Matt Dwonszyk - Wonderful World
Review by Willard Manus

Matt Dwonszyk is the hottest new bassist on the jazz scene. He has played with many top musicians, including Orice Jenkins (whose CD “Centennial Cole” was reviewed in last month’s edition of Lively Arts). Now Matt has released his own album, WONDERFUL WORLD, on which he leads the way on twelve extended tunes, eight of which he wrote himself.

The musicianship is outstanding, largely because Matt is playing with six friends who studied with him at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at The University of Hartford. He was also able to include such Hartford “elders” as percussionist and vibraphonist Ed Fast, percussionist Jorge Fuentes, and trombonist Steve Davis.

Together they dig deep into Matt’s always-melodic and fresh-sounding compositions, which range from fiery tunes like “Pecan’s Delight” and “Dr Dwonz” to heartfelt ballads like “A Year and a Day,” written for Matt’s father, who died in 2009. On “Prospect Park,” vocalist Shenel Johns invests Matt’s brief lyrics with much intensity, ditto when she takes on the traditional hymn “My Soul” or gets into the rhapsodic ”What a Wonderful World.” No doubt we’ll be hearing from this gifted young singer in future.

Matt himself is only twenty-eight, so we can expect lots more wonderful music from him as well. (