"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 was there to hear Big Band Jazz? What are you kidding? No joke. This was not your Grandfather's music. There were no bubble machines or light blue tuxedos with ruffled shirts. This music performed in top form by Atlanta jazz sensation, trumpeter and vocalist Jand Joe Gransden along with his Smoking 16 piece big band.
For anyone interested in catching the hottest new 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. Music starts at 8:30pm. During the June 1 show, the excitement in the room 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.
Cafe290 owner Mr. John Scatena was smiling all evening beaming from the full house and enormous 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 not until 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 get a friendly Atlanta "ya'll join us" reply.
Bruce Pulver, www.jazzreview.com