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Shannon Gunn: On A Mountain


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Shannon Gunn: On A Mountain
Leave it to Canadian record producer and tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds to discover a hidden gem of an album. Vocalist Shannon Gunn recorded On A Mountain in May 2001 but it languished unreleased until now. Backed by a stellar group of both Canadian and US musicians such as pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Billy Drummond, bassist Neil Swainson, trumpeter Brad Turner, tenor saxophonist Pat LaBarbera and percussionist Rick Lazar, it is an eclectic mix of Gunn originals, and other numbers that are a reflection of her embrace of the American Songbook tradition.

Gunn was based in Toronto at the time of this recording, but had built a reputation as one of Canada's leading jazz singers, with her expressive vocal style and fluency in the jazz idiom. The core of this session are the three original compositions by Gunn; "From You," "On A Mountain" and "Mean Joe." The first number is a ballad, but in an unusual song configuration. Backed nimbly by the trio of Rosnes, Swainson, and Drummond, Gunn delivers an expressive vocal but leaves space for Rosnes to respond with a poignant solo. The title track is offered in a 3/4 time signature and is structured by Gunn on the frame of a fondly remembered childhood skipping song. Despite then pedestrian underpinning, the number has a great melody, and the interjections of Turner, Swainson and Drummond add depth to the arrangement. The final of this trio of originals was shaped by Gunn's attachment to the music of Thelonious Monk. Replete with Monk like quirks, Gunn is in control throughout the interpretation.

The music of Antonio Carlos Jobim has always had an appeal for Shannon, and consequently the decision to lay down Jobim's "A Felicidade" is totally in keeping with that affinity. The trio is joined by percussionist Rick Lazar to drive the bossa beat over which Gunn keeps the groove alive. Rosnes jumps on the bandwagon with a dazzling chorus. The final track is Cole Porter's "Everything I Love" which he wrote for the 1941 Broadway musical Let's Face It. Porter's words and music were generally the personification of worldliness and style. Gunn in her reworking of the material captures the essence of Porter's intent.

Shannon Gunn died on July 31, 2020.

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.


Additional Instrumentation

Rick Lazar: percussion (7)

Album information

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



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