The Hennessy 6:
Sean Schafer Hennessy – Trumpet
Cully Joyce – Tenor Sax / Alto Flute
Colin McAllister – Guitar
Brad Bietry – Piano / Keyboards
Jason Crowe – Acoustic / Electric Bass
Chris Gaona – Drums
* Special Guest Krista Joyce – Vocals (Pneuma, Stacy’s Arabesque)
with the the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony – Gary Nicholson, Conductor
Bringing its unique jazz voice to the bandstand as well as the orchestra, the original music of the Hennessy 6 spans the gamut seamlessly through intricate arrangements and orchestrations that showcase the band’s versatility and virtuosity.
Collectively, the band’s members have appeared alongside numerous luminaries of the music world, including Dave Liebman, Maria Schneider, Joe Walsh, Ernie Watts, John Faddis, Wycliffe Gordon, Vince Gill and Amy Grant.
Composer and Trumpeter Sean Schafer Hennessy is one of America’s most gifted composer/ instrumentalists. Since winning major competitions since his twelfth year, he remains a brilliant protege of the renowned Wynton Marsalis. Beginning his trumpet studies at age ten, Sean made his concerto debut three years later with the Colorado Symphony. Sean has performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall, appeared as a guest soloist at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and moved audiences with his appearance on the Public Radio International’s “From the Top”.
The National Alliance for Excellence Award, conferred on Sean, caps a string of honors, including the International Trumpet Guild Young Artist Award, and winner of the National Trumpet Competition. Sean is also one of the gifted young composers who contributed to Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration, providing his Theme for the Mars Millennium Project. Recruited by Maestro Marin Alsop to perform the lead in “Journey Into Jazz” written by Gunther Schueller, Sean dazzled the audience with emotion.
Sean is currently composing in Hollywood.
The new album from The Hennessy 6, this one with The Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, conducted by Gary Nicholson, features all original material composed by band members Sean Schafer Hennessy, Cully Joyce and Colin McAllister. The opening track, “Pneuma,” written by tenor sax and alto flute player Cully Joyce, begins with some beautiful, contemplative work by Brad Bietry on piano. After a couple of minutes, the other musicians come in, and the piece takes on a different flavor, becoming quite lively and exciting at moments. The liner notes contain some brief thoughts on each track, and regarding this piece, they tell us, “In ancient Greek medicine, pneuma is the form of circulating air necessary for the systemic functioning of vital organs,” which of course feels relevant these days. This track features the addition of vocals by Krista Joyce in certain sections, which feels pertinent and integral to the theme. Then “Haunted Eyes” commands our attention from its intriguing opening, and soon becomes a sexy, timeless, bluesy number, that basically oozes Cool. There is even an excellent bass solo by Jason Crowe in the second half. This one was composed by trumpet player Sean Schafer Hennessy, and is one of my personal favorites. Of course the bass also plays an important role in “Funky Winkerbean,” which, as its title promises, is a funky tune. That track also features some wonderful work by Colin McAlister on guitar. And hey, is that a little nod to the “Axel F” theme toward the end? And then the briefest of nods to theme of The Twilight Zone? That’s followed by a gorgeous love song, “O & D,” which features some wonderful work on both trumpet and alto flute. Then “Desert Fever” features some great work by Chris Gaona on drums. “Dos Mil Uno” is the only track on the album written by Colin McAllister, and it begins with some interesting work on guitar, and becomes a rather exciting number, one that feels alive and contains some surprising moments. I love that groove toward the end. The strings then open “Stacy’s Arabesque,” a rather sweet number, and play an important part in the overall vibe and style of the piece. The strings likewise begin the disc’s title track, which closes out the album. At its beginning, this one feels like standing on some high plateau, and seeing the whole world open before you, its beauty, its majesty. And then we start our journey, and the work begins, a groove is developed, and we are immersed in the process. This album was released on January 29, 2021.
-Michael Doherty’s Music Log