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Tall Tales

by Jon Deitemyer

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How does someone that supports the introspective lyricism of Patricia Barber, the epic whimsy of Matt Ulery, and the modern virtuosity of Zach Brock funnel his musical life into one coherent original album? Tall Tales is the unique manifestation of drummer/composer Jon Deitemyer's genre wanderlust, and it represents a compact of sorts; an attempt to merge the restless creativity of instrumental jazz with the clarity and sincerity of lyrical song-writing. "I have the good fortune to interpret other people's music so often as a sideman," says Deitemyer, "and the time came for me to prioritize those disparate experiences into something personal; something akin to spinning a yarn for friends."

He invited his long-running musical collaborators to create the sympathetic and creative force that drives Tall Tales in the prolific bassist Matt Ulery and the imaginative pianist Rob Clearfield. The trio fuels Matt Ulery's Loom, Grazyna Auguscik's band, and Russ Johnson's quartet, and plays with the uncanny familiarity that emerges only after years of mutual aspiration. Jon continues, “Matt, Rob, and I began playing together about a decade ago, and the appeal for me was immediate. Rob plays with such beautiful vulnerability; he’s never afraid to bare his soul for the sake of the music. And in short, Matt is my musical brother. There is a level of wordless trust between us that I find rare in life, let alone music.”

Tall Tales required more than the aforementioned trio to fulfill its promise, and Leslie Beukelman was the immediate choice as the album’s vocalist. Leslie has long been respected for her gorgeous voice and sublime delivery, whether in Miss Remember, the Oh Yeahs, or her own project Brite Lite. But on Tall Tales she manages to effortlessly shift between roles: from the patient sensitivity of “Midnight Guide” to the wordless post-bop melodies of “Stretch,” Leslie fully embraces each musical offering.

Rounding out the ensemble is the inimitable Justin Thomas, who injects every composition with his singular brand of sly virtuosity. Justin is fast becoming known to the larger jazz community through his work with Marquis Hill, Dana Hall, and Dee Alexander. “I have admired Justin’s playing for so long,” remarks Deitemyer. “As a drummer I am always drawn to musicians with a highly-developed rhythmic concept, and Justin is the quintessential example of just that. He has a ferocity to his improvising that raises up the band around him.”

The music on Tall Tales covers a wide swath of emotional territory. Songs such as "Deep Breath" and "Gratitude" blend the narrative qualities of a pop song with energetic improvisation. Justin brings a bit of odd-metered funkiness to “Fifteen”, while Rob imbues "A Little South" with his gospel-tinged touch. "I wanted to write and create an album that felt transparent," Deitemyer continues, "so often instrumental jazz is rewarding but in a sort of vague way, and I sought to translate the joy I feel playing music into a more literal message for the listener."

Previous Press:

"Anyone who has admired the music of vocalists Patricia Barber and Grazyna Auguscik, bassist-bandleader Matt Ulery and many other major Chicago figures likely has heard Deitemyer at the drums. He provides remarkably flexible, empathetic accompaniment in all these settings, his playing generally light, lithe and keenly responsive to the music around him." - Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

"One must listen to how gracefully all the elements come together on ‘Over Under Other’ and take into account the various ways that Deitemyer influences the pace and intensity of the music." - Richard Kamins

“Jon Deitemyer is the drummer everyone wants right now.” - Patricia Barber

“Jon Deitemyer has earned a reputation as a must-hear drummer and doesn't disappoint” - Tim Gault, Chicago

"Deitemyer exhibits his elegant and reserved touch with the quiet whispers of the brushes... anchoring the group's orchestral sounds." - Hrayr Attarian,


released July 8, 2016


Jon Deitemyer - drums/compositions (Matt Ulery’s Loom, Patricia Barber Quartet, Zach Brock, Phil Markowitz, Grazyna Auguscik, Chris Siebold’s Psycles, Matthew Santos)

Leslie Beukelman - voice (Brite Lite, Miss Remember, The Oh Yeahs, Hey Champ)

Rob Clearfield - piano/Wurlitzer (Fareed Haque, Matt Ulery’s Loom, Grazyna Auguscik, Hood Smoke, Outertown)

Matt Ulery - acoustic bass (Loom, In Tall Buildings, Zach Brock, Phil Markowitz, Goran Ivanovic, Grazyna Auguscik, Jimmy Chamberlin)

Justin Thomas - vibraphone (Marquis Hill, Dana Hall, Ludacris, Corey Wilkes, Dee Alexander)

Recorded at Transient Sound by Vijay Tellis-Nayak in Chicago, IL USA
Mixed and Mastered by Brian Schwab in Chicago, IL USA
Production and editing assistance by Paul Mutzabaugh
Album artwork and layout by Federico Maksimiuk



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Jon Deitemyer Chicago, Illinois

Patricia Barber raves "Jon Deitemyer is the drummer everyone wants right now". Jon shares the stage with folks like Patricia Barber, Matt Ulery, Zach Brock, Grazyna Auguscik, Phil Markowitz, Ben Paterson, Philip Dizack, Lynne Arriale, Russ Johnson, and countless others. ... more

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Track Name: Deep Breath
"Deep Breath"

A yellowed photograph beside the tiny jar of sand
A brittle card, please disregard the old address
A blackened coffee mug, a drip onto the faded rug
The scent remains, come wind or rain, and permeates

A violet dried to blue, it rests between a page or two
of loving notes and inside jokes that once were shared
A lovely silver chain most often worn with joy not pain
A gift from him, the metal dim, reflecting less now

They say that envy's green, this feeling might be in between
that angry ire, that strange desire and so remains
The orange candlelight delays the dark and quiet of night
These memories, I'll take more please, I'll take more please
Track Name: Midnight Guide
"Midnight Guide"

The light dissolves into the fog of evening
and though our steps have slowed we move with patient ease
Our words are spent, our laughter sent home yawning
and every face displays a languid sense of peace

Our minds are prone to fits of worry
fearful angst and anxious hurry
time that once felt free and lasting left us suddenly
all the while we missed you

Softly softly, Gently gently, waiting

We inch away soothed by the sway and rumble
of humming streets that we discreetly occupy
the world unfolds, we're feeling bold but humble
as though this life could be expressed in one long sigh

Home is not our destination
you have sensed some fascination
darkness has obscured the sights my eyes so long to see
so you gladly guide me

Softly softly, Gently gently, waiting

A midnight guide, a silent ride beside you
who doesn't mind a moment spared in sanctity
this well trod land shown by your hand feels brand new
a lovely moment now retired to memory

Your warmth was somehow never ending
the world your garden ripe for tending
I in contrast small and scattered, racing helpessly
so with you in mind I'm

Softly softly, Gently gently, waiting
Track Name: Gratitude

Is there a choice that you've made that still haunts you
a sliver stuck in flesh that stubbornly remains
Was it a love let go, a place you know
is there a life being lived without you

And is this nagging regret tough to see through
a scar within your soul whose ache it still retains
Was it a sense of fear that left you here
is there a life being lived without you

If it's true that something's lost now
and you still don't understand how
realize that you've been led astray
take a breath and say

All that I am can't be distilled, born or killed
so rather than bemoan a life that's flown I'll live in gratitude
Track Name: Idle

Oh me, oh my, where has the time gone time gone
and would anyone mind if I just rest my eyes
then I'll just rest my eyes

What is one hour, just one more our time can wait
as the shadows slyly creep across the floor, greedily
wanting more, demanding more and more
until the evening wins another day
Another day, come and gone, I just
may start anew, let it go, that's ok(ay)
(A)nother day, come and gone, I just
may start anew, let time slip away