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Matt Munisteri


Matt Munisteri has spent the last 10 years singing his original songs, while working a pretty dreamy day job as a virtuosic and in-demand guitarist with a wide-ranging roster of notable artists across the jazz and American-roots spectrum. His own music reflects a life-long devotion to the history of American Popular song and it demonstrates a unique synthesis of rural and urban, long-gone and contemporary. While Matt's performances are full of improvisation, swing and risk, the integrity of songs themselves remain the most vital part, and this has resulted in one recent concert attendee declaring "I guess it's jazz - but it's the kind of jazz that people like!"

He’s been compared to Randy Newman, Mose Allison, and Bob Dorough, has lead The Village Voice to comment that “jazz musicians aren’t supposed to be able to write lyrics that good.” Matt’s original songs employ a literate humor, a sophisticated harmonic language, and a decidedly rural and earthy take on improvisation - reflecting a bebop young adulthood, a bookish youth, and a bluegrass-banjo-abusing childhood.

As one of New York’s “top vintage guitar stylists” (Downbeat Magazine) Matt regularly works with violinist Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing; Trumpeter Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra; and the singers Catherine Russell, Rachelle Garniez, and Kat Edmonson. He’s played on over fifty CDs , including recent releases by Holly Cole, “Little” Jimmy Scott, and Madeline Peyroux. In 2010 Matt worked as a guitarist, banjoist and arranger on Loudon Wainwright’s Grammy-winning CD “High, Wide, and Handsome” and currently is the guitarist and music director for the trio of Grammy-winning singer Catherine Russell.

Matt’s debut CD Love Story wound up on many critics' "Best Of " lists, winning the number two slot on Amazon’s Top Ten Jazz CD of 2003. His newest CD, Still Runnin’ ‘Round in the Wilderness will be released in the Spring of 2012. It's an exploration of the music of the largely forgotten composer Willard Robison, who emerged in the 1920's as an early prototype of the American-Singer-Songwriter. Matt recognized a kindred spirit in Robison, and spent the better part of a decade hunting down these very rare original recordings, transcribing the music from damaged 78 records, and bringing these beautiful and genre-defying songs to life.

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