Monnette Sudler’s 5Th Annual Guitar Summit

5th Annual Guitar Summit
Saturday February 8, 2014
MONTCO Science Center Theater
340 Dekalb Pike Blue Bell, PA
tickets & info: :  or call 215-641-6518

Every so often I go back to listen to some of the music that has influenced my musical development. There are some things that make me wonder what I found interesting but for the most part my lessons have stood the test of time.

A few years ago I was invited to play my bagpipes at composer Andrea Clearfield’s salon. My mistake was that I didn’t know who else was playing that night. After my set I put my pipes away and went back to the concert and listened to a guitar player that blew me away. I missed the name but after the show introduced myself. I had to find out who she was. When she told me her name I did a double take replying back, “Did you say Monnette Sudler?” the reply, “Yes.”  Now I found myself dressed in my formal kilt uniform speaking with Monnette Sudler an early influence whose guitar playing on the album The Other Side of Gemini had a huge impact on me. Clearly a Philadelphia guitar legend Monnette Sudler has six album to her credit. Growing up listening to Motown and Nat King Cole Sudler tributes her first teacher to introducing her to the music of Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens Paul Simon and Mississippi Reds. Later Monnette was influenced by John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davies to name a few. 

I am reminded of that meeting as Monnette Sudler’s 5th Annual Guitar Summit is coming up on Saturday, February 8, 2014 – 8:00 pm at Montgomery County Community College, Science Center Theater located at 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422. 

In this years Guitar Summit Sudler brings us in addition to her performance:

Tosin Abasi who is best known for playing the 7 and 8 stringed guitar in the instrumental progressive metal band, “Animals as Leaders”, of which he is the founder and lead guitarist. In the early 2000’s before founding “Animals as Leaders” he joined the band Reflux. Tosin utilizes the power of techniques and the endless possibilities of guitar playing in any genre. He is primarily self- taught, but studied jazz and classical guitar at the Atlanta Institute of Music. Through his compositions he hopes to break down the approach to utilizing the 7 and 8 string guitars, in both lead and rhythm work. His solo project “Amimals as Leaders”, on Prosthetic Records, the name is loosely derived from the book of Ishmael. Tosin recorded two albums, his self-titled debut “Animals as Leaders” and “Weightless”.

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a guitarist and songwriter originally from Kyoto, Japan. He began playing banjo when he was thirteen years old. In 2000, he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the US. Since then, he has been performing internationally including several appearances with his group at Blue Note in New York and released five albums as a leader. His latest album Heartland features a mixture of elements from several genres expressed in Japanese songs and acoustic guitar instrumentals that Hiroya spent years composing.

Mulebone is an American blues based duo of roots music specialist singer/guitarist Hugh Pool and multi-instrumentalist John Ragusa. The combo originally formed in 1996 to play at the Brotherhood of Thieves on Nantucket Island. The group continues to perform, expanding their area of operation and repertoire. They were featured, along with Sweet Honey in the Rock, Maria Muldaur and David Grisman on the award winning Ellipsis Arts compilation album, American Lullaby. Their own album Mulebone, was a collection of traditional’s, and charted in the Top 100 on the “Americana Roots Chart” for National radio airplay, as reported by the Album Network.

Sheryl Bailey is rated among the foremost bop-based guitarists to have emerged from the 90’s. Her attack can be direct and hard swinging, but she also exudes subtlety, elegance of phrase and a pure, warm liquid sound. She was voted a new “Rising Star” by the Downbeat Critics in 2013. As an educator, she has been an Associate Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music since 2000, The Collective School of Music in NYC, and has been a clinician for The National Guitar Workshop, The Stanford Jazz Workshop, The Duquesne Guitar Seminar, UARTS in Philadelphia, Southern Cross University in Australia, GIT, and LAMA. Her Mel Bay publication, “Moveable Shapes” is a top seller in their Jazz Curriculum series. Sheryl’s presentation will also feature special guest vocalist Sherry Butler.

monnette_sudler_|_david_cohen_bagpipes_|_guitar   David Cohen     Monnette Sudler
The 5th Annual Guitar Summit is offered in cooperation with Montgomery County Community college. Monnette Sudler’s CD”s are available at

John & Judy -In The Wood

Philadelphia brother and sister duo John & Judy release their debut CD In The Wood. Preforming together since childhood the In The Wood recording sessions culminated after a three-year gigging and writing period. In The Wood was recorded in the latter half of 2013 and reflecting back John & Judy state that due to their shared intuition the creative process flowed more smoothly than other bands might have experienced.
Judy on a five-string-electric viola and vocals brother John on guitar and vocals the twelve song thirty-two minute CD offers unique twists and turns along the meandering flow of the mighty river of music contained in the CD. Backing up John & Judy on various songs is: Tom Reock on drums, bass and Hammond B-3 organ along with Gin Ah Lim on violin.  In The Wood was produced by Tom Reock at Squirrel Ranch Studios in Hamilton, New Jersey.
Keeping the music in the family John demonstrates his guitar chops on a Guild D60 that his father bought back in the 1980’s along with his Martin-000-15sm and American Standard Strat throughout the recordings.  At first the duo was apprehensive about writing their own lyrics but after a lack of success in finding a lyricist the words fell into place and they were able to produce this first product in what will hopefully be a series of great recording in the future.

In The Wood available at:

Vist John & Judy on FaceBook
John & Judy In The Wood

Rediscovering Guitarist Rolly Brown

On a Christmas Eve many years ago while exiting the Market-Frankford line at 40th Street in sight of all reaching street level was an elderly woman laying on the ground calling out for help. The sidewalks were icy, all around rested dirty old snow while the wind whipped extremely cold air. Only two people came to her aid.

While balancing myself on the ice clutching my guitar trying not to slip or to have my guitar stolen in the process of helping the woman another guitarist who happened to be on the train also came to her assistance. In turn he clutched his guitar and balanced himself in the same manner as I. That other guitarist was Rolly Brown. We didn’t know each other until that moment and working in concert helped the woman to her apartment a few blocks north of Market on 40th Street. The area was a much different place in 1978 and we found camaraderie in getting back to the safe zone after we assisted the woman in getting home safely. It turned out that Rolly lived around the corner from the friend I was on my way to visit. We exchanged phone numbers and went on our way. It was the early period of my studies on the classical guitar. The discovery of guitarist Rolly Brown led to my introduction into a uniquely different way of guitar playing.

Rolly Brown never went away. He has been a staple in the Philadelphia music scene as far back as the 1970’s. Rolly’s guitar skills have him ranked among the finest guitarists on an international level and has performed along side many musicians of note. The list of accomplishments for Rolly Brown is extensive which includes National Fingerpicking Champion, nominee in the Philadelphia Music Awards and radio show host.

The rediscovery of the guitar playing of Rolly Brown came as a result of the new form of public transportation-Face Book. The full circle in the rediscovery came when I saw his name and picture listed on the page of the friend that I was visiting in 1978 that placed us on the Market-Frankford Line at the same time.

For a guitar player or any musician the entire effort to obtain information before the trial of public performance is based on the theory of discovery so all melodies, rhythms and phrasing will be presented with as much knowledge as possible and that neither audience or performer will be kept secret from the true meaning of the music. Through suppling information on clinics, performance and theoretical education is an  information source that leads one to discovery.

The site also includes information regarding Rolly’s performance schedule and CD’s.

Rolly Brown:

The Amazing Guitarist: Trevor Gordon Hall

“In the genre of intriguing guitar players Trevor really stands out. His music is both soothing and challenging”

Graham Nash

How do you react when you get a great review on guitar playing your from somebody like Graham Nash?  Philadelphia guitarist Trevor Gordon Hall was humbled and honored. While Philadelphia is his home and world is becoming his playground having played festivals in Europe and North America Trevor states that playing at Chris’s in Philadelphia in March of 2013 with legend Pat Martino was a dream come true for him.

Trevor’s most recent project led him to collaborate with various builders to redesign a kalimba to mount on the surface of a guitar. The interesting combination and Hall’s virtuosity can be heard on his debut release “Entelechy” on Candyrat Records. In true fashion and the purest form of African folk music the tines of the kalimba attached to his guitar resonate through the body of his guitar giving his compositions a shimmering effect.
Trevor has two shows coming up in the Philadelphia area before he heads north to Canada for a few shows. Catching Trevor live is a must for all guitar fans. That goal can be accomplished on Wednesday July 24th 2013 as part of the Sundown Music Series in the Park in Haddon Heights, NJ also Tuesday July 30th, at the Eagleview Town Square in Exton, PA.

Artist website:

Jill Pasternak interviews guitarists -Crossover WRTI 90.1FM Phila July 20, 201

Saturday July 20, 2013
Crossover w/ Jill Pasternak
WRTI 90.1FM Philadelphia
streaming at

Every Saturday Jill Pasternak’s interview show Crossover spotlights notable music and musicians from the classical and jazz worlds – and the periphery as well!  Totally un-scripted and spontaneous, Crossover sounds like nothing else on the dial — more like friends chatting over coffee than a broadcast interview.

This Saturday July 20, 2013 Jill’s program will feature two classical guitarists giving listeners a beautiful background soundscape to play against the swirl of their air conditioners during this heatwave that is gripping the North East.

The program is broken into two segments. The first featuring Philadelphia classical guitarist David Cohen. Selections from Cohen’s CD, DAVID COHEN: GUITAR will be played. Jill and David also talk about his work for the Monmouth & Ocean Counties Food Bank and the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Jill writes about Cohen, “This week we feature a musician who has gone well beyond his role as an entertainer to become an active member of humanitarian causes he believes in”. Portions from the sale of his CD go to Fox Chase Cancer Center.

In a repeat presentation the second part of the program features classical guitar Milos Karadaglic. The stunning success of 31-year-old classical guitar virtuoso  is validated after the first notes of Pasion, his second Deutsche Grammophon release. Known simply as “Milos,” the guitarist’s technical expertise and respect for the music he loves enhances the beauty of a varied menu of popular folk and challenging classical selections. The sprinkling of recognizable time-worn tangos contrast perfectly with the excitement of the “nuevo” world of Astor Piazolla. Terrific! Piece a Chance by David Cohen

Not that far in the past it was not uncommon to see the musicians of orchestras and the opera sitting on the couches of the evening talks shows, part of a celebrity panel on games shows and even subjects in the gossip columns. Classical music having a role in the performance of popular culture did exist. It wasn’t uncommon for progressive rock bands like Renaissance, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Jethro Tull to incorporate classical themes into their music or for radio programmers to play classical music back to back with their hardcore music draws. That was the case for Philadelphia classical guitarist Linda Cohen (no relation) who had regular airplay on WMMR in the 1970’s while having pop star status in the city. Popular culture dropping one of its characters is the effect of many factors that could range from an aging core audience, consolidation of radio stations for programming models that play color coded music to fill the time between commercial segments along with the very slow adaptation of classical music marketers to a new world order filled with technological information webs that have left classical music relegated to a past time for the elite.

The Citizenry is armed now with the resources to defend themselves against the control of marketers and slow thinkers by making their needs known. Through creators of their own unbiased and non-commercial saturated outlets for music and music information we the people can make our choices. Word just has to get out! started in 2005 when there was not a comprehensive list on the Internet for the classical music in Philadelphia that gave opportunity to every classical musician in the area. started by classical music maven Sharon Torello and has been running since 2011 filling the void of social media interaction for the Philadelphia classical music scene. While the owners of these sites are pulling from outside the box a few sympathizers from other genres are pulling on the rope in syncopation.

In April of 2013 the JAM Awards(Jersey Acoustic Music) committee nominated and gave award to a classical guitarist for Top Instrumentalist in the guitar category. This first time honoring classical music in the awards has had the door opened for recognition in the thriving Jersey Shore music scene. This is the same scene that gave birth to Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Closer to the Philadelphia market is Like Torello of and Cohen of founders Dustin Dellinger and Jim Hass stepped up to the control panel because of the lack of support for local artists in the their genre. Dellinger having been in the Philly music scene for many years realized after the break up of his last band-A Case of the Monday’s after ten years, that he had to take a different role in music. The same is the case with GashouseRadio Co-Founder Jim Hass. Both Dellinger and Hass evaluated their experiences and like the other mavens started with their own money to create outlets for the overlooked artists in Philadelphia. “I’ve noticed that other cities like Boston have such a thriving and supportive local music scene where people go out to listen to live music. It’s hard getting people out to shows in Philly. Part of the problem is that the music fans don’t know who the bands are here.” Dellinger explains.

The commitment of is not only to play the music from independent bands and solo artists from Philadelphia but includes CD tracks from well-established bands that do not receive deserving airplay on other stations. While the formatting of Gashouse primarily seeks submissions from the local rock musicians they are willing to give a piece of classical music a chance. That is not to say you will hear a Beethoven symphony on Gashouse but music more on the lines of a soloist or a side project of a progressive nature from composers or some of the university students in the area who would be more likely to tune in. “People send us their music, we listen to it and if we think it will work we play it on air. We have thumbs up and thumbs down choices for our listeners. It’s up to them if we keep it in rotation. If there’s a piece of classical music that our listener like that’s great.” Dustin explains.

With allies such as the JAM Awards committee and on a more local level classical music can meander its course into a larger tributary leading to a larger body of listeners. How fertile the lands of the Philly music scene can become with such powerful nutrients in its streets. runs 24-7 with live programming at various times through out the day. All we are saying is give piece a chance.

The Keith Calmes & Chiel Meijering Experience by David Cohen

During the process of writing the music for what would be my first CD release I had to take into consideration being a sole proprietor in music that I might be producing a very costly set of individually wrapped coasters. At the time I had the resources of Temple University’s Business Research Lab at my disposal. So I embarked on a research project for myself that would allow me to find the answers to the questions-who is listening to classical music and where do they get their information?

The findings gave me answers I didn’t expect. In the background information regarding the sustainability of classical music, the image came to mind of a flowers blooming process. On one side is a leaf of classical music that delivers the experience expectations of the aging core audience. The leaf opposite is the music delivered to the audience that is looking to expand their experiences with new music. The bud coming up in the center is the music that will fit the needs of both audiences as well as having an appeal to an audience who usually do not participate in the experience of classical music. The flower resulting from the bud is the music that reaches beyond the many challenges classical music faces in order for it to survive as a vital presenting force.

The images from my research returned when I received a copy of the recording Asbury Lanes, a collaboration between Dutch composer Chiel Meijering and classical guitarist Keith Calmes of Wall NJ. The two are onto something with their sound. It is the bud developing between the leaves of classical music that reminded me of the Russian Five. Only Chiel Meijering and Keith Calmes didn’t start working together to change the course or give identity to a structure.

The music is from a highly creative period for both Meijering and Calmes that resulted in the release of eight recordings in 2012. Asbury Lanes is the release that can be equated to the beauty the eye beholds when the flower fully blooms. In addition to his work with Meijering, Calmes has released a solo classical guitar recording -All We Know is Now. This new music composed for and on the guitar is the experience that can draw in the younger demographic, many of whom grew up in the 1960’s listening to a lot of rock & roll and don’t relate to Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. All We Know is Now was a year in the making and offers the listener a cohesive progression of pieces where Calmes guides his guests through an intricate melodic and rhythmic experience through his masterful guitar playing.

There is another release on the way resulting from the collaboration between Meijering and Calmes – Ladies Collection: trios and quartets for electric and acoustic guitar. Although not released at this point the experience has started with the anticipation. I know my experience expectations will be met when I take the journey. I am reminded of a scene from Cecil B. DeMille’s Moses where a woman in her daily toil looks up and upon seeing the messenger exclaims, Moses!

Artists & recordings websites:
Keith Calmes           Cheil Meijering          itunes

BalletX: Reaching The Sweet Spot

One may ask what the ballet is doing in a section that is designated to exploring the guitar in the Philadelphia area. Looking at the art of dance and thinking of the guitar leads to the flamenco traditions of the instrument of Spanish origin. That is unless you attended the performances of BalletX from July 11 thru 15 at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. It was the performances during that week that introduced two Philadelphia guitarist to the loyal audiences of BalletX. Guitarist Enda Keegan and David Cohen took part in an extraordinary and bold move by BalletX to bring attention to these artists and others in Philadelphia.

In designing an experience there are four values to work within: educational, escapist, esthetic and entertainment. Within those values when the participant has gone through the realms of absorption, active participation, immersion and passive participation, the participant has reached the sweet spot. On Sunday, July 15th BalletX closed their Summer Series 2012 giving their audiences for the five days and six performances the opportunity to reach their Sweet Spot.

Through a grant from the Knights Art Challenge BalletX received $13,000 when they replied to the foundation with their answer to this question, “What’s your best idea for the arts in Philadelphia?” Out of the 1,752 applicants that answered that question BalletX was chosen along with thirty-five other arts organizations to receive a portion of the grant. In the mission of BalletX to define Philadelphia as a home for arts, culture and dance directors Christine Cox and Mathew Neenan replied to the Knight’s Foundation question with their answer, “To expand the cultural experience of ballet audiences with unexpected dance, comedy, music and spoken word during BalletX’s seasonal performances”.  In this bold move BalletX stepped outside of their safety zone as they do with their chorography to include other artists inside and outside of dance.

For one week in July 2012 audiences at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia experienced performances of: Beside Myself choreography by Tobin Del Cuore, and world premieres of Mashup, choreography by Adam Hougland and Differences In Sections choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie and had the eXperience eXpanded with separate performances on stage and in the lobby with Philadelphia artists: David Cohen-classical & flamenco guitar, Chinese pipa & bagpipes, Billy Blaise Dufala aka Juicy Flute, Clyde Evans-Chosen Dance Company, Enda Keegan-singer songwriter and Pasion y Arte Falmenco. The knight challenge is a three-year $9 million initiative for the arts in Philadelphia.
BalletX is a contemporary ballet company that expands the vocabulary of classical dance. The Company reflects the joint vision of award-winning Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan. Their focus on the creation of new works has resonated with both local and international dance audiences and has captured the attention of highly-regarded artists in the field of dance.

BalletX has built a diverse, dynamic, and active repertoire that includes original choreography by Cox and Neenan, as well as an impressive array of talented guest artists. Guest artists range from emerging talents to established choreographers from the national and international dance communities. Featured choreographers include: Jorma Elo, Jodie Gates, Adam Hougland, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Zane Booker, Edwaard Liang, Helen Pickett, Thang Dao, Alex Ketley, and Tobin Del Cuore, among others. Performed by dancers with remarkable technical proficiency, BalletX’s original works challenge and engage audiences and dancers alike.

The Company was formed around three basic core values: quality and integrity of dance, relationship with the audience, and relationship with each other. BalletX is committed to bringing choreographers’ and dancers’ visions to life by welcoming new and innovative styles and methods of performance. BalletX views dance as a conversation with the audience; by engaging audiences with innovative works, the Company seeks to develop a collective appetite and demand for bold new dance.

Since the fall of 2007, BalletX has had the honor of being the resident dance company of Philadelphia’s award-winning The Wilma Theater. During this time, the Company has presented over XX World Premieres, including interdisciplinary multimedia works that blend ballet, spoken text, video, originally composed music, and imaginative set designs.
Recognized nationally and internationally, BalletX has been awarded grants by The Jerome Robbins Foundation’s New Essential Works (NEW) Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as Dance Advance, a program of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. The Company has been invited to perform in the Festival de Ballet in Cali, Colombia; Ballet EXPO, in Seoul, South Korea; the Vail International Dance Festival; the Sweet Pea Festival; the Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis, Missouri; the Laguna Dance Festival; the Joyce Theater in NYC; and the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in California. They also regularly perform in college, university, and community venues across the United States.

From the beginning BalletX has strived to reach the Sweet Spot. Visit BalletX at and join them on Face Book.

David Shabtay’s elements & Philaphonix, July 5, 2012 Phila

By day Philaphonix guitarist David Shabtay manages the elements in his study of chemistry and physics in his senior year of study at Temple University. By night Shabtay takes on the elements of funk, blues, and rock in the band Philaphonix. In the amalgamation with Shabtay on guitar the compound also consists of Jon Cannon-bass, Julian Hartwell-keys, and Kevin Nathan on drums. The four elements bond together and metamorphous into a tight unit of funk and groove. Much like in rock metamorphism that is caused by heat and pressure, the metamorphism in Philaphonix is caused by the heat of melody and pressure from rhythm and funktitude that results from the chemical reaction of the four elements. This metamorphic stage of groove for Philaphonix is in absolute funklogic time having formed in 2011.

Shabtay remembers his first grade teacher bringing his guitar and teaching them through music. The music was bluegrass and the guitar made an impression on the first grader who fell in love with the guitar and knew that was what he wanted to do. At five his parents bought him his first guitar. “It was a Fender Strat” Shabtay reminisces. “It was my teacher Tommy Gun that got me interested in the blues” Shabtay continues. Gunn was heavily into Hendrix and the influences of Hendrix. It was listening to those influences: Freddie King, Muddy Waters and Shabtay’s biggest influence Buddy Guy that has driven his sound since he started with lessons. Hailing from Lancaster Shabtay made his name know through local jazz bands and winning competitions in 2011 and 2012 for his playing.

Philaphonix has taken their sound to The Raven Lounge, Dobbs and some of the area dives that seem the course for upcoming bands. Philaphonix brings Shabtay with his Gibson ES335, 15 watt tube amp along with the elements of Cannon, Hartwell and Nathan this Thursday July 5, 2012 to the North Star Bar 2639 Popular Street in Philadelphia.  No lab coat or goggles necessary.

Check them out on Face Book: Philaphonix

Rocker Jo Wymer Philadelphia Debut

Jo Wymer

Tin Angel

Thursday February 23, 2012 

Rocker Jo Wymer at once bludgeons and seduces her audiences with her gritty and soulful songs in a voice described as “BETTER THAN BENATAR” by rock blogger John Allman from NINEBULLETS.  Wymer is a grownup.  She earned every one of the open, raw, and unrefined feelings in her songs – heartache, yearning, sex, lust, sin, romance, loss, and joy –and her voice promises her audiences will feel each and every one of them too.  The visceral experience of hearing and watching Wymer deliver these songs with her voice, her guitar, and her hard rocking band, in one of her sweat-soaked live performances, leaves her audiences more than satisfied, yet still yearning.  She wouldn’t have it any other way.


Wymer recently worked in the studio with Lakehouse Music on her debut album, which was released in 2011, and is frequently performing live in the NJ/NY/PA region with her powerhouse rock band.  She also performs rare solo acoustic shows, which provide a unique opportunity to see her perform her music in stripped down form.

Jo’s album comes from the scar tissue of adult perspective – sex, guilt, joy, failure, love, loss, lust, and their consequences and rewards – and the faith that keeps us moving forward in spite of it.

The music itself would find itself comfortably beside late 1960’s and 1970’s rock, r&b, and soul, and it embraces those influences.


Like many young artists, Wymer walked away from a career in music in her early 20’s after an unsatisfying string of musical disappointments from dropping out of Julliard after one semester – due to her own immaturity she says now – and performing as the front woman for a wedding band.  She essentially exited the music world for nearly two decades.  During that period of time she joined the Navy, and served in the Persian Gulf War in the early 90’s.  She got married to her first husband.  During that volatile relationship she gave birth to a son, who was afflicted with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. She worked for many years with a large software corporation.  Got a divorce, and was left raising her son as a single mother where she dedicated herself to ensuring his educational and personal well being. Then Wymer lost her father to heart disease, then her mother to cancer.  She fell in love with a widower with two troubled teenage children. She remarried and moved to Freehold, NJ.  Currently attends TCNJ (Teacher’s College of New Jersey) working toward her Master’s Degree in Special Education specializing in Mathematics.