First Lady of Jazz Guitar Recalls her Philly Youth, the Folks who Helped, and Why She #VotesThatJawn

Updated: May 13, 2020

By Rebecca Sinkler

Monnette Sudler never skips a vote. Never will. But as a kid, Sudler says, she wasn’t into politics. For her, it was all music. Today, she’s a Grammy-nominated composer/jazz guitarist/vocalist and leader of Monnette Sudler’s Philadelphia Guitar Ensemble. Sudler’s also known as the “First Lady of Jazz Guitar.” Her band has played in Europe, South Africa and Japan, and her schedule is packed with upcoming events in Cleveland, Washington, and Philly’s Kimmel Center and Art Museum, now-postponed gigs she’ll get to perform if we ever get out of this virus mess.

Though she took piano lessons from age eight, and sang in church with her mom, young Monnette really caught fire when her stepfather brought home a guitar one night. That was it! She fell in love with the instrument and wouldn’t let it go.

It got so bad her mother actually had to hide the thing in a closet.