Monnette Sudler brings her Philadelphia Guitar Summit to World Café Live
By Rob Nagy
In her ongoing efforts to introduce music enthusiasts to a variety of musical genres beyond the mainstream, multitalented Philly based jazz guitarist, composer, producer and poet Monnette Sudler returns to the concert stage with her 9th Philadelphia Guitar Summit.
“I started it to introduce audiences as well as the performers to different styles of guitar music because the guitar is such a versatile instrument,” says Sudler, from her home in Philadelphia. “This year the Guitar Summit is ‘Strumming for Social Change.’ The guitar has often been an instrument of change for those advocating for peace and civil rights. This concert will bring traditional, bluesy, free and funky jazz to the World Cafe Live and will be an opportunity to remind us to use our instruments and voices for change.”
The list of veteran artists and rising stars includes Monnette Sudler Sextet, featuring legendary pianist Doug Carn, Diane Monroe – violin, Lee Smith – bass, Byron “Wookie” Landham – drums, V. Shayne Frederick – vocals, special guest Master Guitarist Sonny Troy, Jamaaladeen Tacuma - electric bass guitar, vocals and The NU’TRUTH, Chris DiPinto - electric guitar, vocals, GhettoSongBird - electric guitar, vocals and Tony Catastrophe - drums, vocals.
Sudler went on to say: “We have some amazing players. I wanted there to be musical diversity. I started out at the Philadelphia Clef Club and it was a minimal audience. The next year I did it at a church in Manayunk and that was also a minimal audience. From there, I was doing it at Montgomery County Community College and I was there for about six, seven years. The audience has grown considerably and I’ve seen more people come out every year.”
“My whole vision with the Guitar Summit is to have a whole day of workshops and then a final performance, but I haven’t really had the funding to be able to pull that off yet. But that’s my total vision, to make it an educational experience as well as entertaining. I would like people to be open to different styles of music. To come with an open mind and be able to listen to everyone and be open to receive and to go away with learning or being introduced to something new outside the normal cultural circle.”
Sudler’s musical roots run deep. Exposed to blues, folk, rock, R&B and jazz at an early age, her influences include Nat King Cole, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, among others.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Sudler’s deep appreciation for the city’s rich music history and the passion and talent to be a successful musician ultimately found her studying at the Berklee College of Music before returning home to attend Temple University.
Releasing her debut album, “Brighter Days for You” (1977), Sudler has since released a collection of highly regarded solo efforts. Beyond her solo career she has worked with an impressive stable of artists including, Kenny Barron, Sonny Fortune, Trudy Pitts and Grover Washington, Jr.
Exhibiting a passion for a wide variety of musical genres, Sudler considers herself a jazz and blues instrumentalist first and foremost, occasionally accented by her sultry vocals. Sudler also plays lead guitar, bass, drums and a variety of African string and percussion instruments and has been enlisted to score and arrange for a variety of music ensembles.
“Success as an artist isn’t fully realized without taking additional steps,” says Sudler. “It’s very tough out there as a musician. You have to be very flexible and try to do a lot of different things and wear different hats. There are always times during the year it gets very, very slow, and you have to be prepared for that. You have to diversify your talents, there’s no way around it. Try to be on top of your game and be a great musician all around.”
“There are a lot of really excellent young people that are coming up now and their work ethic is great,” adds Sudler. “They are really aspiring to be wonderful players and learn about the history of the music and musicians that helped create this American jazz music. I’m excited about that. It’s so nice to see their enthusiasm.
While Sudler openly admits her struggle to reach a larger audience, she has no regrets about her chosen path as a jazz artist. Recognizing the challenges she faces she finds there are more opportunities than ever to deliver her music to the world and educate aspiring musicians.
“The music business is not really built to be advantageous to the artist,” says Sudler. “Jazz is underrated commercially and it doesn’t get the exposure. Nowadays the way technology is, you can be more independent of record companies. It’s harder, but in the end you at least have control of your own music. Now that you have the internet you can get access to the world but you have to search it out.”
An outspoken advocate for music education Sudler published her book “Motif Mojo Jazz Guitar” in 2015 for aspiring musicians.
“This book is a guide for you to tap into your creative energy by providing you with examples of motifs played over various harmonic structures,” says Sudler. “Appropriate for intermediate to advance students, applicable for most instruments. The motifs are transposed into all keys using the cycle of fourths. Get your Mojo working!”
“I’m very grateful for all the blessings that I’ve had in my life,” adds Sudler. “I love music. It makes me very happy. I like sharing and inspiring people. I have been able to travel the world, meet wonderful people, collaborate with outstanding musicians and writers. Money is a small part of life. Interaction, building relationships, being creative and of service is what success means to me.”
Monnette Sudler and her Philadelphia Guitar Summit performs at World Café Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, Saturday May 12, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. For further information call 215-222-1400 or on-line at www.worldcafelive.com
To stay up to date with Monnette Sudler visit www.monnettesudlermusic.com