Cinema Arts Centre - Cinema 1 Sat, Oct 8, 2022 7:00 PM



Saturday, October 8th at 7:00 PM

In Person: Legendary Guitar Maker John Monteleone & Filmmaker Trevor Laurence

Featuring a live Monteleone guitar demonstration by guitarist Steve Salerno

$15 Members | $20 Public

John Monteleone: The Chisels Are Calling is a mesmerizing portrait of John Monteleone, one of the world’s greatest instrument builders. Known by many as a modern-day Stradivari of the guitar, Monteleone is a living artist whose instruments are on permanent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A multi-faceted craftsman, Monteleone builds instruments that are admired not only for their incredible sound, but also for their visually striking and innovative designs. His archtop guitars are sought after by players from jazz to rock, including Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler.

This feature-length documentary looks beyond the technical aspects of lutherie and examines the life, passion, talent and unique approach John Monteleone takes to his art. Starting with his early interest in the craft, when, at age ten, John repaired the dilapidated family piano, then smashed a cheap guitar so he could see what was inside, the film follows him through his realization as a young man that building instruments was actually a job, and on to his launch of a career repairing some of the world’s finest instruments.

Largely self-taught, Monteleone used his background in repair to begin building instruments, both mandolins and guitars, in the traditional style. Once he mastered this he began to innovate and design his own models. The film examines John’s influences including his father and uncle’s artwork, his own interests in Art Deco, architecture, cars, trains, and the work of industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Branching out further Monteleone drew on these influences to create one-of-a-kind themed guitars with names like the Radio City, Sun King, Orange Blossom Special, the Radio Wave and many others.

John’s family and creative roots are in Italy, where we follow him to the northern forests to find the perfect wood for his next projects, and then on to Cremona, known as the city at the heart of violin building. John takes us on a tour through the Museo del Violino where the violins of Stradivari and the Cremonase masters are on display, and explains what can be learned from the old masters’ approach to building, and what must be learned on your own.

Monteleone is paid tribute throughout the film by his musician clients, including Mark Knopfler, Ben HarperDavid GrismanMike MarshallJulian Lage, Anthony WilsonWoody Mann, and others. Mark Knopfler’s performance of his song “Monteleone” includes Mark’s description of how John inspired him to write the song and how the lyrics, which start with “The chisels are calling / It’s time to make sawdust,” came about. (USA, 2022, 90 min, color, DCP / Director and Editor: Trevor Laurence / Producers: Woody Mann & Trevor Laurence / Featuring Mark KnopflerBen HarperDavid GrismanAnthony WilsonJulian LageFrank VignolaJimmy BrunoMike MarshallWoody MannSteve SalernoPaul GlasseMitch WatkinsPaul RicciMafalda MinnozziBob GrilloDon DeMarcoDon KeilingJoe LostrittoHoward EmersonBrian GlassmanSteve CardenasChico Pinheiro)

Image of guitar-maker John Monteleone

Film Poster for The Chisels Are Calling (2022)

STEVE SALERNO (guitar) is an active performer of Jazz and Classical music. He has performed in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, China, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Cuba, Haiti, Russia and throughout the United States. He is a member of the Ray Anderson Organic Quartet (with Gary Versace and Tommy Campbell), Paul Smoker 4-Tet (with Drew Gress and Phil Haynes), Mala Waldron Quartet (with Miriam Sullivan and Michael T.A. Thompson), Blue Pipa Trio (with Min Xiao-Fen & Dean Johnson) a duo with the MET’s lyric soprano, Susanna Phillips, a duo with NY Philharmonic’s principal percussionist, Christopher Lamb and leads a variety of groups, including his Jazz quartet, Exiles.

He has performed with Jaco Pastorius, John Abercrombie, Regina Carter, Mark Dresser, Warren Vache, Peter Erskine and many others. Among his latest recordings are Ray Anderson’s Being The Point, Mala Waldron’s Always There, Paul Smoker’s Cool Lives, and Min Xiao-Fen’s Blue Pipa. He was music director for the PBS special Shoreline Sonata.

He is the author of Planet Wave’s Chord Master (an 8,000-chord voicing dictionary), which was recently voted the number one music application for Apple’s iPhone, and is on the musician’s advisory board for D’Addario Strings.

Guitarist Steve Salerno