New Music for a New Day

May 27, 2020

The Bride is excited to announce 14 grants to Philadelphia jazz composers to create new music during this time when artists and audiences have profoundly limited opportunities to occupy the same physical space. We believe that supporting the artistic process and Philadelphia artists as they experiment with new ways to engage audiences is profoundly important work as we re-imagine the new normal for the performing arts. Thank you to the Arthur Judson Foundation for supporting this initiative. If you would like to support the work of Philadelphia artists, you can make a donation at localhost/paintedbride/donate.


Arnetta Johnson is currently composing original music and arrangements known as ‘Netta Bops’. She has been doing home studio work with Kevin Woods under their horn section BopHornz. They’ve been able to record remotely from their homes during the quarantine and provide horn production for artists across the world. Arnetta has also been promoting her debut album “If You Hear A Trumpet It’s Me” which is available on ALL digital platforms.



Brent White is working on the Broken Toy project, a suite of children’s jazz music dedicated to all of those who suffered emotional damage caused by losing a father due to incarceration. Each piece of music is based on a phrase in the poem by Daniel Beaty, Knock, Knock. The suite is also inspired by personal experience–he also lost his father to incarceration and did not meet his father until I was nine-years-old.


Jack Saint Clair is currently writing a concert piece in one movement for a large trombone choir specifically tailored to feature different jazz trombone soloists in Philadelphia. The work explores the versatility and range of the instrument as well as the variety of textures and grooves which can be created with this singular voice.


Tom Lawton has begun writing pieces inspired by some of his pre-quarantine collaborations with Odean Pope, Larry McKenna, Bobby Zankel, Lee Smith, Matt Parrish,and Diane Monroe. Hearing the sound and style of each sends him in various directions which then triggers his own aesthetic, which is completely different from the source. This may end up as a series of Portraits that are tributes. He finds himself drawn to worlds in which Monk, Messiaen, and Bird meet.



Jason Fraticelli is composing and recording a song playing all the instruments and layers. It has a slightly brazilian and spanish rhythm guitar part using a chord progression that he’s been hearing in his head and in love with for a while now. The accompanying instruments include pandero drums, upright bass, layered vocals, and a Puerto Rican cuatro for the solo. He will record the layers in his home studio. He is working on composing the words.


Monnette Sudler is working on a composition and arrangement entitled Birdsong for a Naked Lady based on the artist Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture/installation etant donne at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her arrangement will be composed for 3 voices (2 altos’ and soprano) violin, flute, bass and lead guitar, electric piano and drums.


Marcell Bellinger is working on a piece entitled The Barefoot Walk, one out of a series of both co-writes (he was given a set of words to set to music) and original programmatic music. These creations are to be for a soundtrack for a book that may become a stage play.



Bobby Zankel is composing a 4 movement suite for an octet, titled The Mutual Possession on the Ten Worlds. The music explores a concept of Buddhism based on the idea that life at any moment manifests one of 10 basic conditions on the interrelationship with the environment (hell, hunger, anger, animality, humanity, rapture, learning, realization, Bodhisattva, Buddha).The most profound aspect of this concept is that each life state contains the potential for the other 9, hence Buddhadood exists in hell—or there is bodhisattva anger manifestation. The music is my meditation on this profound thought.


Jake Kaplan is writing a continuation of the first piece he wrote for a large ensemble, The Big Picture is Too Big. The new work, No Frame Could Ever, explores the same question the first piece did, how do I find my place in this world, when I can’t even wrap my head around its size? Since that first piece was written in 2013, he feels that he’s become a very different person living in a very different world, and believes the best way for him to find himself is to keep looking at how he fits into the same big picture.


Craig McIver is currently working on compositions centered around percussion instruments (Timpari, Marimba and Vibes) featuring melodic drumming for a two octave chromatic scale drum set. He is also continuing to write for jazz sextet.



Luke Carlos O’Reilly is continuing to work on his new Black Lives Matter suite. He wrote 9 songs for a small jazz ensemble, including a vocalist and dancer. He completed 3 news songs for the suite, and also rearranged all of the music for just a small ensemble without the vocalist and dancer. He will be ready to record it in the studio once quarantine ends. Although quarantine has limited his ability to make music with others, it has allowed him more than ample time to improve and finalize his suite, and for that, he is thankful.


Jamal Jones is composing an original piece for jazz orchestra which will feature the Vibraphone as a solo instrument and amongst the band as well. He appreciates the color that the vibes provide in jazz music, in various orchestration set-ups, and is looking forward to adding this piece to the repertoire of the Bureau of Sonic Wonderland. He is currently seeking out programs and ways to bring jazz orchestra music together virtually for an online presentation.His fellow composers, in the Composers League of Philadelphia, have begun to meet virtually to discuss the future of the organization during these interesting times. They have brainstormed some pretty intriguing ideas, so please stay tuned and he looks forward to presenting the piece either way!


Will Echevarria is working on a video series of his arrangements for small instrument combinations. This series, entitled Estudios a manera de homenaje, consists of original compositions using different Puerto Rican rhythms (danza, seis jíbaro, etc.) approached through the prism of the classical etude tradition. Combinations include flute and piano, baritone sax and piano, saxophone quartet, and piano solo.




Sumi Tonooka I generally have a thread, or a story, a person, a picture, something that provides inspiration for the music to come forth. But for this project, I’ve started to compose without the story, trusting that it will reveal itself as I am working on the music. I am thinking about trees. Especially the underground, largely hidden network of their root systems which reach out to support and nourish other tree’s. I’ve been thinking a lot about women, and feminine energy and what it is to be a woman in a system of patriarchy. And how my friendships, especially with women, have provided a root system of support in my own survival and growth. I’ve been reading The Overstory, a novel, by Richard Powers. Suggested to me by my friend and writer, Abi Maryan. The book weaves a series of tales inspired and connected by tree’s. It’s giving me inspiration about form in regards to composition.