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Matt Ulery's Loom on the East Coast This Week

Alex Marianyi
Contributing Writer
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi

I caught up with with Chicago bassist and composer Matt Ulery in one of my favorite Logan Square cafes before he leaves for the East Coast this week. He has enjoyed quite a bit of success of late partially resulting from his most recent album Wake an Echo and the one before By a Little Light, both released on Greenleaf Records.

We had some great conversation about the creative process of composition. He likened listening to music to feeding yourself. You don’t have the energy necessary to produce something without nourishment. Ulery also mentioned that you are what you eat; whatever you listen to is going to come out in what you write. “When I’m composing music, I’m not actively thinking about combining Duke Ellington with Kurt Cobain. They just happen to be two of my biggest influences; so, when I write, that’s what comes out.” He laughed. “I started playing bass because I wanted to play Nirvana.”

We also chatted a bit about the trip to the east. “When I contacted venues, I got plenty of nos, which is great. No answer means they don’t care, but a ‘no because we’re booked’ means later.” He also added, “Having Dave Douglas and Greenleaf Records doesn’t hurt a bit when you’re contacting venues.” His working band and the group on Wake an Echo, Matt Ulery’s Loom, will be joining him on the East Coast.

Pianist and accordionist Rob Clearfield is obviously connected with Ulery’s music on a deep level and holds you in their musical universe even when venturing out on a limb during a long improvisation. Also a long-time collaborator of Ulery’s is drummer Jon Deitemyer. Deitemyer’s ability to shape each of Ulery’s compositions is a testament to his own talent as a composer. In a very Getz-like way, trumpeter Marquis Hill draws you in with his luscious tone and then surprises you with intelligently constructed lines. By design, saxophonist Geof Bradfield plays only bass clarinet in this group, and as a result, plays some unexpected yet not unwelcome things. (Side note: as proof of his flexibility, this is the third time I’ve written about Bradfield this summer, and each time he’s in a very different setting.)

The trip lines up as follows. On Tuesday, August 20th, 2013, he’ll be at Shapeshifter Lab in New York City at 8:15pm doing a set from his most recent release Wake an Echo and from his previous release By a Little Light. Then, the next day, he’s participating in a concert series that is increasingly becoming a way for people to discover new music; NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. He then closes out the week back in Chicago by playing on the square in Logan Square on Saturday, the 24th at 5pm. You will most certainly find me at that last event.

August 20thSHAPESHIFTER LAB: 8:15 Loom “wake and echo” release set, 9:30 NYC premier of “By a Little Light” with Loom + Zach Brock and other special guests, Brooklyn, NY
August 21st w/ MATT ULERY’S LOOM at NPR Tiny Desk Concert, D.C.
August 21st LATER at BETHESDA BLUES and JAZZ, Bethesda, MD
August 23rd w/ MARQUIS HILL and MAKAYA McCRAVEN at CONSTELLATION CHICAGO
August 24th w/ MATT ULERY’S LOOM at SUMMER SESSIONS ON THE (Logan) SQUARE, 5pm
August 28th w/ ED QUARTET and AMANDA CRUMBLEY at JERRY’S, 9pm
August 31 w/ MATT ULERY’S LOOM TRIO at SUKHAVA BODHE YOGA and MUSIC FESTIVAL

Alex Marianyi is a musician with an artistic identity crisis based in Chicago, IL. You can follow him on Twitter, and he won’t even file a restraining order.