Joe Gransden, King of Cool 4

Café 290 explodes with his sound

Joe Gransden is a 47-year-old trumpeter and singer who has been performing for crowds in Atlanta and across the country for more than 20 years. He performs almost six nights a week and has been influenced by Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra, and has released over a dozen records as a solo artist.

As a band leader, you play the trumpet.

My grandfather was an amazing trumpet player in New York City. He played with all the famous bands back in the day, like the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Whenever he and my grandma would come visit, I would hear him practice and I fell in love with the sound of the instrument. I always tell people that I knew very, very early on what I was going to be doing forever.

We’re glad Café 290 in Sandy Springs is your home.

 

Café 290 has been an iconic jazz club since the 80s. I’ve been playing there regularly for almost 9 years with my 16-piece, Joe Gransden’s Big Band. It’s a dinner theater atmosphere—with two sets with my 16-piece orchestra. We’ve had lots of special guests: Clint Eastwood came in one night, Vanessa Williams was here one night, some famous comedians have come in. It’s our home base.

 

Who are some of your favorite collaborators?

 

I have worked for Clint Eastwood quite a bit and became friends with him over the years. Kenny G is also playing on my new record, Go Getta. I got to write and record with him at his house in Malibu, California.

 

I read that you didn’t start singing until later in life. What made you decide to start singing with the band?

 

I didn’t start singing until I was about 26 years old. I was playing twice a week steady at a great Italian restaurant downtown and the manager told me that he liked the band, but we needed to hire a singer. My father’s a great piano player and singer so he taught me a few songs and we gave it a shot and it worked out.

 

What’s the jazz scene in Atlanta like?

 

There is a very strong jazz scene here in Atlanta. It’s a very positive scene. There’s a lot of great players here from all around the country. The scene is strong. There’s a handful of clubs to play at. But there is also tons of work–corporate parties, weddings, special events, house concerts, everybody is working a lot. We did over 300 gigs last year.

 

What’s next?

 

June 3-8 is my Jazz Camp for young adults and children called Joe’s Jazz Camp. We’re in our second year.

“There is a very strong jazz scene here in Atlanta. It’s a very positive scene. There’s a lot of great players here that are from all around the country…”