Saturday, March 1, 2014

Amanda Monaco's Ethical Music + Brian Charette's Earthy Sounds

On Thursday March 6, Amanda Monaco, guitarist/composer and native of Wallingford, CT, brings the Pirkei Avot Project to Congregation Adath Israel, 8 Broad Street in Middletown.  Based on writings known as the "Ethics of the Fathers" (believed to have been compiled in the 3rd Century C.E., Ms. Monaco created the work for a quintet of voice, recorder and flute, percussion, acoustic bass and guitar. As a member of Congregation B'Nai Jeshurun in New York City, the guitarist has recorded several CDs and written numerous pieces for services at the downtown shul.

For the Middletown gig (which commences at 7 p.m.), Ms. Monaco brings a Quintet that features Tammy Sheffer (vocals), Daphna Mor (recorder, ney flute, vocals), Sean Conly (acoustic bass) and Satoshi Takeishi (percussion), al of whom (save for Ms. Sheffer) appear on "The Pirkei Avot Project: Volume 1" that was released in 2011. "Volume II" is in the works and this concert will feature several new pieces.  For more information about the show at Adath Israel, call 860-346-4709 or email me at   To find out more about Amanda Monaco and her music, go to

Got an email from organist/pianist Brian Charette which reads "I'll be doing a Clinic at UConn March 6 & 7, and I'll be playing Mar 8th at Shish Lounge in West Hartford 7-10pm, and Mar 9th is at the Hartford Rd. Cafe in Manchester Ct 7:30-10:30pm with Frank Varela. Frank and I used to play in a Band called Street Temperature that was popular in Htfd like 20yrs ago!  Then I'm hosting the Jazz Night at Black Eyed Sally's (in Hartford) on Mar 10."  

Charette, a native of Meriden, CT, (and graduate of Platt High School) who's been in New York City for 2 decades, has 2 new CDs out plus is featured on the brand new CD from saxophonist Mike DiRubbo.  All are worth hearing (reviews are forthcoming) and each is as good as the other.  One of them is his first release for Posi-Tone Records. Titled "Square One", Charette works with guitarist Yotam Silberstein and the always dynamic drummer Mark Ferber.  When I spoke with him, Charette was highly complimentary of Posi-Tone label heads Mark Free and Nick O'Toole - he loves the sound of this music and I don't blame him.  Recording engineer O'Toole has a great understanding of how to make the drums sound natural and also how to mix so that each instrument is heard at its optimum.  

For more information about the Shish Lounge, go to or call 860-986-7698. For more information about the Hartford Road Cafe, go to or call 860-646-1044.  For more information about the Jazz Night at Black Eyed Sally's, go to or call 860-278-RIBS (7427).  

I'll be talking with both Amanda Monaco (11:30 a.m.) and Brian Charette (12noon) Sunday March 2 on WLIS-AM 1420 and WMRD-AM 1150 (online at 

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