6

Shannon Gunn: On A Mountain

BY

Sign in to view read count
Shannon Gunn: On A Mountain
Across the years, vocalist Shannon Gunn's raison d'être was the stage. A mainstay of the Canadian jazz scene for several decades, both as an influential educator and performer, she staked her claim in front of countless audiences and acquired plenty of admirers in the process. But when this respected musician passed away in July of 2020, there was little left behind to document the kind of beauty she delivered on a regular basis. Gunn never released an album under her own name during her lifetime, so this offering serves as both a posthumous corrective and a memorializing debut.

On A Mountain, recorded in 2002, finds Gunn fronting an A-list combo, featuring pianist (and lifelong friend) Renee Rosnes, bassist Neil Swainson and drummer Billy Drummond, and adding several guests to the roster—trumpeter Brad Turner and tenor saxophonist Pat La Barbera on five tracks apiece, and percussionist Rick Lazar on one. The program presents nine numbers—one Rosnes gem, three of the leader's originals, five canonical covers—and each leaves a lasting impression. Opening on her own "From You," Gunn proffers sophisticated balladry with supreme class. Then she tackles "Carla's Blues" (a.k.a. Carla Bley's "Sing Me Softly of the Blues"), enhancing the ultramarine undercurrents in the song and offering space to the horns; dials it back for Rosnes' "In The Moment," which finds Turner and the composer sharing the spotlight; works a swing scene on the old chestnut "Wild Is Love," fully investing herself in the lyrics and briefly putting wordless vocals on display; and reaches the set's midpoint with Broadway-turned-jazz classic "I've Grown Accustomed To His Face," reimagined as an intimate duo performance with Swainson.

The four numbers that follow prove just as inviting as those that precede them. The Gunn-penned title track, a waltz which capers and soars, is moving in more ways than one. Antonio Carlos Jobim's "A Felicidade" finds the quartet bouncing over to Brazil for a bit of fun (which includes Lazar's low-mixed percussion). "Mean Joe," the last of the leader's written contributions, takes inspiration from Thelonious Monk and his musical dialect. And Cole Porter's "Everything I Love" closes things out in serious style. An album that speaks both to life's impermanence and fine art's longevity, On A Mountain stands tall in every way.

Track Listing

From You; Carla's Blues; In The Moment; Wild Is Love; I've Grown Accustomed To His Face; On a Mountain; A Felicidade; Mean Joe; Everything I Love.

Personnel

Shannon Gunn - Vocalist: voice / vocals; Rick Lazar: percussion; Renee Rosnes: piano; Billy Drummond: drums; Brad Turner: trumpet; Pat La Barbera: saxophone; Neil Swainson: bass, acoustic.

Additional Instrumentation

Rick Lazar: percussion (7)

Album information

Title: On A Mountain | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Cellar Music Group

Post a comment about this album

Listen

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Svevning
Fredrik Rasten
Shadow Plays
Craig Taborn
Room 118
OSU Jazz Orchestra
Live at the Village Vanguard
Christian McBride & Inside Straight
My Astorian Queen
Martin Wind Quartet
Piano Blossoms
Marcos Ariel

Popular

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.