Joe Gransden Christmas Special With Francine Reed
515-B North McDonough St.
Decatur, GA, 30030
Doors 6:15 PM / Show 7:00 PM
At 38 Years old, Joe Gransden has already performed worldwide and released eight CDs under his own name. Renowned first for the hard bop approach of his trumpet, Gransden's singing voice has been compared to that of Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra. "When I first heard Joe nine years ago, I immediately thought of Chet," says Jazziz magazine critic James Rozzi, "but lately his voice has taken on its own style with a deeper resonance. His trumpet has always alternated lyricism with an aggressive, angular approach. He has the ability to cover the gamut of emotions." Joe is from just north of Manhattan, New York. Coming from a family full of musicians, Joe's introduction to music came early on through his father, a gifted singer and pianist. His grandfather was a trumpeter of merit, playing professionally his whole life throughout New York. On his mother's side of the family was the piano virtuoso
"Music has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember," says the unassuming Joe Gransden. "I can remember practicing with my father, and eventually him taking me
along to sit in at jam sessions. Early on I developed a respect for individuals like my father whose lives revolved around music. While still in high school, I knew that music was the life I would choose."
Not long after high school, Joe was on the road as a sideman with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. A number of A.F.M. contracted sideman gigs include Barry White, The Moody Blues, Kenny Rogers, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, The Whispers, etc. Eventually moving to New York City, he performed with numerous groups, including sub work with Toshiko Akiyoshi and Chico O'Farrill at the famous Birdland Jazz Club. Meanwhile, Joe formed his own group, which performed in Brooklyn each week and included the venerable guitarist Joe Cohn and ex-Betty Carter bassist, Matt Hughes. "Having my own group and being fortunate enough to travel, play, and record has been a dream come true," says Joe.
(Over)"Exploring the music with a steady group of great players has enabled me to continually grow." Joe Gransden growing legion of fans around the country have obviously taken
note. In Atlanta, where Joe plays steadily 5-6 nights a week in as many venues, his loyal following includes an array of people from blue-collar workers to upper crust businessmen and businesswomen who all share a love of good music.
Like many developing jazzmen, Gransden's early influences, which include Kenny Dorham and Miles Davis, were easily recognizable in his playing throughout his formative years. "Emulating the jazz greats is always the very first step," says the historically-rooted Gransden. "But obviously, in order to be true to myself—who I am, what I believe in, my family background—I need to have a sound that's my own. It's taken me until recently to hone in on that voice and explore its potential. One of the truly enjoyable things about my career has been finding that my audience appreciates my individual talents."
A widening schedule has found Joe performing the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month at Café 290 in Atlanta w/his 16 Piece Big Band , The Jazz Corner in Hilton Head, South Carolina, The Ritz-Carlton at Reynolds Plantation W/Michael Fienstein, The Museum of Art and Design in midtown Manhattan, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, Ga and Tehema Golf Club in Carmel, California (where Joe regularly plays events for Clint Eastwood). Joe also just released his brand new cd "Close To My Heart" produced by Saxophone great Kenny G. The cd is a collection of smooth jazz covers and originals written by Joe and Kenny. Joe has been performing w/Kenny G and his band around the country for the past year or so. His brand new project entitled "Live At Cafe 290, It's A Beautiful Thing" features Joe singing and playing w/his 16 piece Big Band! The CD and LP have been getting great reviews and lots of airplay around the country.
Born in Chicago and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Francine Reed has had a passion for singing since her early childhood. She began singing professionally with her family's gospel group when she was five. "I always say I was born singing," Reed has said in a biographical release. "I can still remember my first performance when I was a 3-year-old in my aunt's church. I used to listen to rehearsals with her gospel choir and I'd sing 'I Wanna See Jesus' in front of the congregation...It's a natural, God-given talent."
After marrying young, the everyday struggles of life kept Reed from pursuing her dream of singing full-time until her children were older. Fortunately, she was able to sing in local jazz clubs and at various functions in Phoenix. She became known for her powerful voice and commanding stage presence, and delivered an eclectic blend of jazz, blues, and R&B. She was often the opening act for such headliners as Miles Davis, Etta James, Smokey Robinson, and the Crusaders.
In 1985, friends introduced Reed to Lyle Lovett, who was searching for a female singer for his new band. Lovett was still a struggling, virtually unknown performer when they began their association, but as his star rose, Reed became an integral part of his show. Reed began touring with Lovett and his Large Band as a background vocalist, and also often performed duets with the country musician. She was featured with Lovett on several albums, and appeared with him on television shows such as "Late Night with David Letterman," "The Tonight Show," and "Regis and Kathy Lee."
In the mid 1990s, she decided to pursue a solo career and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Here she recorded her debut solo album, "I Want You to Love Me," which featured a duet with Lyle Lovett. Her follow-up, "Can't Make It On My Own," featured a duet with Delbert McClinton. The success of these early works resulted in nominations for the prestigious W.C. Handy Award. (Blues Song of the Year and Soul/Blues - Female Artist of the Year - 1997)
Reed continued to release several solo albums and has collaborated with other great performers, as well. She performed on Willie Nelson's acclaimed album Milk Cow Blues (2000), lending her soulful voice to the title track as well as to the song "Funny How Time Slips Away." She has also contributed vocals to the recordings of Delbert McClinton and Roy Orbison.
Francine Reed has become one of Atlanta's most treasured artists and continues to expand her fan base at venues around the country. For several months out of the year, she performs in Seattle or San Francisco, appearing as the Chanteuse for Teatro ZinZanni. She describes the avant-garde production as "Cirque du Soleil meets dinner-in-the-round, on acid." Reed continually blesses audiences with her amazing vocals and vibrant personality; she is truly a musical experience that should not be missed.