Big thanks to the Huffington Post for including “Festival” on the 2016 Best of Jazz list!
“Bassist Matt Ulery has established himself as one of the most rigorous, thoughtful and ambitious figures in Chicago’s jazz scene, a composer with a deep curiosity and an ability to deftly assimilate his wide interests. His new double album, Festival, serves as a summation of what he’s been working toward the last decade, but it delivers a statement more sophisticated and accomplished than anything he’s done yet.”
“By rooting himself to folk music, he gives the songs a strong emotional tether, allowing the harmonies to achieve great depths, and the melodies to soar to great heights. Also impressive is how the grand majesty of Ulery’s compositions comes through whether performed by orchestra or small combo.” Full article here.
“The larger ensemble includes more brass, reeds and strings for a pair of songs. “The Peacocks” has some rich pastoral textures” and “Hubble” lets the string section glide over the suave drum pulse, with harmonies and moods being the main purpose here. Modern Copland?” Read full review here.
“A precious world, out of time. This song (as well as the full album) reminds me of the universe at once baroque and futuristic of “Dune”, without tensions, only coated with sweetness. Magical”. Full feature here.
“Talk about being attuned to each other! They breathe on each other’s solos. You can hear little curli-cues and dipsy-doodles in the background to keep things interesting during the kind of passages that are constantly changing and evolving. ” More here.
“While each band brings a different sound to the table, the organic nature of the bassist’s compositions tie the 13-song collection into a cohesive and engrossing experience” Full feature here.
“Ulery gives us one of his very best here. More lyric than avant, you find yourself drawn to the endless charm of his inventive imagination.” Read more.
“On Festival, Ulery gives us a collection of songs with compositional depth and rich orchestration. One can’t help but assume the music here was intended to evoke the “visualization” of a story. No matter what story the listener sees, the collection of music heard is something most are sure to enjoy.” Full review here.