof Bradfield is an accomplished tenor saxophonist, Ulery asked him to play bass clarinet exclusively after hearing him with trumpeter Marquis Hill in a different setting. With Hill’s dark tone, Bradfield’s tenor-like agility on bass clarinet this is a fresh, new sound for Loom.

“These specific instruments and personalities have opened up a new world of orchestration possibilities for me, and are essential to the interest and drama in this music,” Ulery notes, ”ultimately helping lead to an emotional connection between the players and the listeners.”

With Loom, Matt Ulery expands his voice, continuing to draw on his varied experiences and influences while using well-seasoned personnel to not just perform but inhabit the music he creates.

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By A Little Light

Posted by: admin on June 19, 2012 @ 6:54 am
Filed under: CD/FLAC/MP3, Matt Ulery, store


Top 50 Favorite Albums Of 2012 (all genres) by NPR Music

Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2012 by NPR’s A Blog Supreme

Top 10 Albums of 2012 by Chicago Tribune

“one of the most hauntingly beautiful recordings of this year — or any other. This magical, profoundly musical release embraces more aesthetic influences than one might have thought a cohesive recording could.” —Chicago Tribune

★★★★ 1/2 -Downbeat

“a masterpiece of grand vision and soaring compositions.” —eMusic

Even during a time when eclectic tastes are becoming the norm and a vast diversity of sound is available at the touch of a button, Matt Ulery still seems singularly difficult to pigeonhole. The two releases by his seven-piece jazz ensemble, Loom, sandwich Themes and Scenes, an album of orchestral compositions inspired by film scores. A first-call bassist on the vibrant Chicago jazz scene, he also draws inspiration from Eastern European folk music as a member of the Balkan-flavored ensemble Eastern Blok and via his long-standing collaboration with Polish-born singer Grazyna Auguscik.

On his fourth release as a leader, the double-disc By a Little Light, Ulery seamlessly brings together those wide-ranging experiences and influences – among others – into a rich body of compositions that moves beyond notions of jazz-classical fusion to speak with a distinctive individual voice unburdened by genre limitations. Working with members of the iconoclastic contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird, Ulery creates a unified ensemble rather than simply supplementing a jazz group with classical trappings.

“The music I wrote for this record was inspired by Romantic classical music, American minimalist composers, the entire jazz spectrum, Eastern European folk music, as well as modern indie rock,” Ulery says. “It was designed to be played with great musicians who don’t necessarily play jazz. The rhythm section has to be strong in that sense, and their phrasing and articulation were completely informed by their history of playing jazz. But I looked at the project not as going back and forth between the jazz and classical worlds, I looked at it as working with great musicians.”

The result combines the lush grandeur of Rachmaninoff with the hypnotic recursions of modernists like Philip Glass or Steve Reich; the glacial pop textures of Portishead with the ebullient rhythms of Balkan folk; all girded by the spine of a jazz trio in the modern tradition of Brad Mehldau. Conceived to showcase his talents as composer and arranger, the music is largely through-composed, ceding all solo turns to the piano despite Ulery’s considerable bass chops.

The title track, “By a Little Light,” features the unadorned piano trio, and lends its name to the album as a whole as Ulery’s acknowledgment of the trio’s role as the core of all the music contained on both discs. (The trio features Ulery and either pianist Rob Clearfield and drummer Michael Caskey or pianist Ben Lewis and drummer Jon Deitemyer.) The tune’s moody swing is immediately preceded by the cinematic “Dark Harvest,” one of a series of pieces by that name that Ulery writes every Halloween; and followed by the Ravel-inspired “To Lose Your Mind,” which was performed by friends at the composer’s wedding.

Another set of nuptials, those of violinist Zach Brock, Ulery’s longtime friend and colleague in Loom and in this ensemble, were the occasion for the composition of “Processional,” which opens the second disc and which set the template for the instrumental make-up of this project. The piece serves as a fanfare to usher in the vocal half of the album, featuring Auguscik’s entrancing voice on four cuts and Ulery himself stepping to the microphone, taking the lead for the tender, searching “Broken and Blinded.”

“I’ve never really been a singer,” Ulery admits. “But I wanted to sing that song. My voice gives it a character that needed to be there for that composition.”

The vocally-oriented compositions, while retaining the character of the project as a whole, forefront the influence of some of pop music’s more imaginative songwriters, from Paul McCartney to Kurt Cobain, Sufjan Stevens to Tom Waits. “I love music with singing, as much as I’m steeped in more instrumental music,” Ulery says. “None of this music was written with the intent to have lyrics, though when I do write melodies I like to think that they’re lyrical enough that they could be sung with words. So it’s an interesting challenge to write words to existing melodies. I want to be able to give listeners something very specific to think about, as opposed to more abstract instrumental music.”


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