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.

Bullettes to Perform September 20th At Castleton


This is a cross posting to my other blog for my all-woman big band, Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes.
The Bullettes are busy this month! 
We hope you can join us this coming Sunday, September 20th, to kick off the Castleton in Performance series at the Castleton Theatre! This is a very prestigious event and we are extremely excited to perform there. 
At Castleton, the theme is to encourage young people in jazz. We will feature Caeley Niess (recognize that name?) on trumpet playing “Portrait of Louis Armstrong.” Yup, you read it right. We also have Jazz Academy All Star Ingrid Winkler on Baritone Sax joining us for a rousing rendition of “Moanin’.” Finally, I am super excited to invite Catie Story, Sam Sandler, and Dan Lyster-Mensh from Fauquier High School to the stage to help fill out our band for Nestico’s arrangement of “Fly Me To The Moon.” It will be a swingin’ affair! I have really enjoyed working with all of these high school students. The concert will benefit the Fauquier High School band program and will feature a history of jazz in the concert, topped off with originals by band members. I am extremely happy and blessed to get to play with such amazing musicians! Not to mention we have Sarah Hughes flying in from Boston, Miki Yamanaka coming in from New York, the amazing Jessica Boykin-Settles on vocals – you get it, the list goes on and on! Please check out our roster below!
Here are the details:
Sunday, September 20th
4 – 6 pm
Castleton Theatre House
7 Castleton Meadows Lane, Castleton, VA, 22716
(Please note: there is no cell data service out there)
Tickets are $20 to $40 and can be purchased here:
We will also be on the Morning Show at CBS in Richmond, VA on Friday, September 18th, at 9 am, to promote this upcoming Castleton performance! I am excited to bring in Adi Meyerson and Miki Yamanaka from NY as well as Jessica Boykin-Settles, Lydia Lewis, Alex Flanagan, and Caeley Niess to perform on TV! Many thanks to my folks for putting up the band!
Additionally, we’ll be going into the studio on Wednesday to record some tunes for our upcoming album, “Bullettes and Friends.” We will be releasing this album on Saturday, October 10th, at the Durant Center in Alexandria, VA, presented by Nomadic Jazz. Tickets are $25 in advance and $33 at the door. Anyone who purchases an advance sale will get a complimentary copy of the CD. We will make a limited run! I am extremely proud and excited to present new original music to you all. Here is the link for ticket pre-sales: .
We hope to see you soon! As always, please feel free to hit reply and let me know how you are doing!
Keep swingin’!
Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes
September 20th:
Jessica Boykin-Settles, Vocals
Sarah Hughes, Alto
Halley Shoenberg, Alto
Michelle Acton, Tenor
Megan Nortrup, Tenor
Alex Flanagan, Bari
Mike “Bags” Davis, Trumpet
Cheryl Terwilliger, Trumpet
Caeley Niess, Trumpet
Kirsten Warfield, Trombone
Shannon Gunn, Trombone
Miki Yamanaka, Piano
Cyndy Elliott, Bass
Savannah Harris, Drums
Ingrid Winkler, Bari sax, Rockville MD
Catie Story, Trumpet, Fauquier HS
Sam Sandler, Trombone, Fauquier HS
Dan Lyster-Mensh, Fauquier HS


Bullettes Septet at the Carlyle Club wsg Danielle Wertz May 20th!

septet_bullettesjazz.jpgSorry for the cross posting, but I wanted to update my website to include an upcoming Bullettes gig with my all-female jazz band. We are playing at the Carlyle Club on Tuesday, May 20th, with a special vocal guest on summer break  – Danielle Wertz! Two years ago, Danielle won the Washington Women in Jazz Festival Young Artist Competition and we are happy to have her back with us with our Septet. We’ll be singing old songs and playing a swing dance groove. This event is sponsored by Gotta Swing and will have advanced swing dancers there. Hope to see you there! The details:

  • Tuesday, May 20th
  • 9:00 – 10:30 PM
  • The Carlyle Club at 411 John Carlyle Street, Alexandria, VA
  • Swing Dance with Live Band
  • Our CD, Bullettes Play Basie, will be available

We have an all star lineup, with a couple of guys to help us out as well, and they are part of the all-stars!

and our friends

Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes

Steeped in the tradition of the masters yet forging ahead with a style all its own, Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes is the new all-star, all-women jazz orchestra based out of the D.C. area. Laid back but hard swinging, the Bullettes bring all generations together to enjoy a dynamite performance. Listen to their music, join the mailing list, and be the first to know when they will play again! If you’d like to know more, please visit their website,, or email Ms. Gunn at jazztothebone [at]