'It's A Beautiful Thing!' Liner Notes Bruce Pulver Freelance Jazz Writer and Critic It was a hot July night in Atlanta, Georgia and something even hotter was about to explode. The anticipation among the city's jazz fans was building for months and they showed up to be part of it firsthand. A heightened "buzz" filled Cafe290, the city's top Jazz Club. Inside, the musicians were at ease, yet warmed up their horns rather intensely. Last minute sound preparations were being made. More cables, more microphones, more "check 1-2, check 1-2"' by the audio guys. Tables were filled. Drinks and food were served. The room came alive! WHY? Finally tonight, after a year of standing room only performances, Joe Gransden and his 16-piece Big Band was set to record for a live CD. The music was about to start! Hold on to your hats! "It's a Beautiful Thing" captures an amazing evening of entertainment! Joe and the Band were on fire with their hip, swinging sound. Cafe290 is where it all started. It had to be recorded here. The energy created by the band and the interaction by the crowd made for the perfect setting. When you play this recording, sit back, and soak in the experience of this wonderful evening of jazz performed by one of the finest bands on the scene today. Close your eyes and let yourself go. You might be transported back to that hot July night and land right in the middle of it. 'It's A Beautiful Thing" Liner Notes Bruce Pulver, Freelance Jazz Writer 10/04/2010 A Conversation with Joe After the performance ended, the audience gone and the room quiet, Joe sat down and talked about his music, this recording, the band and the vibe that led to this project. Joe, a big band jazz recording, captured live in a club not in the comfort of a studio, really? Yeah, really! When we began our performances at Cafe290 last year, I could tell that something very positive was happening. When the huge crowds kept showing up, the energy was strong, the musicianship was fantastic, and everything seemed to be working in our favor. Cafe290 club owner, John Scatena and I decided we needed to document this. It was too exciting for us not to. We were having so much fun performing Monday nights to a packed house that was engaged with the music. It was time to record it, release it and spread the word. You and the band have created your own sound. How did that evolve? When I started this band, I wanted to play more than just the stock arrangements. Obviously those arrangements are terrific, but somehow I wanted us to have our own sound. I wanted to take what I do with my quartet and expand it to a full 16-piece big band. We are fortunate that our lead trombonist, Wes Funderburk, is also a fantastic 'It's A Beautiful Thing" Liner Notes Bruce Pulver, Freelance Jazz Writer 10/04/2010 arranger. Wes and I have a great musical relationship. I give him a song, key and style and he writes the arrangement. We hang out and listen to what he wrote. We change it here or there, if needed. He's extremely talented! In just over a year, we have 100+ charts in the book and probably 85% of them are Wes's. We still do some of the stock arrangements because they're so swingin' and we get a lot of requests for them, but it's a thrill to have our own charts to play. You play in many musical settings, how does your big band differ? I do play in a lot of settings, and get asked this question often. I have my own quartet. Recently, I released a smooth jazz record produced by Kenny G. We wrote and recorded some songs together. I have this big band and I often will play with my jazz trio using only guitar, bass and trumpet. So, certainly I am performing and recording in many settings. With this big band I feel very comfortable. I can play my horn, sing, and interact with the crowd, I just feel totally at home in this setting. You and your father, Bob Gransden, co-wrote the title track "It's A Beautiful Thing." What is the story behind this song? The owner of Cafe290, John Scatena, has a catch phrase. He always says, "It's A Beautiful Thing!" We have become great friends and hang
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