Matt MunisteriArtistic Curator, Red Hot StringsRed Hot Strings
Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and Brooklyn native Matt Munisteri grew up with early interest in American folk music that led him from finger-style Country and Ragtime guitar, through Blues, to Tin Pan Alley and Jazz. His own compositions, and lauded guitar playing, accurately reflect this life-long immersion in the history of American Popular Song; linking rural and urban, long-gone with contemporary. As one of “New York’s finest vintage guitar stylists” (Downbeat Magazine), Matt is regularly called upon to play on a wide range of CDs, movie soundtracks, television shows, and commercials. He’s also worked with a wide range of artists in the studio and on the road. Over the past decade he’s worked regularly with violinist Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing, Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra, and the singer Catherine Russell, in whose trio he is the guitarist and music director. A sought-after accompanist, Matt has recorded with many of today’s most individual singers, including Holly Cole, Madeline Peyroux, Liz Wright, “Little” Jimmy Scott, Geoff Muldaur, Sasha Dobson, Catherine Russell, Kat Edmonson, and Loudon Wainwright. In addition to arranging for his own bands Matt has contributed arrangements to 5 of Catherine Russell’s CDs, and to Wainwright’s 2010 Grammy-winning CD “Hight Wide and Handsome – The Charlie Poole Project.” In 2014 he was a co-producer of his friend Julian Lage’s debut solo guitar CD “World’s Fair”. Matt has played every one of Carnegie’s Halls, but on the rare occasions that he’s not on the road, Sunday evenings find him crammed into a dim corner of a tiny watering hole on Manhattan’s lower west side, playing music with cherished musicians and friends as The EarRegulars.
Matt is a sparkling guitarist on several chart-topping jazz CDs; a 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 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 one-of-a-kind reflection of a life immersed in all the far-flung variants of American Popular Song.