A trumpet player who strives for distinctive musical styling is the catalyst for a group called the Hennessy 6, the featured performer on Friday, Feb. 16 on the live Take 10 during the noon hour on the Gazette News Facebook platform. Sean Schafer Hennessy is bringing three of his group, the Hennessy 6, to perform songs from their first album, "The Road Less Traveled," which dropped in 2017.
Hennessy described his music as if a jazz sextet met an orchestra and had a musical baby. He says the tunes are not classical music, but are original jazz and more.
"We have a New Orleans piece, a traditional ballad, a Latin-inspired piece. We try to give a little bit of everything rolled up into this album," he said.
The album features 75 members of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony backing up the band.
Hennessy said he started out playing the trumpet at age 10 in Colorado Springs, performing his first concerto at 13 and then starting to tour the country and play solos with orchestras. In 1995, Hennessy's mother made sure his music caught the eye of jazz great Wynton Marsalis. She sent someone who worked with Marsalis a cassette to give to the trumpeter so he could hear her son's musical gift.
Marsalis heard the tape and told Hennessy and his parents to look him up when they got to New York City. When Hennessy was 13, he traveled with his family to the Big Apple to take Marsalis up on his offer. They got the address for a rehearsal hall in a rough neighborhood and at first thought they were in the wrong place. Hennessy says something tipped them off that they were in the location that would change his life.
"We went up the elevator and we heard the most amazing jazz music flowing down to us. We knew it was the real deal. Eventually, Marsalis finished his set and walked over to me and my family, introduced himself and asked me to play for him. I pulled out my trumpet and started performing. It changed my life. I've seen and talked with him up to 40 times since that meeting, decades ago," he said.
On "The Road Less Traveled" Hennessy and another member of the group, James Cully Joyce, wrote and orchestrated the majority of the songs.
Hennessy, along Joyce and two other members of the Hennessy 6 will perform jazz live on Take 10 on Friday, during the noon hour on the Gazette News Facebook platform. UCCS Music Program Director Colin McAllister will play guitar. Joyce will be on tenor sax and alto flute. Jason Crowe will play upright bass.
Drummer Chris Gaona and piano player Brad Bietry won't be able to make the performance. If you are like Sean Hennessy and the Hennessy 6 and want to show off your talents, that's what Take 10 is all about. Whatever performing gifts you have, I'd like to hear from you and show off your talent on a future Take 10. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me what you do and you may be a future featured performer on Take 10.