Chicago based bassist/composer and bandleader, Matt Ulery, has developed an instantly recognizable sound. Known for his sweeping lyricism, unconventional phrase structures, expressionistic emotionalism, Ulery’s music, from small, diverse chamber ensembles to full orchestras, is informed by the entire spectrum of jazz, classical, rock, pop, and folk– speciﬁcally American, South American, Balkan, and other European folk styles. He has been performing for 23 years on upright, electric, and brass basses. For a decade, Ulery has been the leader of his own groups and frequent collaborator. Ulery has produced and released 8 albums of all original music under his name including three recent releases of critical acclaim, “By a Little Light,” “Wake an Echo,” and “In the Ivory,” on Dave Douglas’s Greenleaf Music record label in 2012-2014 and his latest, “Festival (2016),” and “Sifting Stars (2018)” on his own label, Woolgathering Records.
Ulery earned a Master of Music degree at Depaul University and Bachelors degree in music composition at The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and has played in bands with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Fareed Haque, Howard Levy, Patricia Barber, Goran Ivanovic, Greg Ward, Jeff Parker, Zach Brock, Jimmy Chamberlin, Makaya McCraven, Marquis Hill and countless others. As a composer, Ulery has collaborated with diverse ensembles such as Eighth Blackbird, Miami String Quartet, New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago, Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, Axiom Brass, Wild Belle, and the Guimaraes (Portugal) Jazz Festival.
When not touring parts of the U.S. and Europe, Matt is extremely active in the Chicago area music scenes and has performed with his own groups at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, NYC Winter Jazz Festival, Chicago Orchestra Hall, Millennium Park Pritzker Pavillion, Chicago Cultural Center, The Krannert Center, Jazz Showcase, The Metro, Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, and countless other ﬁne music listening rooms. In addition to performing, recording, and writing, Ulery is on faculty at Loyola University Chicago and gives masterclasses and clinics nationwide.
Matt Ulery leads and composes all the music for several of his own ensembles, including Sifting Stars Orchestra (orchestral art songs), Loom Large (jazz big band), Loom (jazz quintet), Pollinator (jazz brass band), By a Little Light Ensemble (chamber jazz nonet), string quintet, and various other pet projects including hosting a jazz jam every Monday night at The Whistler in Chicago.