Matt Ulery's Loom | Green Mill | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Matt Ulery's Loom 

When: Fri., Jan. 14, 9 p.m. and Sat., Jan. 15, 8 p.m. 2011
Price: $12
Chicagoan Matt Ulery is ostensibly a jazz bassist, but with each recording he's made over the past few years his interest in composing and arranging has grown, further eclipsing his interest in improvisation. That said, the group's impressive new second album, Flora. Fauna. Fervor. (482 Music), has its fair share of solos, particularly from keyboardist Rob Clearfield—whose warmth and restraint here stand in stark opposition to his chilly, synthetic playing with Greg Ward's Fitted Shards—but they all feel inextricably woven into Ulery's elaborate, beautiful compositions. (It's obvious why he named the band Loom.) On the stately, slow-growing opener, "Great Full," the band doesn't pull back for Clearfield's Wurlitzer solo but instead builds around it, and on "The Queen" trumpeter Thad Franklin and saxophonist Tim Haldeman embark on free-blowing excursions that take intimate cues from the tune's frequent shifts in mood, tempo, and density. In his liner notes Ulery writes, "Classical chamber music, modern jazz, folk music of the Americas and Eastern Europe, modern indie-rock and evocative, orchestral film scores have all played a key role in the Loom compositions," and the music bears that out. The recording features a septet streaked by the violin of Zach Brock, but he'll be missing for these shows, as will vibist Katie Wiegman—Ulery will lead a sextet with Franklin, Haldeman, Clearfield, drummer Jon Deitemyer, and guest guitarist Dave Miller, which should have no problem re-creating the album's richly cinematic vibe.
—Peter Margasak


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