Matt Ulery's Loom

Green Mill, Chicago, IL
January 14, 2011

Matt Ulery
Matt Ulery

Story by Brad Walseth, Photos by John Broughton, Copyright 2011

Chicago's finest young composer, bassist Matt Ulery, brought his Loom ensemble to the North Side's historic Green Mill jazz club to celebrate the release of their excellent new album: Flora.Fauna.Fervor. (see our review here) for a packed house of appreciative listeners.

Performing a mix of compositions from the new recording and 2008's "Music Box Ballerina" (a top-ten pick for Jazzchicago for that year - see our review here), Ulery and his sextet demonstrated the symphonic nature of Ulery's singular musical vision. The commitment of the musicians in the band to these compositions is shown by the dedication shown by Loom's trumpeter Thad Franklin - who flew back from Seattle to take part. Franklin is joined by saxophonist Tim Haldeman on the front line and both responded with fine solos and strong interplay. Haldeman especially seemed inspired by the cheering crowd to reach for new directions.

Guitarist Dave Miller was just back from his stint in Amsterdam with Jeff Greene's Blink, and still somewhat reeling from the theft of his guitar and computer equipment, but trouper that he is, the young guitar star persevered - contributing his usual strong solos and array of electronic sounds. Meanwhile, drummer Jon Deitemeyer is the unsung hero of the group - working with the leader to keep everybody in line on these challenging compositions.

Of course, one important key to the sound of Loom - which seems to interweave layers of sounds into a soundtrack that is intricate but not too busy - is keyboardist Rob Clearfield - whose accordion helps give the group its vaguely European feel. He also is a talented pianist and added several moments of great beauty on the Green Mill's grand.

Ulery's experience as a tuba player gives the music a truly unique sound almost like a polka band playing modern jazz - a highly personal and original direction if there ever was one. If there was an early candidate for a MacArthur Grant, it is Ulery - is the committee listening?

Rob Clearfield

Rob Clearfield, Dave Miller, Matt Ulery

Matt Ulery & Tim Haldeman

Jon Deitemyer

Thad Franklin

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