Performer of the Week: Amanda Monaco

am-20 smallAmanda Monaco has performed at venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, Jazz Standard and Flushing Town Hall, and with artists such as Milt Hinton, Matt Wilson, and the Mingus Orchestra.

Amanda is a co-founder of the Queens Jazz OverGround, a collective that stimulates a wider of awareness of Queens as an important destination for live jazz, cultivates a diverse local audience, and enriches the cultural life of the borough.

“The goal of the monthly jazz jam is two-fold: we strive to provide an atmosphere where musicians can come together to make music in an uncompetitive, fun way (as opposed to those famous “cutting contest” type of sessions),” she says, “and we invite the audience to be part of the music-making process by listening and experiencing the artistic process from their seats.”

This Wednesday, July 1, the QJOG will be leading this month’s Jazz Jam (as they do one a month, year-round), which you can learn more about here (And if you can’t make it, mark your calendar for the next ones on August 5th and September 2nd).

“Our musicians have been as young as middle school age to age 91! We have a wide variety of people sitting in on the sessions and having a wonderful time making music together. Our audience is just as varied, and we have our regular patrons who never miss a session. It’s a beautiful community event, one that we are honored to be a part of.”

Amanda has released five albums and her current jazz projects include her quartet Deathblow, the collaborative quintet Playdate and chamber jazz trio Mo-Fi-Co. Her Pirkei Avot Project performs her original music with lyrics from selected verses of the Pirkei Avot, a collection of rabbinical teachings compiled in the third century C.E.

An educator since 1990, she is an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, where she teaches private instruction, labs and ensembles. Her book, Jazz Guitar for the Absolute Beginner (Alfred Publishing), is available worldwide.

Amanda also is the Artistic Director of Convergence Arts, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to share the art and fun of improvisation with people of all ages.

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