4

Matt Ulery: By A Little Light

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
Matt Ulery: By A Little Light A unique blend of traditional jazz, classical, Eastern European folk, and modern idioms, Mat Ulery's By A little Light is steeped in a melancholic grace and shadowy beauty that provides the two-disc set its unifying force. Throughout, Ulery has chosen detail and the oblique over the grandiose to etch his dusky scenes and portraits that seem to capture discreet emotional moments the way master photographers can distill vast meaning within a single frame.

Bespeaking Ulery's consistency of approach there are neither highlights on the album nor any excess. Its twelve tracks are divided equally over two albums. The first is instrumental and the second consists of one instrumental piece and five vocal on four of which Polish- born Grazyna Auguscik lends the mournful tinge of her distinctive voice to Ulery's lyrics while Ulery himself performs the last "Broken and Blinded." The entirety is infused with an elusive blend of Romantic period classical arrangements, replete with that period's focus on folk music, jazz rhythms, and modernistic minimalism.

In each instance Ulery's compositions unfold like a Milan Kundera novel, the overall narrative evoked through an interwoven series of muted emotional inflections, small moments, and refined gestures, all unfolding at an unusually patient developmental pace. The haunting melody of the title track surfaces like faded childhood memories and lingers in the mind long after its final notes have faded; 'The Shortest Day"'s combination of Romantic piano and violin conjures darkened skies, crumbling architecture, and conversations whispered at sundown; "Gone as it Always Was" reaches into the corners of longing, while "Broken and Blinded" leaves one walking alone up the cobbled steps of regret.

Ulery's compositional clarity, constraint, and understated aesthetic allow the album's seeming diversity to avoid the lack of cohesion that plagues other eclectic works, often leaving them without a central purpose or mired in self-indulgence. Here Ulery is neither flaunting his "versatility" nor engaging in a cerebral exercise of genre morphing. Instead he has internalized many musical influences and allowed them to flow forth in one unified creative stream. The result is distinctive and affecting.


Track Listing: Dark Harvest; By a Little Light; To Lose Your Mind; Wilder Years; Shortest Day; The Miniaturist; Processional; Somebody Somewhere; Broken and Blinded; Sow the Deep Seeds; To The Brim; Gone as it Always Was.

Personnel: Matt Ulery: double bass, voice; Ben Lewis: piano (1-5, 11); Jon Deitmeyer: drums (1-5, 11); Michael Maccaferri: clarinets (1, 4, 5,7-9, 11, 12); Tim Munro: flute (1, 4, 7-9, 11, 12); James Davis: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 5, 7, 8, 10); Zach Brock: violins (1, 3-5, 7, 10); Dominic Johnson: viola (1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12); Nicholas Photinos: cello (1, 3-5, 7-12); Matthew Duval: vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba (3, 6, 7, 9, 10); Rob Clearfield: piano (6-10, 12); Michael Caskey: drums (6-10, 12); Grazyna Auguscik: vocals (8, 10-12).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "New Shoots" CD/LP/Track Review New Shoots
by Mike Oppenheim
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "Arc" CD/LP/Track Review Arc
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 13, 2016
Read "Pastures" CD/LP/Track Review Pastures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente (How to Disappear Completely)" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente (How to Disappear Completely)
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "O Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review O Horizonte
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!