Rockford native Matt Ulery brings chamber jazz ensemble to Sinnissippi

Matt Ulery

Staff Report

The Aug. 1 Sounds of Summer concert at Sinnissippi Park Music Shell marks the return of a Rockford original. Rockford native Matt Ulery, Chicago-based bassist and composer, will bring his nine-piece chamber jazz ensemble to the Music Shell for a 7 p.m. CD release concert.

Ulery has developed an instantly recognizable sound. Known for his sweeping lyricism, unconventional phrase structures, and expressionistic emotionalism, Ulery’s music is informed by the entire spectrum of jazz, classical, rock, pop and folk — specifically American, South American, Balkan and other European folk styles. He will debut and release his new CD at this unique Rockford Park District event.

Working with world-class musicians from jazz and classical backgrounds, Ulery creates a unified, nine-piece ensemble, including vocalist Grazyna Auguscik. In this concert, Ulery’s ensemble performs the music from their new album, Wake an Echo, released July 16, as well as selections from their critically-acclaimed album release, By a Little Light.

With his 2012 release By A Little Light, Ulery presented profoundly rich compositions for a large ensemble. The sprawling two-disc collection, lush with strings, winds and vocals — care of the iconoclastic contemporary classical ensemble eighth blackbird, and Polish singer Grazyna Auguscik — the album was called “one of the most hauntingly beautiful recordings of [2012] or any other [year]” by Chicago Tribune and appeared on NPR’s Top 50 Albums of the Year across all genres.

For his follow-up — his second for Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music label — Ulery sets aside the grandeur of the large ensemble without sacrificing the beauty inherent in his compositions, reimagining his long-standing Loom Quintet on Wake An Echo.

Loom is an acoustic jazz quintet influenced by current indie rock and the folk music of the Americas and Europe. The personnel include five unique composers, bandleaders and improvisers with Ulery at the compositional center. See for more details.

The Music Shell is inside Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. Second St., Rockford. Admission is free.

From the July 31-Aug. 6, 2013, issue

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