Carmen Bradford and Joe Gransden’s 17-Piece Big Band – A Centennial Celebration of Ella Fitzgerald
September 8 @ 7:15 pm - 10:00 pm$30 - $100
Friday, September 8, 2017
LIVE at the beautiful Sonesta Resort SANTEE BALLROOM on Hilton Head Island
A Centennial Celebration of ELLA FITZGERALD
Grammy Award-Winning Artist CARMEN BRADFORD featuring JOE GRANSDEN’S 17-Piece Big Band
$100 VIP TICKETS
6:30 PM ~ VIP Reception with cocktails and tapas in the SANTEE BALLROOM LOBBY
Live entertainment before the concert at the VIP Reception
Reserved VIP seating for the concert
$30 GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS
Doors Open @ 7:15 PM
CARMEN BRADFORD…Born in Austin, Texas and raised in Altadena, California, Carmen Bradford grew up with music in her home and in her heart. It was only natural that Carmen would follow in the footsteps of her great family legacy, being the daughter of legendary trumpeter/composer Bobby Bradford and world renowned vocalist/composer Melba Joyce. Her grandfather Melvin Moore sang with Lucky Millender and Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band in the 1940’s, and sang with the Ink Spots, making Carmen the third generation of incredible musicians. She has carved out a place in music history for herself and is playing an integral role in this uniquely American art form called jazz. Carmen Bradford is Jazz Royalty.
Carmen was discovered and hired by William “Count” Basie, and was the featured vocalist in the legendary Count Basie Orchestra for nine years. She has since performed and/or recorded with: Wynton Marsalis, Shelly Berg, John Clayton along with the Clayton Hamilton Orchestra, Nancy Wilson, Doc Severinsen, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Patti Austin, Byron Stripling, Dori Caymmi, George Benson, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the National Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, The Dani Felber Big Band, Dallas Symphony, Oklahoma Symphony, Vancouver Philharmonic,and countless artists around the world. Carmen performed on two Grammy Award winning albums with the Basie band in the 1980’s and later collaborated on a third Grammy Award winning album, “Big Boss Band,” with guitarist George Benson in 1991. Her soulful voice warmed the hearts of Americans through the celebrated performance of the classic duet, “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” on the “Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson” that same year.
Carmen teamed with singer/composer Kenny Rankin for the Benny Carter Songbook Project making history once again. As Carmen looked around the room she exclaimed “What an honor!” upon seeing many faces of music history involved in the making of this special album. Some notable attendees were Joe Williams, Ruth Brown, Bobby Short, Peggy Lee, Shirley Horn, Jon Hendricks, Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves, among others. Carmen was chosen to sing “Key Largo” for this Grammy Award-winning album. Her performance on “The Benny Carter Songbook” marked Carmen’s fourth studio collaboration reaffirming her stardom.
Carmen began another chapter in her illustrious career as a solo artist with her critically acclaimed debut album “Finally Yours” (Evidence Records) in 1992. The 1995 release of her second solo album, “With Respect,” (Evidence Records) established the Atlanta-based singer as one of jazz music’s most diverse and exciting vocal stylists proving to the world that Carmen Bradford was a unique voice in jazz in her own right. On occasion, Carmen has loaned her talented voice to stage productions and the music of Hollywood films. She sang on the haunting soundtrack for Oprah Winfrey’s “Beloved,” and recently starred in the title role of Duke Ellington’s Folk Opera “Queenie Pie” at the University of Texas, Butler School of Music. Carmen’s 2004 release, “Home With You,” (Azica Records) is a warm and beautiful collection of piano/vocal duets with talented artist Shelly Berg. The album is yet another departure for Carmen, offering her fans a stripped down, intimate portrait of the artist they have grown to love. Carmen Bradford returned to her big band roots with her new 2008 release, “Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA J!azz Orchestra,” featured on Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club. Carmen’s 2015 release, titled John Mills “Invisible Design” Featuring Carmen Bradford is another example of Carmen Bradford’s ability to sing all forms of jazz, be it straight ahead jazz, blues or jazz fusion, and swing it like nobody can. With the first, ever, Christmas album, the 2015 release of the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Directed by Scotty Barnhart, titled ”A Very Swingin Basie Christmas” on Concord Records, with Johnny Mathis, Carmen Bradford, and Ledisi was another first for Carmen as well.
In 2016 Carmen Bradford was asked by South African trumpeter, Darren English, to be a part of his new critically acclaimed Cd, tilted “Imagination Nation, on Hot Shoe Records. Whether it’s a duo concert with Shelly Berg, Big Band with the ladies of DIVA, or her new favorite: performing with symphony Orchestras around the world, Carmen Bradford’s body of work reflects a vast depth of musical experience and technical brilliance. She is also recognized for the overwhelming passion she brings to the lyric. She has truly contributed to the perpetuation and preservation of this Great American art form called jazz.
JOE GRANSDEN is a young man with an old soul and a classic voice. He is a great new talent with a wonderful since of humor to boot. And don’t forget, he plays a hell of a trumpet! – Clint Eastwood, Actor/Director
At 43 Years old, Joe Gransden has already performed worldwide and released 14 CDs under his own name. Renowned first for the hard bop approach of his trumpet, Gransden’s singing voice has been compared to that of Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra. “When I first heard Joe nine years ago, I immediately thought of Chet,” says 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.”
Not long after high school, Joe was on the road as a sideman with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. A number of A.F.M. contracted sideman gigs include Barry White, The Moody Blues, Kenny Rogers, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, The Whispers, etc. Eventually moving to New York City, he performed with numerous groups, including sub work with Toshiko Akiyoshi and Chico O’Farrill at the famous Birdland Jazz Club. Meanwhile, Joe formed his own group, which performed in Brooklyn each week and included the venerable guitarist Joe Cohn and ex-Betty Carter bassist, Matt Hughes. “Having my own group and being fortunate enough to travel, play, and record has been a dream come true,” says Joe.
“Exploring the music with a steady group of great players has enabled me to continually grow.” Joe Gransden growing legion of fans around the country have obviously taken note. In Atlanta, where Joe plays steadily 5-6 nights a week in as many venues, his loyal following includes an array of people from blue-collar workers to upper crust businessmen and businesswomen who all share a love of good music. Like many developing jazzmen, Gransden’s early influences, which include Kenny Dorham and Miles Davis, were easily recognizable in his playing throughout his formative years. “Emulating the jazz greats is always the very first step,” says the historically-rooted Gransden. “But obviously, in order to be true to myself—who I am, what I believe in, my family background—I need to have a sound that’s my own. It’s taken me until recently to hone in on that voice and explore its potential. One of the truly enjoyable things about my career has been finding that my audience appreciates my individual talents.”
A widening schedule has found Joe performing the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month at Café 290 in Atlanta w/his 16 Piece Big Band , The Blue Note in New York City, The Jazz Corner in Hilton Head SC, The Ritz-Carlton at Reynolds Plantation W/Michael Fienstein, The Museum of Art and Design in midtown Manhattan, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, Ga and Tehema Golf Club in Carmel, California (where Joe plays occasional events for Clint Eastwood). Joe also released his cd “Close To My Heart” produced by Saxophone great Kenny G. The cd is a collection of smooth jazz covers and originals written by Joe and Kenny. His brand new project entitled “Songs of Sinatra & Friends” features Joe w/his 16 piece Big Band & Strings Celebrating the music of Frank Sinatra! The CD and has been getting great reviews and lots of airplay around the country.