Joe Gransden wasn't surprised when actor-director Clint Eastwood strolled into Twain's a few months ago to hear Gransden perform.
Eastwood likes jazz and Gransden is a jazz musician -- a trumpet player, vocalist and band leader. They've been buddies for years, having bonded over music and golf.
Gransden, an Oakhurst resident, chatted with Patch by email about his friendship with one of the most recognizable men in America.
You went to California recently at Clint’s invitation. What was the occasion?
It was Clint's member/guest golf tournament at his private golf club called Tehama. I was Clint's partner in the tourney. The event was called "The Clint." I played all week in the event and also performed a few songs at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday night!
In the golf tournament you played in a foursome with Clint and Bill Murray. Was that a “Caddyshack” experience?
It was. Bill is a very funny guy and a wonderful golfer. I played in another tournament with him a few years ago called "The Eagle." He helped the team a lot and also kept us all laughing. It was a pleasure to play golf with him.
What’s Clint like?
I met Clint a few years ago. I was able to get one of my CDs to him and fortunately he liked it and hired me to play a private party he was hosting in California. He's a wonderful person. Extremely down to earth and laid back. We spent a lot of time talking about the great jazz musicians from the old days like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Chet Baker. He knew a lot of these guys and has some great stories about them.
You hung out together while he was in Atlanta filming “Trouble With the Curve.”
It was a thrill to have him in ATL for such a long time. I got to spend quite a bit of time hanging with him. We played lots of golf at beautiful courses like East Lake and Peachtree Country Club. I also went down to the movie set and watched him work. That was a huge thrill! It was fun seeing people's reactions when we would go to a restaurant or stop at a store. He's so recognizable but it was out of context so people were flipping out. Everyone loves him!
He visited two of your gigs – the big band at Café 290 in Sandy Springs and . Is it hard for him to go out in public?
It was very cool to have him come to our gigs. He said he really enjoyed both of them. The guys in the band really pumped it up a notch when they saw Clint in the crowd. I'm sure it's a bit tough for him to go out and enjoy an evening without being asked to sign autographs and take pictures but I think people have so much respect for him that they try give him his space.
By the way, who won the golf game in California?
Ha, not us. We didn't play great but had a blast! It was an amazing week!