Matt Ulery Professional Photo
Music and Dance
College of Arts and Sciences
Courses Taught
Applied String Bass and Bass Guitar
Research Interests
Applied Bass, Performance, Composition, Recording, Production

M.M. DePaul University
B.M. Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University


Chicago-based bassist/composer and bandleader Matt Ulery has developed an instantly recognizable sound. Known for his sweeping lyricism, unconventional phrase structures and 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 25 years on upright, electric and brass basses.

For over two decades, Ulery has been the leader of his own groups and frequent collaborator. Ulery has produced and released 12 albums of all-original music under his name. Ulery holds music degrees from DePaul University and Roosevelt University and is in high demand as a bassist in Chicago. 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, Guimaraes (Portugal) Jazz Festival, Projeto Arcomusical, and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition.

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, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Guimaraes Jazz Festival, and countless other fine music listening rooms.

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), Delicate Charms (jazz quintet), Pollinator (jazz brass band), By a Little Light Ensemble (chamber jazz nonet), string quintet, and various other pet projects.

Additional Information

Composer/Bandleader/Recording Artist albums composed, produced and released as a leader 2008-present
"Music Box Ballerina” – Matt Ulery’s “Loom” (chamber jazz septet)– Woolgathering Records 2008
“Themes and Scenes” – Matt Ulery (cinema and orchestra) - Woolgathering Records 2009
“The Queen” 10 inch vinyl single – Whistler Records 2010
“Flora.Fauna.Fervor.” – Matt Ulery’s “Loom” (chamber jazz septet) - 482 Music January 2011
“By a Little Light” (double CD) - Matt Ulery (14 piece chamber jazz ensemble) - Greenleaf Music 2012
“Wake an Echo” - Matt Ulery’s Loom (jazz quintet) Greenleaf Music July 2013
 “In the Ivory” (double CD) - Matt Ulery (14 piece chamber jazz ensemble) - Greenleaf Music 2014
 “Festival” (double vinyl) - Matt Ulery’s Loom/Large (jazz big band and quintet) Woolgathering Records October 2016
“Sifting Stars” (vinyl/CD) - Matt Ulery’s Sifting Stars Orchestra and Axiom Brass (quintet) - Woolgathering Records October 2018
“Wonderment” (CD) - Matt Ulery | Zach Brock | Jon Deitemyer (violin, bass, drums trio) - Woolgathering Records July 2019
“Delicate Charms” (vinyl/CD) - Matt Ulery’s Delicate Charms (chamber jazz quintet) - Woolgathering Records October 2019
Pollinator” (vinyl/CD) - Matt Ulery’s Pollinator (jazz brass sextet) - Woolgathering Records May 2020
“Delicate Charms Live at the Green Mill” (CD) - Matt Ulery’s Delicate Charms (chamber jazz quintet) - Woolgathering Records October 2021
“Become Giant” (vinyl/CD) - Matt Ulery’s Become Giant (string sextet+drums) - Woolgathering Records forthcoming August 2022
“Mannerist” (vinyl/CD) - Matt Ulery’s Mannerist 11 (11 piece chamber jazz orchestra) - Woolgathering Records forthcoming May 2022

Artist awards received
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Esteemed Artist Award/Grant - 2021
Illinois Arts Council - Artist Fellowship in Music Improvisation - 2021
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Individual Artist Grant - 2018
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Individual Artist Grant - 2015
Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists 2013
New Music USA Composers Assistance Program – Recording Award 2011
Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant 2010
Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant 2009
Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant 2008

Recent artistic critical acclaim
Top 50 Favorite Albums of 2012 (all genres) by NPR Music
Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2012 by NPR’s A Blog Supreme
Top 10 Albums of 2012 by Chicago Tribune
4 1/2 Stars - Downbeat
4 1/2 Stars from All About Jazz August 2019
Rising Star Bassist according to Downbeat July 2019, 2022
Rising Star Composer according to Downbeat July 2017

”Coming on the heels of 2019's outstanding trio outing Wonderment (Woolgathering Records) with violinist Zach Brock and drummer Jon Deitemyer, 'Delicate Charms' is a four and a half star recording if ever one was.” - All About Jazz

“This is music of brisk intelligence with an almost off-putting abundance of composure...with frictionless access to great chunks of classical minimalism, atmospheric indie-rock, and harmonically astute post bob.” - New York Times

“'Delicate Charms' is gorgeous. Ulery’s unique vision of subtle grandiosity is let fly. It is texturally layered and emotionally swollen yet maintains a refined elegance; dense yet crystal-clear." - UK Vibe

"By the end of the album you'll realize this is Matt Ulery's harmonic world, and we just live in it." - 33Third (Best of 2019)

"However complex an Ulery composition is, its mellifluous melodicism ensures it communicates with immediacy.” - Textura (Best of 2019)

“With each release, Ulery’s vision grows and matures—making him one of the most intrepid and innovative contemporary musicians. The mellifluous and intricate 'Delicate Charms' is thought-provoking and charmingly sophisticated. It is novel, complex yet accessible, which, together with its singular style, are the makings of an instant classic.” - Chicago Jazz Magazine

“One of the most hauntingly beautiful recordings of this year — or any other. This magical, profoundly musical release embraces more aesthetic influences than one might have thought a cohesive recording could.” - Chicago Tribune

“A masterpiece of grand vision and soaring compositions.” - E-Music

“It’s an unselfconsciously beautiful, poignant, lavish double-cd suite and one of the best albums of the year.” - New York Music Daily

“'In the Ivory' is one of the glorious faces of musical diversity in the current scene.” - Pop Matters

“Listen to orchestrated jazz-pop music from a double album, 'In the Ivory' by Chicago-based bassist/composer Matt Ulery, featuring the chamber group Eighth Blackbird.” - WNYC New Sounds

“'In The Ivory' is an outstanding chamber jazz album, and it wants the whole world to know it” - Downbeat Magazine (Four-star star review)

“Once again, Ulery has produced a double album spotlighting more than a dozen jazz and classical players, his compositions at once radiantly lyrical and impeccably detailed, carefully crafted and subtly orchestrated. In the Ivory fulfills the promise of “By a Little Light,” establishing that Ulery was no one-hit wonder and that he still has a great deal to say in a chamber-jazz idiom of his own making.” - Chicago Tribune

“In the last few years Chicago bassist and composer Matt Ulery has emerged as one of the most sophisticated, prolific, and versatile figures in town, leading the postbop quintet Loom and composing elegant chamber music for a circle of musicians including members of Eighth Blackbird”  - Chicago Reader (preview)

“Ambitious in scope and meticulously composed, In The Ivory showcases Ulery’s ability to seamlessly weave together one memorable melody after another...” -Utne Reader

“Matt Ulery has begun to develop in a far different way than fellow bassists. Rather than being the time-keeping creator of contrapuntal lines, Ulery is emerging as a composer.” -Pittsburgh Tribune Review

“Matt Ulery continues to mature as a composer, arranger and musician – he’s a major talent and a singular voice.” - Step Tempest

“...flows with extravagant elegance, from the intimate chamberlike pieces to the beautiful vocal work to the heart-racing pulse of his minimalist compositions whose concentric phrases spin with giddy centrifugal force. - Chicago Reader

“In the Ivory is perhaps the fullest expression of Ulery’s aesthetic to date.” – Detroit Free Press

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