NJO winter concert: cold night, hot band

njoJust in time for Valentine’s Day, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra brings its winter concert “Hello Young Lovers” to Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. Featuring guest vocalist/trumpeter Joe Gransden and Nashville jazz singer Annie Sellick, the Feb. 9 concert will be both exciting and romantic, a combination that will surely please big band jazz lovers, young and old.

gransdenBased in Atlanta, Gransden has been called the man who “sings like Sinatra and plays like Marsalis,” winning audience and critical acclaim for both his hard bop approach on the trumpet and his smooth and easy vocals.  Joining NJO for tunes like “Charade” and “I Remember You,” Gransden will have ample opportunities to showcase his diverse talents.

“Joe is just great. He can sing, he can play…it’s going to be a great concert,” said Jim Williamson, NJO director.

Dynamic and entertaining, Sellick will join Gransden for several duets, including “Takes Two to Tango,” à la Ray Charles and Betty Carter.  With not only a great voice and an ear for improvisation, Sellick’s fun-to-watch stage antics have solidified her position as a favorite performer in the Nashville jazz scene, as well as in other cities.

sellick“Annie actually goes down to Atlanta and has worked with Joe and his big band before, so they have a bit of a rapport,” said Williamson.

This concert is the NJO’s third of four yearly artist-in-residence concerts at the Blair School of Music. With a carefully crafted program, and two guest artists, Williamson promises to kick things up a notch from their weekly performances at the Commodore Grille.

The NJO is an 18-piece big band made up of primarily studio musicians. The members collectively have worked on approximately 500 Grammy-nominated projects, and these polished musicians present a studio-perfect sound onstage.

“[There is a] pristine quality associated with their involvement in the studio, yet there’s such a Southern edge to the feel that’s just Nashville,” said Williamson. “It’s a great combination.”

Mark your calendar for this big band concert, and be sure to get there early. With 18 of Nashville’s best jazz players, two amazing guest artists, and no advance ticket sales, the line may be out the door for this event.

If you go

Nashville Jazz Orchestra performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9 at Ingram Hall, 2400 Blakemore Ave. Tickets are $20 adults, $15 seniors at the door.

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About Lindsay George

Lindsay George is a native Nashvillian and is an avid supporter of the Nashville arts community. She has two Bachelor's degrees from Belmont University in Music and Public Relations. A musician and songwriter, George has released three albums and has had songs featured in several TV shows including “The Finder” and “Californication.” She is also an active member of Historic Nashville, Inc., and is an advocate for historic preservation and restoration. George reviews jazz and pop music, design, architecture and fashion.