All-woman jazz or­ches­tra kicks off Castle­ton in Per­for­mance

Rappahannock News - - FROM PAGE ONE • EVENTS -

Shan­non Gunn and the Bul­lettes, the only all­women jazz or­ches­tra in the Washington, D.C., area, kicks off the fall-win­ter sea­son of Castle­ton in Per­for­mance at 4 p.m. Sun­day, Sept. 20, with a con­cert rang­ing from big-band ren­di­tions of jazz clas­sics to world pre­mieres of new mu­sic at Castle­ton’s Theatre House.

Shan­non Gunn and the Bul­lettes is a full jazz or­ches­tra com­posed com­pletely of women, a group that came to­gether in 2010. Since that time, they’ve been en­ter­tain­ing au­di­ences with jazz sounds of the past, present and fu­ture. The con­cert will ben­e­fit the mu­sic depart­ment of Fauquier High School, in War­ren­ton, en­abling the school and its 150 stu­dent mu­si­cians to ben­e­fit from new sheet mu­sic, guest con­duc­tors and master classes.

The con­cert at Castle­ton in­cludes old-time fa­vorites and new mu­sic, “which might even in­clude a new tune com­posed on the spot,” Gunn says. The for­mer in­cludes tunes made fa­mous by Benny Good­man, Duke Elling­ton, Count Basie, Ella Fitzger­ald, Nat King Cole and Thad Jones. The lat­ter is by com­posers from D.C., New York and Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing com­po­si­tions by band mem­bers as well as groove ar­range­ments of pop­u­lar tunes, such as an ar­range­ment of a Ra­dio­head tune that switches be­tween 12/8 and 10/8 each mea­sure.

“Our group is all about men­tor­ing women and young peo­ple in jazz,” says Gunn. “We want to up­lift women in jazz, to cre­ate net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for fe­male and young jazz per­form­ers, and to pro­vide in­spir­ing role mod­els for the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of jazz.”

“Shan­non Gunn and the Bul­lettes have a way of bring­ing to­gether gen­er­a­tions of jaz­zlov­ing au­di­ence mem­bers and of at­tract­ing new, young au­di­ences to this clas­sic Amer­i­can style of mu­sic,” says Bur­nett Thompson, di­rec­tor of pro­gram­ming for Castle­ton in Per­for­mance.

Trom­bon­ist and band­leader Gunn is also heard on stage fre­quently with Bo­hemian Cav­erns Jazz Or­ches­tra and has per­formed with Harry Wat­ters, Jim Car­roll, Kenny Rit­ten­house, Billy Tay­lor, Wycliffe Gor­don and other jazz greats. She is the mu­sic tech­nol­ogy teacher at Wood­bridge Se­nior High School in Wood­bridge, Vir­ginia.

Castle­ton in Per­for­mance’s 2015-2016 sea­son in­cludes an Oct. 11 show by Mar­garet Leng Tan — named “queen of the toy pi­ano” by the New York Times — per­form­ing on toy pi­anos and all man­ner of toy in­stru­ments. Nov. 8 brings the Smith­so­nian Jazz Master­works Or­ches­tra, joined by Elling­ton bi­og­ra­pher Ed­ward Hasse, in a multi-media per­for­mance about the life, times and mu­sic of Duke Elling­ton.

Tick­ets for the Sept 20 ben­e­fit con­cert ($20 to $40) avail­able at 866-974-0767 or castle­ton­fes­ti­val.org.

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