“Falling” Reunion Show @ Cornelia Street Café, Tuesday 9/8, 8:30pm

Guitarist/Composer David Ullmann returns to Cornelia Street Café, reuniting the band from his second album, Falling. The quintet will also perform brand new compositions written for the group.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
29 Cornelia St., Greenwich Village, NYC
David Ullmann – Guitar
Chris Dingman – Vibraphone
Karel Ruzicka Jr. – Sax
Vinnie Sperrazza – Drums
Gary Wang – Bass
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Best of 2014

2014 was a super busy year, and for me releasing Corduroy was one of the highlights. I’m so proud that the album ended up on a few year-end “best of” lists (see Notes on Jazz and Step Tempest). More recently it was recommended listening by Dave Sumner on Bird is the Worm, who calls it a “very fun album.”

David-in-DumboIn other important news, I moved to Brooklyn at the end of 2014! This is my first time living outside of Manhattan ever, so it’s a big change for me. But I’m really enjoying the new digs and biking over the Brooklyn Bridge on the daily. I’m also working on my in-home practice/studio space. Once I get settled in, I hope all these new surrounds will inspire my next album. More on that in the coming months…


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Short film “Sweating in the Night” now online

Check out this great short film I worked on earlier this year. It was directed by D.W. Young and co-written/starring Khan Baykal, and it premiered at the Northside Film Festival.

Watch Sweating in the Night.

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Corduroy is here!

I’m very excited to share my new album with The David Ullmann 8! Corduroy is now available online for preview and purchase. You can listen to a couple full tracks here, and read the latest reviews on my Press page. There’s also a great video by D.W. Young about the making of the album.

The Manhattan release show at Cornelia Street Café this Sunday was a blast, and we’re looking forward to doing it again at Barbès in Brooklyn this Thursday, August 28th. Here are a couple pics from Cornelia St.

David Ullmann 8 @ Cornelia Street Café

Setting up with The David Ullmann 8 @ Cornelia Street










The David Ullmann 8 playing @ Cornelia Street Café

The David Ullmann 8 playing @ Cornelia Street Café











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Brooklyn album release show at Barbès, August 28th

On Thursday, August 28th, The David Ullmann 8 plays at Barbès in Brooklyn for the release of my new album, Corduroy. See details here.

David Ullmann – Guitar
Deric Dickens – Drums
Chris Dingman – Vibraphone
Brian Drye – Trombone
Jonathan Finlayson – Trumpet
Chris Speed – Clarinet
Briggan Krauss – Alto Saxophone
Gary Wang – Bass

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Save the Date! Manhattan CD Release Show @ Cornelia Street Cafe, Aug. 24th

On Sunday, August 24th, the David Ullmann 8 plays Cornelia Street Cafe for the Manhattan release of my new album, Corduroy. See details here.

David Ullmann – Guitar
Deric Dickens – Drums
Chris Dingman – Vibraphone
Brian Drye – Trombone
Jonathan Finlayson – Trumpet
Chris Speed – Clarinet
Mike McGinnis – Alto Saxophone
Gary Wang – Bass

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Press Release for Guitarist-Composer David Ullmann’s Third Album, Corduroy

Guitarist-Composer David Ullmann’s Third Album, Corduroy,
Evokes the Bittersweet Melodicism of 70s TV Themes,
Brought to Life by Jazz Virtuosos

Ullmann’s Color-Rich New York Octet Features:
Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Brian Drye (trombone), Mike McGinnis (clarinet), Loren Stillman (saxophone), Chris Dingman (vibraphone), Gary Wang (bass) and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums)

“This guitarist weaves an intoxicating tale.” — DownBeat

David Ullmann – described as “a thoughtful guitarist and composer” by The New York Times – was beguiled by the buoyant lyricism of the TV theme tunes he grew up on as a child of the ’70s. To a lifelong New Yorker like Ullmann, these melodies are also imbued with a bittersweet nostalgia that he associates with the bygone Manhattan of his youth. With his third album as a leader – to be released August 26, 2014, via Little Sky Records – Ullmann aimed to evoke not the style but the feeling of that music, its addictive melodicism and air of wistfulness, hence the album’s title, Corduroy: “Like a smell or a sound, the feel of something can stir up memories,” he says. “Corduroy was big in the 70s, and just touching it, the texture can take me back.” To bring his pieces to vibrant life, Ullmann created ingenious arrangements for an octet of New York jazz virtuosos, who sound surprisingly at home in music often gentler and more lyrical than they are usually known for performing. Ullmann’s coloristic guitar complements the playing of Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Brian Drye (trombone), Mike McGinnis (clarinets), Loren Stillman (alto saxophone), Chris Dingman (vibraphone), Gary Wang (double-bass) and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums). The latter three also graced the quintet on Ullmann’s 2012 album, Falling, which Philadelphia City Paper praised for qualities it termed “contemplative” and “shimmering.”

Explaining the allure of that 70s feeling, Ullmann says: “The themes from the TV shows evoked more emotions in me than the shows themselves. I just loved the sound of ‘Angela’ from Taxi and ‘Suicide Is Painless’ from M.A.S.H. I also thought it was cool that the studio musicians who played these TV themes included jazz players – Bob James wrote the Taxi song and recorded it with guys like Eric Gale, Randy Brecker and Ron Carter. And Paul Desmond and Bill Evans covered the M.A.S.H. song.” The band Ullmann assembled for Corduroy consisted of top young performers on the New York jazz scene, many of whom are longtime collaborators. “There was a real sense of camaraderie in the studio, and the session was a lot better for it,” Ullmann says. “I think you can hear that warmth in the music – and that’s the whole idea.” Cornetist Kirk Knuffke agrees, saying: “It was a really fun session.”

If the subtle sounds of Jim Hall are a touchstone for Ullmann the guitarist, he looked to another guitar hero for inspiration arrangement-wise. “I love Bill Frisell’s larger-ensemble records – he creates such great textures on those records, with this ability to make wonderful, absorbing music out of simple forms,” Ullmann says. “With the band for Corduroy, I was going for a little big band sound. It doesn’t have that big band style, being more jazz-rock, with the rock influence coming from the ’70s singer-songwriter side of things. But there’s a richness texturally and harmonically to this octet that helps add depth to what are generally straightforward tunes.” The album is made up of pieces that are like “songs without words,” says clarinetist Mike McGinnis. Yet, as Knuffke points out, these “really well-written and nicely arranged” songs have enough room in them for the soloists to express themselves in their improvisations. Saxist Loren Stillman says, simply: “It makes me feel good to play this music.”

Corduroy opens with ‘The Chase,’ with Stillman’s serpentine sax lines giving off a snake-charming vibe before the track’s airy main melody takes hold and tunefully imaginative solos follow by Drye on trombone, McGinnis on clarinet and the composer on guitar. “I’m inspired by the way the guys in this octet play,” Ullmann says. “The music is so tonal and uncomplicated, really, that you get to hear them play in a style that you don’t normally – a real melodiousness comes out. Some of the solos are fantastic, like Kirk’s on ‘You Can’t Go Back.’ Then there is Mike’s Eric Dolphy-like bass clarinet on ‘Ocelot.’ Gary and Vinnie are great together, and the grooves they come up with and the way they listen to the soloists help shape the music. And Chris’s vibraphone took the music to another place. He doesn’t even solo on the closing track, ‘Moving On,’ but his vibes created a harmonic shimmer that helps bring out the dreamy, nostalgic element of the music. It sounds to me like the way an old Polaroid looks, which is a lot of what Corduroy is about.”

Watch the video about Recording Corduroy.

Originally posted on Fully Altered Media.

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New Video on Recording Corduroy with the David Ullmann 8

Left to right: Chris Dingman, Kirk Knuffke, Loren Stillman, Mike McGinnis, Vinnie Sperrazza, David Ullmann. Pic by Vincent Soyez.

I’m excited to share a new short video about the making of my third album, Corduroy, set to be released in late August 2014. The album features 7 phenomenal players (plus yours truly) from New York City. In this video produced by D.W. Young, six of us chat about how it was working together on Corduroy. Plus there’s a preview clip from one of our shows at Ibeam Brooklyn.

Check it out: Recording Corduroy


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Premiere of “Sweating in the Night” – June 17th, Northside Festival

"A young man revisits his past in search of the girl of his dreams. He finds her – and her psychopath boyfriend."

I’ve teamed up again with Director D.W. Young, this time to score the short film called “Sweating in the Night.” The movie premieres at the Northside Film Festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The first screenings are at Videology on June 17th and 18th, 9pm.

The soundtrack ranges from 80s dreamy synth to thrash. Twin Peaks was a big influence on the music for this one. Check it out.



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Review of Show at I-Beam in Brookyln, July 13th

Thanks to MacDuffNYC for this great review of our recent show at I-Beam:

“The Octet deftly avoided all the traps of a mash-up. This is largely due to the high level of musicianship exhibited by the players, but also because each song possesses a true and organic kind of integrity. The feel was swing, the groove felt familiar, but there was an intangible kind of magic in the fresh and contemporary way they played.”


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