The Esteemed Artist Awards are special new $10,000 grants awarded to highly-qualified artists for expenses associated with an artist’s practice, such as studio rental, supplies, travel or equipment. They are part of the Chicago Cultural Grant’s Individual Artists Program (IAP). In celebration of 2020 as the Year of Chicago Music, half of the Esteemed Artist Awards are going to local musicians.

This program is partially supported by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust

Buzz about Sifting Stars:

DAVE SUMNER
BIRD IS THE WORM
“There’s always been a big sound to the compositions of Matt Ulery.” Read the full review here.

KEVIN JOHNSON
NO TREBLE
Read the full feature here.

IZZY YELLEN
CHICAGO READER
“Matt Ulery blends styles and scenes with his multifarious new project.” Read the full feature here.

IAN WARD
UK VIBE
“…expressive, lush, sometimes romantic…” Read the full review here.

RON SCEPPER
TEXTURA
“…his fulsome gifts as a composer, melodicist, and arranger are clearly evidenced by this magnificent recording.” Read the full review here.

RICHARD B. KAMINS
STEP TEMPEST
“This is an album for a cold morning as the sun rises or late in the evening when the house is quiet and the streets are still. Give this music time and you will be moved.” Read the full review here.

HOWARD REICH
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“The mystical quality of Chicago bassist-composer Ulery’s music never fails to cast its spell, regardless of the size or character of the ensemble in question.” Read the full Best of 2018 feature here.

RON SCHEPPER
TEXTURA
“Ulery’s gifts as a composer, melodicist, and arranger are clearly evidenced by this magnificent recording.” Read Best of Textura 2018 here.

HILARY BROWN
DOWNBEAT
“Sifting Stars
is an arthouse opus, rethinking jazz structure, beauty and realism, Ulery approaching each with the utmost subtlety.” Read the full review here.

 

 

“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.