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Matt Ulery: Mannerist

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Matt Ulery: Mannerist
There is a lilting magic to the music of Mannerist that is hard to deny or find fault with. The "Bridge" starts and the whole day changes, eliciting, perhaps, a feeling of being lighter on the feet, lighter in spirit and, most importantly, lighter in the head. Suddenly all the information they want you to swallow goes away and its just you and the music. It is a beautiful thing. It is something bassist/composer/bandleader Matt Ulery sets out to do every time he takes to the bandstand or his writing chambers. So standing kudos to him for following his instinct and muse.

With the hail of chaos with which we brood daily, there becomes an almost dire need for the music on Mannerist. Calm with a soulful undertow, it is a respite from the hard rain. It is music borne on the spring breeze and sunset. A music that need not beg you to listen.

Mannerist has the ability to float into your life, as "Bridges" floats into "The Brink of What" that, even with its slightly darker moments (thanks to pianist Paul Bedal, drifts into the quixotically effervescent "Another Book of Ornaments," a tour-de-force crash course on everything Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. The three tracks virtually gambol, and when was the last time you gamboled along with anything?

As a composer, Ulery has a romantic streak running through him. A downtown dancehall, big band flair for finery that becomes instantly evident be he conducting an eleven-piece band (as he does here) or smaller ensembles. After the sweeping adventures heard on "Another Book of Ornaments," the dance moves to the "Left Window" and, if you've never encountered Ulery and his sweet designs on records such as Become Giant (Woolgathering, 2022), Pollinator (Woolgathering, 2020) or Wonderment (Woolgathering, 2019), it begins to make you wonder how long he can keep his graceful illusions going.

And though Ulery may appear to some as a magician, Mannerist is no illusion. "Under the Dusken Crown" and "The Prairie is a Rolling Ocean" are no dreams of fiction. They are, as is the whole, the most recent summation of what Ulery does: brings you somewhere else you thought was lost but now is found.

Track Listing

Bridges; The Brink of What; Another Room of Ornaments; Left Room; Under the Dusken Crown; The Prairie is a Rolling Ocean.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Mannerist | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Woolgathering Records


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