With a father who played piano and a mother who danced, Joe Gransden’s childhood home was full of music.
No one was surprised Gransden grew up to be a musician.
The 38-year-old vocalist and trumpeter says his 2-year-old son, Joseph Anthony, is also growing up surrounded by sound. Gransden’s wife, Charissa, is a classical flautist and music teacher. The family lives in Atlanta.
Gransden is amazed by his son’s sense of rhythm. “He can sing,” he said. “He has amazing pitch.”
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Gransden and his trio will perform with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at Tuesday’s My Jazzy Valentine concert.
Tuesday night, he and his trio will play romantic songs like “My Funny Valentine” and “I Wish You Love.”
He’ll also play “Close to My Heart,” that he co-wrote with Kenny G.
“I want to keep it exciting, romantic and happy and fun,” he said of the concert.
Gransden went to college for two years in New York, where he was born, and then joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. After a year on the road, he went to Georgia State University and graduated in 1998.
Gransden decided to make Atlanta his home in 2001.
Besides his trio, he also has a 17-piece Big Band that he performs with.
Gransden wants to find ways to draw younger audiences to jazz music.
He says artists like Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble are popular, but Gransden only hears their songs on the radio at Christmas.
“They’re very, very talented, and get music to tons and tons of people. But you can’t find them on the radio,” he said.
Gransden thinks once children are introduced to jazz, they enjoy the genre.
Though he’s been playing instruments since childhood, his first singing gig was in 1999. He was playing at a club and the club’s owner asked that he get a singer.
“I told him I’d be happy to hire a singer,” Gransden said. “I asked for another $75 to get a singer. He said no.”
So Gransden went home and learned to sing two or three songs.
His first singing performance was rough.
“I was horrible,” he said. “I was shaking.”
That was in 1999. Now, singing comes a lot easier.
He has 10 CDS available, and he’ll sell three on Tuesday at the RiverCenter’s Bill Heard Theatre lobby.
Several years ago, Gransden got a call from actor/director Clint Eastwood.
“Somebody sent him one of my CDs, and he liked it,” Gransden said. “He hired me for a private party in Monterey. I played golf with him and we kind of hit it off. I’ve been out there tons of times.”
Eastwood, a well-known jazz enthusiast and composer, uses a lot of jazz as soundtrack material for his films. Gransden is hoping one day, he can be heard in one of Eastwood’s movies.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed,” he said.
A few years ago, when Gransden was playing a private party, he met Kenny G.
“Someone suggested we play a song together,” Gransden said. “I was very excited. I think we played ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’ We really connected and became great friends.”
Gransden did a smooth jazz CD, and Kenny G produced it.
“It was a dream come true,” Gransden said.