Archive for June, 2012

Praise for Matt Ulery’s “By a Little Light”

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Chicago Tribune

Matt Ulery: “By a Little Light” (Greenleaf Records). This magical, profoundly musical release embraces more aesthetic influences than one might have thought a cohesive recording could. Drawing upon jazz, classical and Eastern European folkloric languages, among others, “By a Little Light” at first seduces the ear through its unusual instrumentation: jazz trio plus vibraphone, glockenspiel and classical chamber instrumentation (performed by members of the ensemble eighth blackbird and others) But it’s what Chicago bassist Ulery has written for these instruments that counts most, his compositions sometimes sublimely melodic, sometimes hypnotically repetitive but always exquisitely arranged. The second of the album’s two CDs features the haunting vocals of Polish-born, Chicago-based singer Grazyna Auguscik, accompanied by Ulery’s enchanting, genre-defying extended ensemble. Though Ulery clearly felt strongly enough about this material to join her on vocals, the nondescript quality of his singing suggests the recording would have been stronger without this contribution. Even so, the originality and purling beauty of this release cannot be overstated. – Howard Reich

Down Beat Magazine

Two beautiful, emotional records form Matt Ulery’s “By A Little Light” (Greenleaf 1026: 38:12/43:02 4 and 1/2 stars). These multi-movement compositions could stand on their own in both the classical and jazz worlds. There are no cheap musical tricks or shortcuts here; “By A Little Light” and “To The Brim,” which comprise each disc, are fully formed pieces that embrace a range of musical styles. The ensemble-driven music moves through a range of genres – a rock back-beat from the drums here, a bit of string quartet writing there – but never feels forced. – Jon Ross


Matt Ulery, By A Little Light: Chicago bassist & composer Ulery has put out a series of albums that defy classification. Beyond jazz, they are just as likely to have a foundation in various classical periods, folk musics, and even rock idioms. On this double disc, it’s a masterpiece of grand vision and soaring compositions. Built around two separate piano trios, Ulery adds violinist Zach Brock, vocalist Grazyna Auguscik, and members of the Eighth Blackbird ensemble for a spectacular set of music. Pick of the Week. – Dave Sumner

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