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Matt Ulery’s Loom/Large: Festival

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Taken separately, any of Matt Ulery’s compositions on Festival would be fine work, worth exploring in depth and on repeat. Taken together, they’re exhausting. Ulery, also a bassist and tubist, is a writer of considerable skill and even more ambition; Festival has so much going on that it very quickly overwhelms.

Divided into three parts, the disc begins with two extended compositions for a 27-piece orchestra (“Large”), including a full violin section. Paradoxically, these large-scale pieces are the least taxing, because they’re (a) what you would expect given the context, and (b) first. Ulery’s arrangement of Jimmy Rowles’ “The Peacocks” is dramatic and sexy, with stately piano and a formidable violin solo by Zach Brock. Ulery’s “Hubble” has an equally stirring arrangement with another Brock jewel and beauty in its melodies. Note the plural: There are many themes in “Hubble,” foreshadowing the shorter pieces.

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