Monnette Sudler

Just One Kiss

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Like Chicago and Boston, Philadelphia is full of jazz musicians who are well-respected locally but little-known outside of their hometown. A perfect example is guitarist/singer Monnette Sudler; though she's been active on the Philly jazz scene since the 1970s, Sudler hasn't had much exposure in other cities. And unfortunately, she has only recorded sporadically over the years. Though the Philadelphian is quite capable of being cerebral and abstract, Just One Kiss is essentially a commercial pop-jazz/quiet storm outing. Sudler is obviously going after the NAC market on mellow, gentle mood music that ranges from instrumental versions of Major Harris' "Love Won't Let Me Wait" and the Johnny Gill hit "My, My, My" (written by Babyface) to jazzy R&B/pop vocal offerings like "Something Has Come Over Me," "Misunderstandings," and the title song. Although Sudler is a better guitarist than vocalist, her singing has improved over the years. Sudler is no Phyllis Hyman, but her vocals are likable enough on this 1998 release. Nonetheless, the fact remains that guitar playing, not singing, is her strong point -- and on the complex fusion number "A Word to the Wise," she reminds us how strong her chops are. But that track isn't typical of the CD on the whole. For the most part, Just One Kiss isn't among Sudler's more challenging releases, but it's generally pleasant, if unremarkable. And considering how sporadic her recording career has been, one was glad to see her getting into the studio at all in the late '90s.

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