The music of Matt Munisteri, who is from Brooklyn, N.Y., was selling all the way over in Boise, Idaho.The Record Exchange, managed by Boise’s John O’Neil, continuously filled orders for the guitar-playing, singer-songwriter. One day, a sale went to musician Curtis Stigers, which led Munisteri to a show Saturday in McCall, Idaho.
Stigers is the host of the McCall Jazz Festival, as well as a jazz singer, who stumbled upon Munisteri and booked him for the festival. Stigers and Munisteri even recorded together this summer for Stigers’ new album out in 2014.
“I’m a singer and I write songs and I play guitar, but I’m kind of lucky, because my day job is playing guitar with people,” Munisteri said. “I do everything from a session musician on people’s records to movie and television soundtracks and commercials.”
He plays early jazz, funk and electric guitar riffs. He sings – and even plays – acoustic bluegrass music.
Munisteri attributes his musical passion to a childhood full of Sunday family singalongs after dinnertime, not necessarily his religious studies degree he earned from Brown University.
“I wound up getting more serious about it after college,” he said about his guitar playing.
Munisteri has collaborated on and recorded multiple albums in the past year, including a live CD in Italy, which is due out at the end of 2013. A two-guitar CD was released last year, after he recorded with Whit Smith for an instrumental album. Munisteri also plans to release his second volume of “Still Runnin’ Round in The Wilderness: The Lost Music of Wilard Robinson.” This is a collection of Robinson’s recordings that were not reissued on EP or CD, leading Munisteri to resample and arrange the pieces for himself. That album should be out in 2014.
“I feel connected to songwriters like Randy Newman. My favorite guitar player would be Django Reinhardt, my favorite singer Willie Nelson,” he said.
Munisteri will play the festival with accordionist Rob Reich and Curtis Stigers’ bassist Cliff Schmitt.
“If anyone from the Boise fan club comes by, I hope they can make it up to McCall,” Ministeri said.
Allan Morrison, head golf professional and McCall Golf Club house manager, said the jazz festival started three years ago because of a need to raise money for a community emergency.
In June 2010, a dam break sent a surge of water down the river, which wiped out a bridge, a propane tank and flooded the Snowden Wildlife Sanctuary, which could only be accessed by the downed bridge.
“Not only did they get flooded out, but there was a fire,” Morrison said of the damage estimated at more than $60,000, according to the Snowdon Facebook page. “Poor guys don’t have anything left over, don’t have any money to feed all the animals.”
So, the golf club and community volunteers decided to raise some funds.
“It happened that we had friends that are in the jazz business who happened to come in the same day that we needed to raise some dollars,” he said.
Once the festival became too much for the club to handle on its own this year, Morrison said, Stigers approached the club with a proposition to take over hosting duties for the entire event, as well as raise money for the Shepherd’s Home.
Shepherd’s Home serves publicly or privately placed children by providing a family home.
Nikki Makano, the golf club’s restaurant manager, is in charge of seating and food, which along with a portion of ticket sales, goes to benefit the home.
The festival runs 3:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday beginning with John “Scrapper” Sneider and followed by Munisteri at 4:45 p.m. The Paul Tillotson Trio will play at 6 p.m. before Curtis Stigers and his band perform at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/399808. Food, wine, beer and other beverages are available, while lawn seating costs $25 and chairs, provided by the golf club, cost $35.
Treffry can be reached at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at: @LindseyTreffry.
-> if you go:
WHAT: McCall Jazz Festival
WHEN: 3:30-9:30 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: McCall Golf Club
COST: $25 lawn seating, $35 chair seating. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com.