December 1, 2023

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Deeply Traditional and Extremely Experimental: Remembering Philly jazz legend Monnette Sudler

Throughout the decades, Sudler also enjoyed a fruitful and diverse musical career as an accompanist and leader of her own bands. An incomplete listing of the musicians that Sudler has played and recorded with includes some of the greatest talents in jazz history: Grover Washington Jr., Sunny Murray, Freddie Hubbard, Hugh Masekela, Reggie Workman, Cecil Mcbee, Archie Shepp, Sam Rivers, and Philly jazz legends like Odean Pope, Trudy Pitts, Byard Lancaster. A tireless and adventurous experimenter, Sudler’s discography is full of stylistic twists and turns, ranging from free jazz to smooth jazz, funk, and R&B.

Homer Jackson of the Philadelphia Jazz Project remembers Sudler as a skilled and versatile musician. “She was an integral part of that outrageously talented Germantown crew of players that took on the world in the late 1960s and 70s,” Jackson says. “She, like they all were, was deeply traditional and extremely experimental. She was an avant-garde artist and simultaneously an R&B musician. She was a great songwriter, composer, and bandleader. Her skills were significant.”

Sudler is survived by her brothers Truman Sudler, Jr. and Duane Sudler as well as her two sons, Erik Honesty and Lamar Honesty, and three grandchildren. Monnette will also be deeply missed by the community of musicians that played with, learned from, and admired her here in Philly as well as jazz lovers around the world.

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