Charlton joined by talented musician friends for special evening of music
● By Steven Hoffman
Pianist Catherine Marie Charlton, a Steinway Artist and Independent Music Awards winner, is being joined by some very talented musicians for an upcoming performance at the Kennett Friends Meeting on Friday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Charlton will perform new music from her latest CD, “Maiden’s Voyage,” with her jazz trio, which includes Steve Meashey on bass and J. Jody Janetta on drums, as well as special guest Elliott Levin on tenor saxophone and flute. All three musicians are featured on the new CD, which is a blend of musical styles that includes everything from a free jazz style to the improvisational and meditative new age compositions that Charlton has become known for during a career that spans more than 20 years.
“I’m really trying to stretch the genre with this release,” Charlton explained. “I’m always an improviser. I’ve always created music in the moment.”
According to Charlton, the seeds for the new CD were planted about ten years ago, when she started moving toward more jazz improvisations.
“This jazz work is something that I’ve been doing in the background for about ten years,” Charlton explained. “It’s been flowing more in that direction. Most of the piano for “Maiden’s Voyage” was recorded in the fall of 2013, but some of the songs have origins that date back ten years. It’s an album of patience for me. It’s just been unfolding in the background.”
Charlton said that bringing the group of talented musicians together for a special evening of music helped secure funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, which aims to bring art to communities throughout Pennsylvania. Additional project support is provided by PECO.
The funding helped Charlton bring together her musical colleagues for this special performance.
Meashey, from Lebanon, Pa., is part of a very musical family—his siblings are all jazz musicians in the region.
J. Jody Janetta, a musician from South Jersey, has been performing professionally for 40 years. Charlton and Janetta have frequently worked together on piano and percussion duets.
Charlton recalled a recent performance where they shared the stage together and Janetta started playing inside the piano and on the piano lid with mallets.
She explained, “On one song he walked to the front of his drum kit and was playing the front of his bass drum with mallets. People were commenting on it on Facebook after the fact and he replied, ‘It’s all about being in the moment and allowing the creative process to guide you. Surrender and trust.’”
Charlton, Meashey and Janetta teamed up for a recent performance as a jazz trio in Delaware. Charlton explained that one audience member said that the music made her think, while another young fan compared the trio’s music to that of respected pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara.
Elliott Levin will add something special to the May 29 performance. Levin has been one of the leading free jazz musicians on the Philadelphia music scene for the last four decades.
“He’s a Philadelphia institution,” she explained.
When Charlton initially applied for the funding, she planned to hold the event at the Kennett Flash. But she needed a piano, and the Kennett Friends Meeting has one, so the performance was moved.
“The space at Kennett Friends Meeting is really great,” Charlton said. “It’s really welcoming.”
She is particularly looking forward to collaborating musically with Meashey, Janetta, and Levin for a performance close to her home in New Garden Township.
The Kennett Friends Meeting is located at 125 West Sickle Street in Kennett Square. Tickets are $10 at the door or online at riverdawn.brownpapertickets.com. Ticket purchases made online include a free copy of “Maiden’s Voyage.” For more information, call 610-638-1058.