Matt Munisteri Bio
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Matt Munisteri is a Brooklyn native who grew up as almost assuredly the only bluegrass banjo player on his block. His lifelong interest in 20 century American music led him from finger-style Country and Ragtime guitar, through Blues, to Tin Pan Alley and Jazz. His own music reflects this life-long devotion to the history of American Popular song and demonstrates a unique synthesis of rural and urban, long-gone and contemporary.
Matt’s debut CD “Love Story” wound up on many critics' "Best Of " lists – including garnering the number two slot on Amazon’s Top Ten Jazz CDs of The Year. A formidable lyricist (“Jazz musicians aren’t supposed to be able to write lyrics that good” – The Village Voice) his literate songs have been compared to Randy Newman, Mose Allison and Bob Dorough. Matt has been featured on France's ARTE television, profiled in Downbeat magazine, honored with Acoustic Guitar magazine’s Editor's Choice award, and has been written about in The New Yorker and The Village Voice.
Despite a lack of formal training Matt has a dreamy but demanding day job as a freewheeling and virtuosic guitarist, which has him regularly working with noted artists across the jazz and American roots music spectrum. Over the last year he’s been playing concerts and festivals with violinist Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing, Steven Bernstein’s “downtown super group” The Millennial Territory Orchestra, and the singer Catherine Russell, for whom he also serves as Music Director.
Though a stunning soloist, Matt has always had a primary interest in song, and his skills as an accompanist and interpreter have lead to calls to record with many of today’s finest and most individual singers, including Holly Cole, Madeline Peyroux, Liz Wright, “Little” Jimmy Scott, Geoff Muldaur, Sasha Dobson, and most recently Kat Edmondson. Matt contributed arrangements, guitar, and banjo to Loudon Wainwright's 2010 Grammy-winning CD "High Wide and Handsome - The Charlie Poole Project,” and is credited on over 70 CDs, including new releases by Wycliffe Gordon, and Howard Alden. Matt has played concerts with The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Kenny Davern; Andy Stein; Matt Glaser; Tim Kliphuis; Vince Giordano's Nighthawks; Frank Vignola; Jenny Scheinman; Rachelle Garniez; Jon-Erik Kellso; Julian Lage; Evan Christopher; Bob Wilbur; Bucky Pizzarelli; and Dick Hyman.
July 2012 will see the release of “Still Runnin’ Round In The Wilderness”, Volume I of his explorations of the “lost” compositions of the under-recognized but prototypical American singer-songwriter Willard Robison. For the last few years Matt has been developing these overlooked gems, after finding the only source materials on 78 records, and has performed his re-imaginings in concerts at MassMoCA, MoMA, Celebrate Brooklyn, and a 2012 SXSW official showcase. Matt is a featured performer on several other upcoming 2012 releases, including his own “Live in Italy” with his band Brock Mumford, and “Hell Among the Hedgehogs”, a smoking hot twin guitar project with Hot Club of Cowtown’s Whit Smith.