The early what, gets the what? The riddle is simply to make a point. The early Parker (Charlie Parker as in the BIRD) gets the Frank Sinatra (as in CHAIRman of the Board). From the first downbeat, 8:30pm on Monday June 1st, until the final notes went silent, Cafe290 was standing room only. Why? The crowd came to hear Big Band Jazz? What are you kidding? No joke. This is not your Grandfather's music. No bubble machines or light blue tuxedos with ruffled shirts. The music is performed in top form by Atlanta jazz sensation, trumpeter and vocalist Joe Gransden along with a Smokin’ 16 piece big band. Joe has collaborated with Jazz Orchestra Atlanta to make this a top notch recurring event.
For anyone interested in catching the hottest thing in Atlanta (other than a late August humid afternoon), get to Cafe290 EARLY on the first and third Monday of each month from June - December, 2009. During the first June show, the excitement was contagious. Energy moved among the tables faster than the hustling, friendly wait staff. The buzz infected the bandstand and what came out was a wall of well-rehearsed, creative, powerful sound. The musical menu included original compositions, fresh arrangements of jazz standards, and respectfully delivered traditional works from the Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and Count Basie songbooks. Surprise special guests are also featured.
Cafe290 owner Mr. John Scatena was smiling all evening beaming from the full house and reception given by the appreciative audience. Joe welcomed the crowd, moved through two full sets of music featuring both ensemble and solo playing. These guys are good. But only now has an opportunity come about for big band jazz to be displayed at such a high level here in Atlanta. How good? Come see for yourself. This jazz fan and writer certainly will be back. If you see an empty seat at a table, ask if you can sit, I bet get you'll a friendly Atlanta "ya'll join us" reply.
Bruce Pulver, www.jazzreview.com