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In the Ivory

by Matt Ulery

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Sven B. Schreiber
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Sven B. Schreiber This is one of the albums that really sweep me away, no matter which track I'm listening to, and its pleasantly long running time of almost 80 minutes guarantees a maximum sweeping effect. Basically, Matt Ulery is a jazz musician and composer playing the double bass, but the magic he creates on this and other albums is well beyond the confines of the genre. The brilliant varied orchestrations clearly put it into a neo-classical chamber music frame, frequently reminding me of Argentine chamber folk, and the smooth vocals contributed by Grażyna Auguścik and Sarah Marie Young add considerably to the magic, as does the piano work of Rob Clearfield, who's a great composer himself. Favorite track: Write it on the Wall.
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about

Expanding upon the artistic and critical success of his 2012 double album By a Little Light, Chicago bassist-composer Matt Ulery returns with In the Ivory – eighty minutes of resplendent, lyrical, transportive, and impeccably performed chamber-jazz music. Inspired and motivated by the musical and personal relationships developed while recording and performing By a Little Light, In the Ivory explores the idea of consciousness through patient, lyrical composition.

At a time when classical musicians perform in clubs almost as frequently as jazz musicians appear in concert halls, Ulery has forged a unique signature sound that combines a jazz core with luminous ensemble writing and song craft. Built around a band of select, unique voices, In the Ivory draws upon Ulery’s positive experience performing Light with this particular thirteen-piece aggregation.

Ulery’s sixth album as a leader blends jazz, American minimalism, Eastern European folk music (as a longtime writing member of Chicago band Eastern Blok), and romanticism into a constantly evolving emotional kaleidoscope.

credits

released September 16, 2014

Personnel:
Rob Clearfield, piano
Jon Deitemyer, drums, cymbals, percussion
Matt Ulery, double bass, background vocal (1:2, 1:4, 2:4)
Zach Brock, Yvonne Lam, violin
Dominic Johnson, viola
Nicholas Photinos, cello
Timothy Munro, alto flute
Michael Maccaferri, clarinets
Lisa Kaplan, piano (2:1, 2:6)
Gregory Beyer, marimba, vibraphone, berimbau, maracas
Sarah Marie Young, lead vocal (1:6)
Erik Hall, background vocal (1:6)
Corbett Lunsford, background vocal (1:6)
Grazyna Auguscik, lead vocal (1:2, 1:4, 2:2, 2:4), background vocal (1:6)

Produced by Matt Ulery

Engineered and mixed by Anthony Gravino
Recorded in December 2013 and January 2014 at Shirk Studio and The Drake in Chicago, IL
Mastered by Brian Schwab

All compositions, arrangement, and lyrics by Matt Ulery
Compositions published by Woolgathering Music (ASCAP), 2014

Package design by Jim Tuerk

Lyrics:

There’s a Reason and a Thousand Ways

In a photograph
by a firelight
there’s a reason and a thousand ways to die
shot in grey and black
color me in lead
separated, lighted liquid clarified

time will comfort me
comfort me
come for me

little potion
lost emotion
frozen pond
an empty ocean

imagine every waiting rhizome willing
rest a season salty brooding
extent feeding nothing meaning
dried in brine

I’m running out of time
and time's running out on me
below when the hour leads me on
gone too far from round I was wrong
so take me back to when I belong

The Farm

Alabaster eyes
haven’t had a night
off without an alibi
shut in with a rage
fostering the maze
fabricated, justified
shallowing, decayed
breeding on display
operated misery
faintly qualified
restituted rise
lapidary interlay
confident decry
all for nothing nearly by
sewn of a stain
amplified
Tarantella dream
ripen to a remedy
rusted and worn
apathy
again - again

All the rot and wasted rain
abound
a fallen fade
diluted and drained

dull and jaded
soft, serrated

windy speeches run
digging overdone

carved & craving
wilted, raining
rotten, windy
clad in grey steam

windy speeches run
digging overdone
fasted, hollow, drawn
a cold, corroded sun

Write it On the Wall

write it on the wall
so I can understand
the reason why you came
and I will compromise
meet you at the rise
a mutual eye

over the wall
where I can’t go at all
a fade, misshapen sun
a capillary light
is what is when is right
a lucid appetite

a choice is what you keep in waiting
all disappearing
and don’t forget the resolutions
formed in the hour of fear
it’s all been cleared
a risk is what you’re missing hear

broken seeder
bottom feeder
remember
when you're were

When Everything is Just the Same

I seek fireflies
where the truth is a white lie
clarified

When everything is just the same
It's time that I began to speak again
in mélodrame

Tell me who holds the master key
to a thousand storytellers dreams
I beg to see

The reflection in the mirror
has never made a stranger disappear
unfelt fear

and when darkness holds a candle still
it's time that I propose a fairy tale
with no end

After all is said and what's been done
it's only dirt and dust that we become
oblivion

When the water rises to the top
none of us will need a single drop

Visceral

breath a melisma
a techni-coloratura
quiet your mind let it slow
until it shows
a radiant glow

shine a light as you go
from shallow waves on your soul
from the eye that you call
a ritual
visceral

in the hours you keep
practice what you seek
all you don't comprehend
go on pretend
deliver it again
until the end

if at first you don't succeed
follow a lead
never impede
peace in imagery

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about

Matt Ulery Chicago, Illinois

Chicago bassist and composer.

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