Matt Ulery • Pollinator

Nothing about this album looks like something we would normally cover. It's modern in appearance, has a full marketing team behind it, is a likely favorite at the main stream jazz publications, and few, if any, of the musicians featured have been mentioned in The Syncopated Times before. And yet. The description on the digital press release was enough to spark my interest and spare it from an immediate delete. King Oliver and Lil Hardin are not frequently invoked in main stream jazz releases! Then Andy Senior, our publisher, received a hard copy by mail and gave it his own endorsement, "this is interesting." Pollinator by Matt Ulery is very much interesting, and also quite good. It's his tenth album, and on it Ulery wanted to mark the centennial of the 1920s and all that meant for jazz with new compositions that drew on the New Orleans and Chicago sounds of that decade. A well know bassist, Ulery plays sousaphone on this record in a sexted including trumpet, sax, trombone, piano, and drums for a deep rhythmic feel. I would compare the results positively to recent efforts at capturing the decade by Wynton and Branford Marsalis for biopic soundtracks. In fact if you enjoyed the material on either the Bolden or Ma Rainey's Black Bottom soundtracks you will absolutely love this album. Even if you found those efforts a bit too smooth and lacking a certain something you may find th
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