IN A BLUE MOOD
by Ron Weinstock
Shannon Gunn Gunn’s Ablazin’
Jazz To The Bone Records
Trombonist-composer-bandleader Sharon Gunn is a prominent figure in the Washington DC area music scene. She leads the Firebird Organ Trio and the Sharon Gunn Quintet, both of whom are represented on this release, as well as Sharon Gunn and the Bullettes, Washington’s all-women Jazz Orchestra. She has also played with the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and served as a fill-in with the Diva! Jazz Orchestra. Drummer Kelton Norris is a member of the organ Trio and Quintet. Keyboardist Hope Udobi is the other member of the Organ Trio. The other members of the Quintet are Chris Barrick on vibes, Garrett Gleason on guitar, and Mikel Combs on drums. This present release includes compositions arising out of social issues and a few select interpretations of standards.
This is a fascinating recording with her compositions and her trombone.standing out. The opening “Orange Noise” is dedicated to all the lies on twitter and the accompaniment is appropriately agitated with Barrick providing another voice as Norris’ free drum attack adds to the mood. Another composition that conveys an atmosphere of disgust with current events is “Babes in Cages is NOT OK.” Barrick lays out a shimmering layer for the sonic explorations and explosions by Gleason and Gunn. With the trio, she has charming salutes to a friend, “Ellen,” and the mother of another friend, “Ms. Cheverly.” While her husky, gruff attack and soul might seem like not a perfect fit for a ballad, she invests plenty of passion into her performances.
“Cruash” is a peppy quintet number played with swagger followed by an original remake of the old standard, “Dinah.” Taken at a relaxed and funky tempo, the performance of “Dinah” is considerably removed from the heated renditions by such artists as Louis Armstrong and Cousin Joe. The trio is heard in a cover of Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie #1,” with a reflective tone in the performance. A lyrical trio arrangement of “Rainbow Connection” is the final track on a recording of original, intriguing material and imaginative, engaging performances.