Shannon Gunn : Gunn’s Ablazin’ Review, fiery bone work here
Shannon Gunn is a Washington D.C. based composer, educator, and trombonist. Gunn earned her Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and also attended James Madison University and Michigan State University for her music studies. She also runs Jazz4Justice, a non-profit based out of Fairfax, VA. Jazz4Justice creates collaborative partnerships between the legal community, the business community, the music community, and Universities to raise funds for Legal Aid (pro bono civil case legal assistance for low-income individuals) and music scholarships. Gunn started Jazz Girls Day DC, in collaboration with the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, to empower young women to pursue jazz without boundaries from gender. Gunn is releasing a new album titled, Gunn’s Ablazin’. The twelve tracks on the project showcase Gunn’s latest writing, arranging, and playing and features the Firebird Trio and the Shannon Gunn Quintet.
“Orange Noise” is the second song in a two-song presidential suite composed by Gunn and is dedicated to all the lies on Twitter. The track features the Shannon Gunn Quintet, which is Chris Barrick on vibes, Garrett Gleason on guitar, Mikel Combs on bass, and Kelton Norris on drums. Opening with Gunn setting up the groove on her trombone, the group layers in to form a highly original melody of counterpoint. The straight-eight groove forms the pad for Gunn’s full and authoritative trombone sound to dance over during her solo. Combs’ bass solo is active and deep in the pocket. Morris’ solo is a flurry of sticks on skins as his solo continues into the last statement of the melody. The energy of the quintet is excellent, and Gunn’s composition is enjoyable and fresh.
“Carried Away” is a smart arrangement of a popular tune by the artist H.E.R. and features the Firebird Trio. The Firebird Trio is Gunn on trombone, Hope Udobi on keys, and Kelton Norris on drums. Udobi’s stabbing chordal figure supports Gunn as she plays the melody. The trio has a vibe, and they perform in a relaxed manner with deep listening. This setting is perfect for Gunn’s melodic and imaginative style. She never overplays or loses focus from the groove and the importance of melodic flow.
Gunn’s Ablazin’ is a beautiful collection of Gunn originals and imaginative arrangements of tunes from a wide range of musical styles. The inclusion of the two groups, Firebird Trio and Shannon Gunn Quintet, gives the music orchestral colors and also shows Gunn’s versatility in both settings. Gunn is doing good both on and off the bandstand. Gunn’s Ablazin’ is an album to get!
August 1, 2019
Jazz to the Bone Records