Love Story is the debut CD by Matt Munisteri and BROCK MUMFORD. In 2000, after years as a very busy sideman in New York ("Little" Jimmy Scott,The Flying Neutrinos, The Moonlighters, Vince Giordanos Nighthawks)guitarist Munisteri was able to recruit some of his favorite players for a band that would allow for both elegantly constructed songs and mature improvisation. And above all would serve to create material that was true to his time and experience, without beating the easy retreat into retro cliché, haphazard ironic pastiche, or faux-folksy hokum. Brock Mumford is the end result, and the band's music sounds like a wistful trip back to a long forgotten era in American popular music that hasn't even happened yet.
As almost assuredly the only nine-year-old bluegrass banjo player on his Brooklyn block, Matt Munisteri grew up devoted both to his skills as an instrumentalist and to the world of songs around him. The music of The Beatles, Hoagy Carmichael, Randy Newman, Cole Porter, and The Band were as present in his home as his own cherished Bill Monroe, and Ralph Stanley records. Munisteri's unique synthesis is evident in his remarkable homespun guitar technique; his "high lonesome" jazz singing; the easy-going command of language present in his lyrics; and the relaxed, winking irreverence and sly humor that lace his on-stage narratives.
Long time devotion, a sense of fun, and a strong musical voice are shared by the musicians who make up BROCK MUMFORD. New York's most in demand accordionist Will Holshouser brings his rootsy integration of Parisian musette and experimental music. Jon-Erik Kellso is at the peak of his powers as the most widely acclaimed traditional jazz trumpet player of his generation, but in BROCK he tilts his hand to reveal the bracing ideas, musical ears and attitude that got him there. Bassist Jim Whitney has anchored bluegrass stalwarts like Peter Rowan, and learned about pushing the limits with Andy Statman, and The Walter Thompson Orchestra. The newest guy in town, drummer Quincy Davis, amply demonstrates on Love Story why he's sought after by such leaders as Tom Harrell and Benny Green.
In BROCK MUMFORD all five have found a place for the hard-won individual voice of the soloist that doesn't pander to specific concepts of past eras. Neither rural nor urban, modern nor "antiqued", they're making it up as they go along, with no self-conscious attempts at fusing disparate styles. In doing so, their music serves to evoke the quiet dignity that rich harmonies and poignant lyricism once held in the American popular song.