“Wicked. Jazz musicians aren’t supposed to write lyrics that good… Bands like this are why you move to New York.”
– THE VILLAGE VOICE
“A present day ironist with a prewar (first world war that is) heart”
– THE NEW YORKER
“recalls a time when instrumental virtuosity, harmonic sophistication, bucolic storysongs, and a straightforward emotional delivery were not mutually exclusive”
– ACOUSTIC GUITAR
It’s a daunting task, this business of encapsulating Matt Munisteri’s musical self. As the sparkling guitarist on several chart-topping jazz CDs; a critically lauded songwriter and nimble lyricist; an urban banjo-warrior and a sometime session musician; a selfless and devoted sideman; a wry-yet-honest singer; an engaging and winning front-man; and an arranger whose ear-pulling re-inventions of well-traveled songs have contributed to Grammy winning CDs for artists such as Loudon Wainwright and Catherine Russell, Matt’s various dueling career paths might at first seem difficult to reconcile. Additionally you’d be hard-pressed to find another Brooklyn native who grew up playing bluegrass banjo since he was in the single digits; who has recorded with artists as divergent as consummate jazz balladeer “Little” Jimmy Scott and 1980’s avante-noise godfather Glenn Branca; who is regarded as a contemporary master of 1920’s and ’30’s jazz styles, and is an ardent student of American folk traditions, but counts among his regular creative cohorts several musicians associated with the New York Downtown music world. Yet ultimately Matt’s journey through 20th century American music yields a vision which feels intrinsically whole, with his own music always serving as one-of-a-kind reflection of a life immersed in all the far-flung variants of American Popular Song. Maybe it’s easier to say that whatever he’s currently up to, it will be a living reconciliation of rural and urban, long-gone and contemporary, individual experience and canonized scripture.
With Danton Boller on bass and Ben Perowsky