Review Roundup for Gunn’s Ablazin’!

The reviews are in! We received some wonderful reviews from Gunn’s Ablazin, and I wanted to share them with you below.

“Both very artistic and also providing social commentary, the incredible talent present makes it quite easy to see why Gunn was voted Best D.C, Trombonist in two separate years. Similarly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Gunn’s Ablazin’ finds itself being one of the best jazz albums this year.”

“The result is attractive earworms rather than distracting devices and gestures, as well as dancing melodies, insistent rhythms and wonderfully satisfying harmonies all of add the element of unusual textures…”

“But what is creditable is that Miss Gunn has managed to create music that is melodically, harmonically and rhythmically accessible even as it incorporates harmonic devices that are dissonant and on distortions and rhythmic ones that are based on principles of arrhythmia… In Miss Gunn’s case she achieves this with her quintet principally by employing the use of the metallic, wafting, glassy and oscillating, drifting and ethereal voice of the vibraphone, and the mindful tintinnabulation of the Fender Rhodes in the other group configuration; both of which instrumental relationship(s) is set against the rumbling, gruff smears and bellows of her trombone, glued together with rolling bass lines and the rattle and hum of drums.”

“This popular Washington D.C. jazzer isn’t afraid to take on a less likable D.C. denizen, the President, as her protest songs, “Babes In Cages Are Not OK” and “Orange Noise” attest. She’s so cool.”

  • Mike Greenblat’s Rant N’ Roll

“More than her instrumental prowess, this captivating recording also highlights Gunn’s superb musicianship and the relevance of her work both creatively and in the civic sense.”

“Gunn’s energetic improvisation balances buttery smoothness with an understated growl while bassist Mikel Combs lays down a muscular groove with swagger. “

“Gleason and Barrick’s contemplative conversation is delightfully dissonant and dovetails into Gunn’s extemporization with its fiery growl and pensive notes. The simultaneously irate and elegiac group performance is haunting as it shimmers and glows within a dramatic atmosphere. “

By HRAYR ATTARIAN at All About Jazz

“A snazzy set that opens the ears nicely, this is a listening date sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as your try to keep up with what’s going on. Smart throughout, it’s never to smart for the room with displays for the sake of display. Actually, dis plays! Well done. “

Midwest Record

“Here, where there is depth of sound, the expected overwhelming of the soundscape does not happen. Instead, warm, flexible notes are used to play up each song’s theme, leaving audiences surprised in a good way.”

“… the almost buzzy blend of trombone and keyboard is as relaxing as it is interesting…”

The Jazz Page

Jazz Weekly Blog

Jazz Square Russia

In a Blue Mood Blog

Many thanks to Kari Gaffney of KariOn Productions for her support in promoting the album!

Washington Post Review of Monday night’s Blues Alley CD Release Celebration

I was over the moon to play my new music Monday night, August 5th at Blues Alley with a stellar cast of musicians! Many thanks to Mike West of the Washington Post for the review of the performance, which was printed in the Style section on Wednesday. As my music evolves, I am so thankful to have the support of the DC community behind me, cheering me on as I break out as an artist. I have received so many anecdotal messages, from social media and folks in various circles. I have been so busy getting my album together, it is really gratifying to receive such positive energy upon its release. Thank you everyone!

Here is the link:

Photo credit Astrid Riecken.

Search Gunn’s Ablazin’ on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, Amazon, or Google play and listen/download to your hearts content! Thank you for your support of my music!

CD cover photo credit Tim Gunn

New Album “Gunn’s Ablazin” is out! Download now!

Gunn’s Ablazin’ new album out now available on all streaming services! This album features the Firebird Organ Trio and the Shannon Gunn Quintet. Please stream and download it today! Liner Notes below!

Apple iTunes:

Amazon Music:


Spotify coming soon

Liner notes:

1. Orange Noise: This is the second song in my two song presidential suite. Dedicated to all the lies on Twitter. So orange! [SG Quintet]

2. Missing Perspective: This song was inspired Kara Walker’s “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)” exhibit. It aims to bring to light the missing perspectives in the history books. [SG Quintet]

3. Babes in Cages are NOT OK. This is my protest song, children are still being separated from their parents, through smoke and mirrors, at the behest of the US government tax dollars. [SG Quintet]

4. Ellen: Written as a gift for (and inspired by) my friend Ellen, jazz hugs! [Firebird Organ Trio]

5. Ms. Cheverly: inspired by the mother of my good friend, Amy K. Bormet, for her unwavering support of women in jazz. This one is for Alice in Cheverly! (Maryland) [Firebird Organ Trio]

6. #canigetpaid: The song title is a hashtag, and it’s dedicated to Adams Morgan. [Firebird Organ Trio]

7. Cruash: When you crash into a crush, or crush into a crash. [SG Quintet]

8. Dinah: Seattle Grunge meets DC Go Go in this 1926 classic, Dinah – performed as you’ve never heard it before. [SG Quintet]

9. Carried Away: In the effort to make jazz relevant again, this is a cover of a popular tune by the artist H.E.R. Gotta get those streams up! [Firebird Organ Trio]

10. Gymnopedie #1: This is a cover of a classical song from 1888 by Erik Satie. [Firebird Organ Trio]

11. Cycal: This is a tune I wrote as a gift for my Father. His name is Calvin, and he is an avid cyclist, thus the nickname Cycal. He has biked across the country twice! The song simulates going up and down the hills on a bicycle. [Firebird Organ Trio]

12. Rainbow Connection: this arrangement was inspired by the passing of Aretha Franklin. [Firebird Organ Trio]

I hope you enjoy each tune!

Image of Shannon Gunn, download Gunn's Ablazin' today.

The Stories Behind the Songs: Gunn’s Ablazin’ (August 2019 Release)

Shannon Gunn will release her sixth album as a leader, and second album as a solo artist on Sunday, August 4th. The album, which tells a story and celebrates her writing, will feature two ensembles, recorded on two separate dates at BIAS studios by Brian Rivera (mixed, mastered, and produced by Shannon Gunn):

  1. Firebird Organ Trio featuring Hope Udobi on Keys and Kelton Norris on Drums
  2. Shannon Gunn Quintet featuring Chris Barrick on vibes, Garret Gleason on guitar, Mikel Combs on bass, and Kelton Norris on drums.

If you listen to the album in track order, each song tells a story. Read below for the stories behind the songs!

  1. Orange Noise: This is the second song in my two song presidential suite. Dedicated to all the lies on Twitter. So orange! [SG Quintet]
  2. Missing Perspective: This song was inspired Kara Walker’s “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)” exhibit. It aims to bring to light the missing perspectives in the history books, especially in the United States. [SG Quintet]
  3. Babes in Cages are NOT OK. This is my protest song. It is absolutely unacceptable that kids are being separated from their parents at the border. It’s still happening, through smoke and mirrors, at the behest of the US government tax dollars. [SG Quintet]
  4. Ellen: This is my jazz hugs song, designed to be listened to after you hear Babes in Cages. Written as a gift for (and inspired by) my friend Ellen, isn’t she wonderful? [Firebird Organ Trio]
  5. Ms. Cheverly: I was listening back to one of my live shows, and heard this very overt group of cat-callers and whistlers in the back of the room. I realized this was the mother of my good friend, Amy K. Bormet, with all her comrades, and she deserved a song for all her support of Women in Jazz. This one is for Alice in Cheverly! (Maryland) [Firebird Organ Trio]
  6. #canigetpaid: Yes, the song title is a hashtag, and yes, it’s dedicated to Adams Morgan. Sweet, then angry. [Firebird Organ Trio]
  7. Cruash: When you crash into a crush, or crush into a crash. (They don’t teach you that in school!) [SG Quintet]
  8. Dinah: Seattle Grunge meets DC Go Go in this 1926 classic, Dinah – performed as you’ve never heard it before. [SG Quintet]
  9. Carried Away: In the effort to make jazz relevant again, this is a cover of a popular tune by the artist H.E.R. Gotta get those streams up! [Firebird Organ Trio]
  10. Gymnopedie #1: This is a cover of a classical song from 1888 by Erik Satie. Often played by beginning pianists, I love the overlapping phrases, odd harmonic structure, and potential for synergy within the harmony. A Firebird classic. [Firebird Organ Trio]
  11. Cycal: This is a tune I wrote as a gift for my Father in 2012. His name is Calvin, and he is an avid cyclist, thus the nickname Cycal. He has biked across the country twice! Ocean to ocean! This tune flips between a double time swing feel and funk, and depicts the ups and downs of the hills while biking. [Firebird Organ Trio]
  12. Rainbow Connection: I wrote this arrangement of the tune, made popular by Kermit the Frog in the early 1980s, directly after Aretha Franklin’s passing. Her music inspired so many, and she was absolutely amazing! [Firebird Organ Trio]

I hope you enjoy each tune! Coming soon! I’ll add audio clips once I get them up.

What it Takes – Lead Sheets

Alright. I’m doing it. Self-publishing 100 songs in 100 days. Follow me and download freely.

What it Takes is a tune I wrote in the aftermath of the November 2016 election. This song, “What it Takes,” is dedicated to the leadership of Barack Obama. It’s about what it takes to become president, to pull a country out of recession and charge it forward. People don’t become president by accident, their journey starts in childhood with leadership, community, speaking, writing skills. Leadership is an art, and Barack Obama was awesome at it. This song is dedicated to the ability to keep us out of war. I truly loved this president, and cannot say enough how he has helped us as a nation.

Below is the link to the sheet music and a video of our performance from that awesome fun night. Please follow, subscribe, donate, and I’m happy for you to download the PDF and share it, play it, talk about it freely!

Hope you enjoy!

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What it Takes Lead Sheets (includes Eb, Bb, and C parts)

Clicking the link above will ask for your email address, then I ask that you donate $4 or more using credit card, optional. (honor system) Minimum donation is set to $1.00. Upon donation, you will be automatically directed to the PDF music sheets, 14 pages, with parts for C, Bb, and Eb instruments. It may take up to 30 seconds. Please email me if you have any problems! Thank you for your support! I am on gmail as jazztothebone. IF the donation poses a problem for you (example, you are under 18 and don’t have a credit card yet), please email me and I’ll send it to you personally. Use jazztothebone at gmail. I would love for other folks to play this tune!

For Immediate Release: The Washington Women in Jazz Festival Presents Jazz Girls Day DC

for high school and middle school students

Saturday, March 30th, at 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
John Calvin Presbyterian Church in Annandale, VA

With Special Culminating Free Concert Led by Women Jazz Musicians Featuring Women Jazz Composers

4:00 pm

John Calvin Presbyterian Church in Annandale, VA

(ANNANDALE) — The Washington Women in Jazz Festival is honored to present the first ever Jazz Girls Day DC workshop and concert on Saturday, March 30th, at John Calvin Presbyterian Church in Annandale, VA. The day will begin with workshops and tutorial lessons for student musicians. The day will culminate in a student led jam session followed by a free concert open to the entire community. The events will take place at John Calvin Presbyterian church at 6531 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003, where there is ample free parking.

            Jazz Girls Day is open to Middle and High School students who identify as women or gender non-binary. The workshops will be taught by professional women jazz musicians: Amy K. Bormet, piano; Karine Chapdelaine, bass; Shannon Gunn, trombone; Tina Raymond, drums; and Charmaine Michelle, trumpet. Please visit for the bio of each faculty member. Students will be exposed to jazz pedagogy, a friendly jam session, a free concert performed by powerhouse jazz musicians, and will have the opportunity to network with other musicians.

About the Washington Women in Jazz Festival

Created by Amy K Bormet in 2011, Washington Women in Jazz hosts an annual festival (WWJF) each March to celebrate the women of the DC jazz community. Bormet and her colleagues develop, promote and lead a wide array of concerts, jam sessions, lectures, panels, discussions, and master classes.  A highlight of the festival is the Young Artist Showcase, where high school and college women are given a platform to perform and connect with professional jazz artists.

About Shannon Gunn

Hailed by the Washington City Paper as “D.C.’s Best Trombonist 2015” and the DistrictNow Blog as “Best Trombonist 2017,”  DC based Shannon Gunn is known for her exceptional tone and her grandiose project-du-jour. She is currently the artist in residence on Tuesday nights at Columbia Station in Adams Morgan as leader of her band, the Firebird, named “DC’s Best Small Ensemble 2016” by the Washington City Paper. She also runs DC’s premiere all-women jazz orchestra, “Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes,” including successful performances at the Kennedy Center, Castleton Theatre House, DC Jazz Festival, Blues Alley, Washington Women in Jazz Festival, Takoma Park Jazz Festival, Jazz on Jackson Place, Westminster Jazz Night, Great Gatsby Inaugural Ball, Goethe Institute, National Jazz Workshop, Gallery O on H, Bohemian Caverns, and Dardanella.

For more information, please visit:                   

# # #

Press Contact
Shannon Gunn
216-789-5310 |

3 Ways to Show Respect in Jazz: A Woman’s Perspective

Photo Credit Lawrence A. Randall

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend a wonderful panel presentation, “Will Women be the Savior of Jazz?” at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival. This panel was led by Sunny Sumter, Executive Director of the DC Jazz Festival, and panelists included artists Regina Carter and Chelsea Green. The panelists described their experiences as a women instrumentalist on the jazz scene while Sunny asked questions to explore the topic of women in jazz. The topic of respect came up several times, and I am writing this post to give 3 ways we can all show respect on and off the bandstand. I truly believe that jazz is intertwined with social justice, and we should embrace inclusivity, respect, and activism as part of the music of jazz. The good news is, these tips will work for anyone, not just help women in jazz.

Tip #1: Be Early

As a band leader, it took me about 5 years to realize that when musicians were late, it affected my playing. This may sound crazy, but my improvisation chokes up when I’m stressed. Improvising music requires vulnerability – the ability to relax allows thoughts to flow and creativity to inspire. When folks are late, I found myself in a stress ball and more concerned about their well-being than the music. The best thing you can do for yourself as a musician is to be the most reliable, on-time person in the world. Show up an hour early.

Tip #2: Don’t be Weird

If a woman instrumentalist wants to talk about music, don’t treat her any differently than you would a friend. Women instrumentalists are missing out on the camraderie, and this affects their longevity in the profession, development as musicians, and economy of playing. Hire a woman for their playing, and do not objectify them. I have seen women get hired time and time again because dudes were searching, looking, and hoping. I’ve seen women placed in dangerous situations when they think they are going to a “session” but it turns out to be a weird sort of trap. Women play no differently from men, and they should be treated with the same respect you would a brother or a best friend.

Tip #3: Differentiate between Ego and Confidence

I see jam sessions as toxic environments when people cut off someone else’s solo only to take 16 choruses of their own. This annoys the heck out of me, especially when folks don’t know changes. Women get pushed out and off, and that makes it difficult to keep going. At the same time, it’s a two way street – get up on the bandstand with a plan, a solo that arcs, and play music that is interesting enough that folks will want to listen more. To me, this scenario is an example of the difference between ego and confidence. I try to have high self-confidence but low ego. When someone cuts me off, I view them as insecure, with a big ego and low self-confidence. They have something to prove, and need to push others down to get there. Try to work on competing with yourself, plan your personal bests, and let others do their thing. There is no need to insult anyone, make excuses, and create strife. Just do your thing, and let others do their thing too. And keep your solos to 2 choruses at the jam sessions, folks.

What do you think? What are ways we can all create a more respectful environment? Respect for women is beneficial to everyone; it will lift the profession, which will in turn lift the economy of the music, the venues, and Jazz.

2019 – The Year of Apps in Browsers

Recently, I deleted Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter from my phone. I almost immediately felt a lift in spirit, and have not regretted it since. I still have the accounts, just deleted the app, that’s all.

First of all, the invasion of privacy is astounding. Pay close attention to your ads. Have you ever searched for that item? We all know our searches are tracked and then ads are targeted later. If you put an item in a shopping cart online, and then abort, you will get retargeting ads a few minutes later on Facebook.

What really concerns me are the ads for items I did *not* search for.  Our phones are listening and our conversations are constantly mined for “keywords.” Companies pay big money to drill down their advertisements to people talking about a problem they can solve. I’ve seen this happen on my own accounts with large ticket items. Try having a conversation around a few of the following topics, and then pay close attention to the ads you see on Instagram and Facebook. Say the following words aloud.

1. I want to switch careers. I wonder if it would be helpful to have an MBA. I wonder where I should get an MBA. I need figure out what I should do for my career… [keep going, make stuff up]

2. Let’s go on vacation. Hawaii? Costa Rica?

3. I need a new mattress…

4. Honey let’s buy a house

5. Need a new kitchen, bathroom, I need new windows

I would even go so far as to say that these high value keywords are still recorded when the phone is off.

(please note – I am not an expert, just describing what I’ve seen)

Try it!

It’s legal because we agree to this in the terms and conditions.

There is something about these social media apps that causes a bit of jealousy, especially seeing other musicians’ gigs. You might say, but you need social media as a musician? To promote gigs?

First of all, I’m not sure how useful social media is for promoting live shows. It can help propel the wave of marketing, but print and curated media is still king. I would question the effectiveness of social posts. I have seen one, maybe two people come out to a show because they saw a social post, per gig, but it’s never a huge impact.

Facebook Ads do work, but that’s not really a strategy I want to use, if I can help it. That’s more for venues and large orgs.

What posting really does is give cred amongst other musicians, and builds rapport. That’s musician-to-musician business, though, not musician to audience marketing. Musicians are watching each other – checking out new venues, looking for sessions, you know the drill. It’s good for the industry to see what you’re up to. You have to constantly feed your social network and fans with new music (videos, recordings, etc.)

So how does one continue to stay in the eyes and minds of the industry, without sacrificing self-confidence and “FOMOOG” (fear of missing out on gigs)?

The answer, my friend, is to push out social posts with apps in browsers. Simply open Safari or Chrome to the social media site of choice, post your selfie/video/text, and get out. Close the tab. You can post video and pictures to Facebook, and pictures only to Instagram. You can only use IG via browser on your phone, not the desktop. You can view and post to Twitter with your browser. The only one that has been sticky is Pinterest, they force you to open your recipe for the best chocolate brownies in the app. So download and then delete when done.

I am having difficulty deleting Facebook Messenger. I’m not seeing any ads, so I don’t think it’s tracking me (yet), but I’m not an expert. FB Messenger is the most reliable way to reach a lot of folks, and also gives me a way to book people I have met but don’t have their phone number.

Cut the endless scrolling, go get coffee with friends, and cut those social media strings!

Ah, where was I on Instagram stories?

Just kidding!!

By the way, everyone under 25 has figured this out. This post is for us old folks, millennials and older.

For Immediate Release: The 17th Annual Jazz4Justice Concert features a new partnership between George Mason University and Legal Services of Northern Virginia

George Mason University School of Music

featuring a new partnership between George Mason University
and Legal Services of Northern Virginia

Friday, November 16, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas

Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Center for the Arts in Fairfax

 (FAIRFAX)— George Mason University’s School of Music presents the 17th annual Jazz4Justice LIVE! concert and fundraiser on Friday, November 16 at 8 p.m. in the Hylton Performing Arts Center and Saturday, November 17 at 8 p.m. in the Center for the Arts. The events raise funds to directly support vital legal services and the George Mason University Jazz Studies program. Information and tickets are currently available at and

For the first time, Jazz4Justice™ is presented in partnership with Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV), the largest legal aid organization in Northern Virginia. “We are looking forward to partnering with Jazz4Justice™ as well as the entire Mason community to promote justice for a better community by providing civil legal assistance to those facing the loss of a critical need,” affirmed Marcy Kossar, Director of Development for LSNV.

James Carroll, Professor of Jazz Studies and Mason Jazz Ensemble Director, has assembled a stellar musical program for the upcoming Jazz4Justice™ performances. He shared, “we are excited to feature alto saxophone virtuoso Charlie Young, Professor of Music at Howard University and leader/Artistic Director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Charlie is, absolutely without a doubt, ‘the best’. In addition, we will feature amazing student musicians and compositions from Mason’s Jazz Studies Department, and there will be an open jam session hosted by Mason students following each concert. We will also be producing a live recording of the concert. We truly hope local audiences and arts supporters can join us for this wonderful collaboration between Mason Jazz and the legal community.”

Tickets to Jazz4Justice™ at the Hylton Center are available in person at the Ticket Office (open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.), by calling at 703-993-7759, or at Tickets to the Center for the Arts’ concert are also available in at the Ticket Office (open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.), by calling at 703-993 2787, or at

About Jazz4Justice

In 2000, Fairfax attorney Ed Weiner attended a student jazz recital. He was impressed by the music but distressed by the small audience. As the President of the Fairfax Law Foundation, he saw an opportunity for a new partnership – universities would provide the musical talent and the local legal community would provide the audience and sponsors. Today, Jazz4Justice concerts are held throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Thus far, Jazz4Justic has raised over $350,000 for music scholarships and an array of educational and charitable services benefiting Virginia’s local communities. Jazz4Justice has received awards from the American Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar.

About the School of Music

The Mason School of Music is part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Students study with nationally and internationally recognized faculty who are active performers, conductors, composers, music theoreticians, historians, and music teachers. Admission is based on acceptance to the university and audition. The music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

About the College of Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance, Art and Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management, and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 35,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.

About Legal Services of Northern Virginia

Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV), a private, not-for-profit organization, offers free legal services to low income individuals and families, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and victims of domestic violence residing in Northern Virginia. With 7 offices located throughout the region, LSNV completed more than 6,000 cases in 2017 benefitting 15,000 individuals, providing assistance in the following substantive areas:

  • family law, focusing primarily on matters which include domestic violence
  • housing law which includes eviction and foreclosure prevention cases
  • consumer law
  • public benefits
  • veteran’s affairs
  • employment law
  • elder law
  • child advocacy
  • education law with a focus on children with special needs
  • HIV/AIDS Project

LSNV’s mission could not be accomplished without the generous support of the Northern Virginia community. We thank you for your support and invite you to learn more about how we benefit the community at