Matt Ulery's Loom - Music Box Ballerina - Jazzgram
by Emilie Pons - November 2008
Music Box Ballerina is original. And delicious. Bass player Matt Ulery proves daring in his musical experimentations. The opener, "Kentucky Animal Orchestra", presents a wonderful theme. It is fresh and all the instruments, including Rob Clearfield's accordion contribute to creating pleasant and special harmonies. In the second part of the song, Matt Ulery and violinist Zach Brock embark on a sophisticated and vibrant duo; then Brock continues on his own, reminding us of Billy Bank or Didier Lockwood. Then the violonist is joined by Clearfield before the theme is reiterated, and when the song ends, the cycle is complete.
Compositions such as "Good Morning" or "Slow and Awake" are alone worth the price of admission. In "Good Morning", as in "Pink Sea and Wondering Without", the violin displays quite some energy and depth. The aptly-titled "Slow and Awake" is unhurried and enthralling. For the first time in the album, you will hear Grazyna Auguscik's voice and be absolutely delighted. Even if you don't pay attention to the lyrics, you cannot not be charmed.
"Liguria" is as original as it is appeasing. It also gives a chance to hear Rob Clearfield at the piano. As he experiments with his instrument, his tone reveals at times some Keith Jarret influences. "Constant" is simply beautiful. It is lyrical and peaceful at the same time.
"House Logic" closes the album in an unusual way. It explores sounds, harmonies, and rhythmical mixes of various natures while narrating its own story. In fact, each song on Music Box Ballerina tells a story. Some are playful and reminiscent of circus or brass bands. They do not shy away from humor, which is more than welcome. Overall, the album's sounds stimulate all the senses. Enjoy! - EMILIE PONS