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CMA Jazz on Main Kicks off with Special Guests Maria Howell and Joe Gransden

Howell, Gransden, and the Noel Freidline Trio Pay Tribute to Sinatra, Cole, and Wilson

Friday, September 16, 2016 | 7 p.m.

The Columbia Museum of Art is proud to kick off its 2016-2017 season of CMA Jazz on Main with a special tribute to Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, and Nancy Wilson. Held in the CMA’s Dubose-Poston Reception Hall, the concert features Maria Howell, Joe Gransden, and Noel Freidline. The trio, along with Billy Thornton on bass and Al Sergel on drums, will perform classics such as “Luck Be a Lady,” “Nice ‘N Easy,” “Hit That Jive Jack,” “Orange Colored Sky,” “Never Will I Marry,” and “Guess Who I Saw Today, My Dear,” along with a host of other classics.

“Launching our third season of CMA Jazz on Main, I couldn’t be more excited or proud of how the series has grown,” says Freidline, renowned musician and artistic director of the concert series. “Columbia has been amazingly supportive and enthusiastic.”

Vocalist Howell is back by popular demand. Best known for her role as the choir soloist in the 1985 Oscar-nominated film The Color Purple, she is a captivating, dynamic performer, combining an endearing stage presence with a musicality rarely heard in vocalists. A Gastonia, N.C. native, Howell has been known to leave audiences mesmerized with her powerful, sultry, smooth voice, mixing R&B, gospel, and soul into her renditions of jazz classics.

Trumpeter/vocalist Gransden brings his smooth vocals, dynamic instrumentalism, and sly wit. He has been described by distinguished actor and director Clint Eastwood as “a young man with an old soul and a classic voice.” The New York native has become one of the premier jazz performers in the Southeast. Last year, he released an album of Rat Pack classics entitled Joe Gransden: Songs of Sinatra and Friends.

Freidline rounds it out with his exhilarating pianism, smart vocals, and easy smile. Based out of Charlotte, N.C., Freidline and his band have opened for many jazz legends, from Dave Brubeck to Rosemary Clooney. His repertoire brings out the best of every subgenre of the jazz world, including swing, show tunes, and everything from soulful and edgy reinterpretations of Patti Page to Africanized arrangements of Simon & Garfunkel. The Noel Freidline Trio’s sound is characterized by sophisticated arrangements that always retain a playful element of spontaneity.

“CMA Jazz on Main is expanding to five concerts this year,” says Freidline. “To give it the right momentum, we decided to bring back two charismatic performers who brought the house down last year. Both Maria and Joe combine the best of both worlds: entertainment and artistry. And they do it with seamless delivery and riveting stage presence. I couldn’t be more excited!”


Upcoming concerts in the 2016-2017 season:

  • Tribute to Dave Brubeck – Friday, November 18, 2016
  • Gypsy Jazz with Andy Page and Matt Williams – Friday, January 20, 2017
  • Tribute to the Modern Jazz Quartet featuring vibraphonist Jon Metzger – Friday, March 24, 2017
  • Bassist and Vocalist Nikki Parrott – Friday, May 12, 2017


Doors open at 7 p.m. | Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. | Cash Bar.

Season Tickets: $140 / $100 for members

Individual Seats: $35 / $28 for members / $5 for students

Premier Table Seating:

$300 6 guests & 2 bottles of wine

$200 4 guests & 1 bottle of wine


For more information about Noel Freidline, visit noelfreidline.com.

To learn more about Joe Gransden, visit joegransden.com.

To learn more about Maria Howell, visit mariahowell.com.

Tickets and program information can be found at columbiamuseum.org.

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