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Trumpet player returns for Arts Council show
The Joe Gransden Quartet is set to perform Friday at The Arts Council for the first time in five years. Gransden has been playing trumpet almost his entire life after being influenced by his father and grandfather — both musicians themselves.


"Green Dolphin Street" off Joe Gransden's album, "Plays and Sings"

Joe Gransden Quartet
Part of The Arts Council's Evenings of Intimate Jazz series
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: The Arts Council's Smithgall Arts Center Depot, 331 Spring St., Gainesville
How much: $25 per person, including drinking glasses, ice, coffee and light snacks
More info: 770-534-2787

A trumpet player familiar to some jazz enthusiasts is returning to Gainesville on Friday night after a five-year absence, along with three back-up players.

The Joe Gransden Quartet is set to perform at 8 p.m. as part of the Arts Council's Evenings of Intimate Jazz series.

It's a setting the lifelong musician particularly enjoys.

"I like when you're right on top of the people and you can really interact with them and feel their energy," said the 36-year-old New York native, who has lived in Decatur the past 12 years.

"Sometimes you play these big jazz festivals outdoors and you're 500 feet away from the audience, and you can't get the same vibe you get with the intimate clubs and atmosphere."

Gransden, who'll be joined on stage by bassist Neal Starkey, guitarist Randy Honea and drummer Clay Hulet, will perform
at the Arts Council's Smithgall Arts Center Depot at 331 Spring St.

The jazz series runs from October to May, with the next show, featuring the Havana Son Trio on May 22, as its last of the 2008-09 season.

Gransden will mix playing the trumpet with singing, a dual role he has employed in his recording as well.

He has released seven CDs and is about to release a new project, this one produced by smooth jazz legend Kenny G.

"I got to open up for him at a party for Clint Eastwood last year," Gransden said. "Kenny and I did a song together and he decided to help me out with my career."

Gransden's singing voice has been compared to that of Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra.

"When I first heard Joe five years ago, I immediately thought of Chet," said 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."

Gransden said he grew up playing trumpet, having musical influences right at home.

"My father is a great piano player and a great singer," he said. "And my grandfather played the professional trumpet with all the big bands in the 30s and 40s. He kind of got me started on the trumpet."

After high school, Gransden went on the road as a sideman with the Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller orchestras.

Later, he put a group together and started singing.

"I usually travel with a quartet, sometimes a quintet," Gransden said.

As for his music styles, he favors sounds in the vein of Baker and late trumpet legend Miles Davis. "I love the straight-ahead jazz and hard bop, and my singing is from that same bag."

As for Friday's concert, the audience can expect some originals and standards.

"I have a great group with me," Gransden said. "... So we'll be up there swinging and doing our thing."

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