Biography

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Born in Hartford, CT, Dwonszyk started playing the electric bass at age eleven. His journey into the world of jazz began at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School where he began playing the upright bass. He also started attending the Artists Collective after school program playing in the Youth Jazz Orchestra. The Artist Collective, founded by jazz saxophone legend Jackie McLean, propelled Dwonszyk to continue his studies at the The Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at The University of Hartford.

 

Dwonszyk quickly developed an exceptionally strong rapport with Professor Nat Reeves and Professor Steve Davis. Reeves instilled a strong sense of swing, conviction and vocabulary upon Dwonszyk while Davis would hire Dwonszyk for gigs at local venues around the Hartford area. This schooling inside and outside of the classroom helped Dwonszyk become one of the top call bassist in Connecticut.

 

After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Music in Jazz Studies in 2013, Dwonszyk went on to obtain a Master’s of Music at SUNY Purchase College in New York where he studied with Professor's Todd Coolman, Doug Weiss, John Faddis and John Abercrombie. With the SUNY Purchase Big Band, Dwonszyk performed at the Blue Note featuring Terell Stafford and at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola featuring Steve Turee. Dwonszyk would soon become a resident of Brooklyn, NY performing in some of New York's top jazz venues including Smalls, Smoke, Minton’s, Zinc Bar,  Birdland and the Jazz Standard.  

In 2015, Dwonszyk was accepted into the Bosyie Lowery Jazz Living Residency for his original compositions and was awarded in Down Beat Magazine for his arrangement of the jazz classic, “What A Wonderful World”. In 2018, Dwonszyk went on to record his debut record as a leader, entitled "Wonderful World", featuring the awarded arrangement as well as nine of his original compositions. He continues to perform and record with his group the "Dwonztet".

 

In 2018, Dwonszyk toured through Russia apart of the Rainy Days Jazz Festival and in 2019 he toured through Canada with the Oleg Butman Trio. His last tour was in 2020 with Jonathan Barber and Vision Ahead through the West Coast of the U.S. Dwonszyk has performed at many well known festivals including the NYC Winter Jazz Festival, BRIC Jazz festival, Clifford Brown Festival, JVC Jazz Festival, the Jazz & Colors Festival at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, D.C Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Saskatoon Jazz Festival, Edmonton Jazz Festival, Litchfield Jazz Festival, Hartford Jazz Festival, Hartford Baby Grand Jazz Series, New Haven Jazz Festival and the Baikal Jazz Festival in Yakutsk, Siberia.

 

He has performed with numerous contemporaries as well as legendary jazz artists including Harold Mabern, Larry Willis, David Hazeltine, Anthony Wonsey, Rick Germanson, Hal Galper, Dave Kikoski, Donald Vega, Pete Malinverni, Steve Wilson, Abraham Burton, Javon Jackson, Gary Smulyan, Bill Saxton, Bennie Wallace, Wayne Escoffery, Mike Diruboo, Myron Walden, J.D. Allen, John Farnsworth, Steve Davis, Steve Turre, Joe Farnsworth, Carl Allen, Winard Harper, Herlin Riley, Willie Jones III, Joe Strasser, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Joe Magnarelli, Jeremy Pelt, Jumaane Smith, Wallace Roney, Freddie Hendrix and Duane Eubanks.  

 

When Dwonszyk is not performing, he teaches Jazz Bass at Manchester Community College in Connecticut. He is called into coach ensembles at the University of Hartford  Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz and also teaches in the summer at Litchfield Jazz Camp and Bennie Wallace’s Back Country Jazz Program.

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"It has been my pleasure to work a great deal with Matt over the past few years not only in the classroom, but also on the bandstand with Ed Fast & Conga Bop, with pianist Don DePalma and vocalist Linda Ransom, and with my own quintet playing original compositions as well. Matt certainly has a very bright future. I am excited to hear where he and others of his generation take the music."

-Steve Davis

"It's hard for me to think of very many bass players anywhere whose solos I enjoy as much as Matt's; he has so much language ... You can hear a lot of history in the melodies he plays. You can hear evidence of a lot of listening to musical elders."

-Kris Allen

"He helped me with my own compositions playing through things to see what would work and what wouldn't. He has such good input into what will sound good. We would play his originals as well and I was always blown away at how creative he could be ... Matt is so humble in a real way - not in some fake way."

-Jen Allen

 "Laid back, very easy to work with, always ready to embrace a challenge ... Every time I hear him he has some new surprise up his sleeve ... It happens in his solos mainly. He'll play some stuff you don't expect to hear."

-Ben Bilello

 "Deep, sincere, a fine musician, hard working ... valuable to know and work with: There is a decency to Matt that is palpable and this comes through in his music."

-Peter  McEachern