- “TOO GOOD TO IGNORE”: THE EarRegulars REVIVE MANHATTAN: JON-ERIK KELLSO, MATT MUNISTERI, SCOTT ROBINSON, PAT O’LEARY (Outside THE EAR INN, May 2, 2021)
- SKIP THE MASS-PRODUCED MOTHER’S DAY DINNER AND BRING MOM HERE FOR BOTTOMLESS SERVINGS OF JOY (The EarRegulars Return — Outside — to The Ear Inn!)
- “THE REBECCA KILGORE TRIO, Vol. 1”: REBECCA KILGORE, RANDY PORTER, TOM WAKELING, and DICK TITTERINGTON (Heavywood Records)
- COMING SOON, A SECOND MARTY PARTY! (MARTY GROSZ, DANNY TOBIAS, VINCE GIORDANO, JACK SAINT CLAIR: Awlbury Arboretum, Germantown, Philadelphia, May 26, 2021)
- JOAN MAR SAUQUÉ’S BRIGHT SOUNDS: “GONE WITH THE WIND”
- A HALF-HOUR WITH BING (JOE BUSHKIN, MILT HINTON, HERB ELLIS, and JAKE HANNA: Uris Theatre, December 7-19, 1976)
- SUNDAY NIGHTS AT 326 SPRING STREET (Part Forty-Seven) — WE NEED SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: SESSIONS AT THE EAR INN, featuring The EarRegulars (2007 – the Future)
- CENTRAL HEATING: KEITH NICHOLS, SPATS LANGHAM, RICO TOMASSO, THOMAS WINTELER, ALISTAIR ALLAN, PHIL RUTHERFORD, RICHARD PITE (Mike Durham Classic Jazz Party, November 4, 2016)
- A PORK CHOP IS A GOLD BRICK NOW, or THE BROADCAST IS ENDED, BUT HOT LIPS PAGE LINGERS ON (with Tommy O’Brien’s Ragtime Band, January 19, 1948)
- BLOWINGLY, 1948
- ISLANDS OF WISTFUL CALM: TEDDY WILSON ASKS COLE PORTER’S QUESTION
- “THE SHEIK OF ARABY”: BARNEY BIGARD, KENNY DAVERN, BOB WILBER, EDDIE DANIELS, DICK HYMAN, JACK SEWING, J.C. HEARD (Grande Parade du Jazz, July 15, 1977)
- MAXINE’S BOUQUET OF SONG: MAXINE SULLIVAN, DILL JONES, CONNIE JONES, SPENCER CLARK, CLIFF LEEMAN, VAN PERRY, BUTCH HALL (Manassas Jazz Festival, December 6, 1980)
- SUNDAY NIGHTS AT 326 SPRING STREET (Part Forty-Six) — WE NEED SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: SESSIONS AT THE EAR INN, featuring The EarRegulars (2007 – the Future)
- GLENN MILLER’S “UPTOWN HALL GANG” on the RADIO: MEL POWELL, PEANUTS HUCKO, BERNIE PRVIN, DINAH SHORE, NAT PECK, LARRY HALL, CARMEN MASTREN, TRIGGER ALPERT, RAY McKINLEY (England, 1944)
- GET READY FOR THE BIG PARADE: “COUNTERMELODY”: EVAN ARNTZEN with CHARLIE HALLORAN, JON-ERIK KELLSO, MIKE DAVIS, ARNT ARNTZEN, DALTON RIDENHOUR, TAL RONEN, MARK McLEAN, CATHERINE RUSSELL (October 2-3, 2020)
- “SHELLAC IN THE VINEYARDS,” or A NOTE FROM TONY BALDWIN, April 22, 2021
- REMEMBERING KENNY (Part Three): Words by EDWARD MEYER. Music by KENNY DAVERN, WALLACE DAVENPORT, FREDDY LONZO, ORANGE KELLIN, OLIVIA COOK, FRANK FIELDS, FREDDIE KOHLMAN (Nice Jazz Festival, June 10, 1978)
- FOUR KINDS OF RADIANCE: JON-ERIK KELLSO, JOHN ALLRED, MATT MUNISTERI, TAL RONEN at CAFE BOHEMIA (January 16, 2020)
- “GOOD OLD GOOD ONES” at MANASSAS: BILLY BUTTERFIELD, PEE WEE ERWIN, LARRY EANET, SPENCER CLARK, BUTCH HALL, PAUL LANGOSCH, BARRETT DEEMS (February 6, 1980)
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Tag Archives: Rachelle Garniez
OUT OF THE CRADLE, ENDLESSLY ROCKING: MATT MUNISTERI at CORNELIA STREET CAFE (MATT RAY, DANTON BOLLER, Oct. 3, 2013)
More evidence of what everyone should know: that guitarist / singer / composer / arranger Matt Munisteri is blazingly yet subtly inventive in many kinds of music, transforming everything he touches into something sharp and new yet always full of the deepest human spirit.
Here he is with bassist Danton Boller and pianist Matt Ray at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City on October 3, 2013.
Much of the music performed that night was composed by Willard Robison — someone who, like Matt, turns a satiric eye on our rush to delude ourselves while offering us comfort in his melodies and hope that happiness and enlightenment are possible.
But the show wasn’t an archivist’s self-indulgence immersion in “the old stuff,” reproduced exactly from aged discs and crumbling pages.
Matt is far too imaginative for that, so each of the Robison songs was like a jewel in a new setting: I knew the melodies, but thought, “Wow! I have really never heard that song before.”
The same was true for Nick Lucas’ PICKIN’ THE GUITAR, reminding us how brilliantly Matt plays that much-abused instrument. The Sammy Cahn-Saul Chaplin GET ACQUAINTED WITH YOURSELF (which we usually associate with Willie “the Lion” Smith and O’Neil Spencer) receives a sharp modernist edge thanks to the new lyrics from Rachelle Garniez and Matt.
Matt was beautifully and wittily accompanied by pianist Matt and bassist Danton. They swung and provided just-right commentaries and eloquent solos: this wasn’t three musicians together for the night behind their music stands, but a true band, a conversation among equals, rocking us towards deeper insights.
(WE’LL HAVE A NEW HOME) IN THE MORNING:
COUNTRY BOY BLUES:
GET ACQUAINTED WITH YOURSELF:
PICKIN’ THE GUITAR:
STILL RUNNIN’ ROUND IN THE WILDERNESS:
I HEARD A MOCKING BIRD SINGING IN CALIFORNIA:
‘T’AIN’T SO, HONEY, ‘T’AIN’T SO:
Walt Whitman would have approved: Matt’s spirit is expansive, fluid, encompassing us all.
May your happiness increase!
I know that I am not the only person who has been waiting for the first CD to document Matt Munisteri’s heartfelt study of composer Willard Robison’s music. The disc is finally here — STILL RUNNIN’ ROUND IN THE WILDERNESS: THE LOST MUSIC OF WILLARD ROBISON, VOLUME ONE. To listen to tracks from this disc, please click here. But we now have an occasion where all the pieces come into delightful alignment: a CD release show at Joe’s Pub in New York City on July 10, 2012, beginning at 7:30 PM. Matt will be joined by Matt Ray, piano; Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Danton Boller, bass; Mark McLean, drums.
I’ll have more to say about the CD itself — one of the most rewarding efforts I have on my shelves — but here’s Matt on Robison:
During the mid 1920′s Willard Robison was working as a pianist and arranger with many of the stars of the new jazz vanguard when he went into the studio and recorded a string of startling recordings which almost certainly made him the prototype for the American 20th century’s most abundant and everlasting artistic archetype: The singer/songwriter. Before the deluge – before there was Hoagy, or Johnny Mercer, or Randy Newman, or Mose Allison, or Brian Wilson, or Van Dyke Parks – Willard Robison wrote, orchestrated, conducted, and sang his own utterly unclassifiable music and lyrics in a series of pioneering and timeless recordings between 1924 and 1930. His songs told of odd rural loners, wild open landscapes, revival camp meetings, preachers, and the devil (always the devil) and employed a complex and surprising harmonic and melodic language which, while referencing the new jazz – along with classical, ragtime, blues, and even old time country music – emerged at once as a fully realized and completely original American voice.
Yet, in the years since 1930, and in the 42 years since Robison’s death, not one of these ground-breaking recordings has ever been re-issued after its initial release as a 78 record. Robison is virtually alone among seminal and much-recorded American musical innovators: the LP era passed him by; the CD era passed him by; the digital download era has thus-far passed him by. As Robison slipped deeper into alcoholism and an increasingly itinerant life the big companies who owned his music subsequently shelved these strange “unmarketable” works to the vaults, where they remain to this day. But this could soon change, and Matt Munisteri’s new CD “Still Runnin’ ‘Round in The Wilderness” may prove a catalyst for a long overdue interest in this timeless body of work.
Lauded for his fiery guitar chops, literate humor, and “pre-war heart” (The New Yorker), the likewise unclassifiable ace guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Matt Munisteri has spent over a decade hunting down, transcribing, and performing these lost masterworks, refracting them through his own individual prism of 20th century American music. In the process he has not only finally brought these tunes to light, but has imbued them with an organic and riveting beauty in which jazz improvisation, folk traditions, and popular song co-mingle.
Matt Munisteri has worked with many notables across the jazz and roots-music spectrum, including Mark O’Connor, Steven Bernstein, Loudon Wainwright, Jenny Scheinman, “Little” Jimmy Scott, Catherine Russell, and Geoff Muldaur. His 2003 release “Love Story” won the number two slot in Amazon’s Best Jazz CDs of The Year. Recognizing a rare kindred spirit, Munisteri became obsessed with Robison’s music around 2000, and the hunt for old 78s, worn tapes, acetates, and sheet music over the past decade has produced as many remarkable stories as the songs themselves tell. With a crew of top NYC musicians he has re-imagined Robison’s songs, culled from their original recordings, as a body of work rightfully freed from the trappings of era or idiom.
The music was recorded live over two days, with all the musicians in a 15X18 foot room, with no isolation by John Kilgore – this is truly “Live” live, with nowhere to hide, and the resultant interplay among these master improvisers is the listener’s gain. The musicians include: Matt Munisteri – guitar, vocals, banjo; Ben Perowsky – drums; Danton Boller – bass; Matt Ray – piano; Scott Robinson – C melody sax, clarinet; Jon-Erik Kellso – trumpet; Will Holshouser – accordion; Rachelle Garniez – guest vocals.
What Matt has done with and for Robison’s music is startlingly rewarding. It would have been one thing for him to consider his role as musical archivist only: find the obscure sheet music and 78s, and present them, either as cleaned-up copies of the original discs OR as reverent recreations in 2012 by musicians interpreting Robison as if he were Dvorak.
That in itself would have been a splendid project, because listeners like myself would have been able to hear Robison songs they didn’t know (in addition to the “famous” ones: A COTTAGE FOR SALE; T’AIN’T SO, HONEY, T’AIN’T SO; LITTLE HIGH CHAIRMAN). But Matt knows that archival reverence has its limitations, so both the CD and his live performances have successfully gotten at the heart of Robison’s music creatively. Another artist’s deference to “the material” might have made it seem distant — museum pieces behind glass. Munisteri’s Robison, imbued with the force of two strong personalities, comes into the room and demands our attention. Now.
I know that “re-imagining” makes some listeners nervous: will the original music that they know be stretched out of shape by artists eager to impose their own personalities on it? Will SUNSET CAFE STOMP reappear to a samba beat with sampling?
Matt’s imagination is deep but nothing of the sort has happened here. What he has done is to present Robison’s music through his own lens — wry, soulful, amused, sad — presenting it by singing and playing, alone and with congenial musicians. The result is a new window into a series of intriguing worlds, where ethical truths are offered with sly wit, where deep feelings have sharp edges. The CD is masterful and repeated playings have only shown me its expanding vistas. And I’ve learned so much about Robison from Matt’s incisive writing in the notes.
I propose that anyone who can go to the show and buy the CD: both will be rewarding experiences. And if we send out the right sympathetic vibrations, perhaps Volume Two will follow soon.
May your happiness increase.
No, this post isn’t about Benny Goodman’s 1928 recording — although that record does deserve to be celebrated. Rather, it’s about a jazz immersion because of what my college calls “Presidents’ Week” — the Monday holiday stretching into a full week to follow the public school calendar.
What that means for me (and the Beloved) is a wonderful chance to hear four live jazz sessions.
Sunday night I went to the Ear Inn, newly lit and full of people celebrating that they, too, didn’t have to get up early the next morning. The EarRegulars were there in stellar form: Jon-Erik Kellso and Matt Munisteri, with their inspiring friends Scott Robinson and Greg Cohen. I was sitting three feet from Greg’s bass, and it was a transforming experience: the rhythm shot through me all night long. And Scott — the mysterious shape-changer of jazz, who finds a new self whenever he picks up a different horn — was in a happy groove from the opening notes of WEARY BLUES. (Scott had brought his tenor, a cornet — I couldn’t see if it was his fabled echo cornet) and his sopranino sax. In the second set, Rachelle Garniez sat in with her Hohner claviola, Ted G (we couldn’t figure out his last name) brought his Maccaferri guitar, and Lucy, sixteen years old, sat in on trumpet. As they used to say in the society pages of small-town newspapers, “a good time was had by all.”
Last night I went to Banjo Jim’s to catch a return appearance of the Cangelosi Cards with their guest star Sam Parkins, who had brought “his Klarinette.” If you want to get the flavor of that evening, I’ve posted clips from their last jam session on “LIGHTNING IN THE DARKNESS.” It was a smaller hand of Cards — Tamar Korn, Jake Sanders, Karl Meyer, Marcus Millius, Gordon Webster, and Cassidy Holden (who uses gut strings on his bass — as the great players of the Swing Era did). The joint rocked: Tamar sang the blues and ALL OF ME; the Cards turned into a gypsy /tango band with NUAGES, MINOR SWING, and their own line on LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME. Heady stuff!
Tonight, the Beloved and I are going to the 8 PM show at Iridium to hear Barbara Rosene and her New Yorkers. Enough said! Barbara will sparkle and move us, and the New Yorkers include Jon-Erik, Michael Hashim, Conal Fowkes, Matt Szemela, Doug Largent, and Kevin Dorn — fine players and fine friends.
And (if that weren’t enough) we’re going downtown on Thursday for the 36th Anniversary HIGHLIGHTS IN JAZZ concert, featuring David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Centennial Band (or the Gully Low Jazz Band, what you will) — Jon-Erik, Wycliffe Gordon, Anat Cohen, Mark Shane, David himself, and Kevin Dorn. Jack Kleinsinger’s concerts are always models of jazz generosity, and this one includes a pair of raw recruits named Joe Wilder and Dick Hyman.
Yes, I still have to grade two more sets of student essays, but I would call this A JAZZ HOLIDAY. Wouldn’t you? And I haven’t even mentioned the Gully Low Jazz Band’s regular Birdland gig on Wednesday and a midday solo piano outing for Hyman at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in midtown.
New Yorkers are lucky to live in this time and place, the economy notwithstanding. Go and hear some live jazz, even if you don’t have the week off.