Shannon Gunn (tb), Hope Udobi (keys), Kelton Norris (dr) at a recent recording session February 2019

Groove… that’s what defines Shannon Gunn’s Firebird trio. You might hear a cover from Kermit the Frog on the same set as a Hank Mobley tune mixed in with funk infused originals. No stone goes uncovered as we explore the free, the funk, and the jazz that is in everything. The band started with the mission of giving homage to the masters by performing an entire album every week for a year. The ensemble has evolved into performing originals and free groove, with an open call to sit in second sets.

Shannon Gunn’s Firebird over the years has consisted of:

  • Justin Taylor, keys
  • Kelton Norris, drums
  • Hope Udobi, keys
  • Allen Jones, drums
  • Todd Simon, keys


“Now, having seen that combo play, I can’t help but think, “what took them so long?” The organ and the trombone are a natural fit in terms of range (even with organ doubling as ground bass), timbre, and soul, something for which the ‘bone, with its unique palette of tone colors, has an unheralded knack. Gunn compounds that with a canny melodic sense in her improvisations, somehow tightly thematic and loosely abstract at the same time.

Michael West, Washington City Paper

Posted by Kevin Pickeral on Wednesday, March 9, 2016