January Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon Features  Masterful Vocalists Donna Byrne and Giacomo Gates

Sunday, January 13, 2019 & Sunday, January 27th

Press Release

GRANTHAM, N.H., Jan. 19, 2018 – The Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon (JOSA) Series rings in the New Year with performances by jazz singers Donna Byrne on Jan. 13th and Giacomo Gates on Jan. 27th at the Center at Eastman.

The JOSA Jazz Series features a lineup of internationally acclaimed jazz artists –
backed up by Bill Wightman and the JOSA Ensemble – for twice-monthly Sunday afternoon performances of joyous and spontaneous jazz in a cozy nightclub atmosphere.

Donna Byrne is a jazz singer at the top of her game, a true entertainer whose music is fiery or tender by turns. Her powerful voice, energetic personality and ability to draw from her authentic life experiences gives her music a spiritual feel that captivates jazz fans and leading artists alike.

Tony Bennett is one of Byrne’s ardent fans who invited her to open for several of his shows in the U.S. and abroad. He once flew home early from the Super Bowl to catch one of Byrne’s shows. Of her performances, Bennett said: “It doesn’t get any better than this…[she’s] one of the best young jazz singers in the country.”

Byrne has enchanted audiences from L.A. to London at venues such as the Blue Note Jazz Club, Tavern on the Green, The Rainbow Room and London’s Pizza on the Park.

“Donna Byrne is one of the best singers currently on the scene,” writes Jazz Times, “one who approaches her lyrics with both intelligence and swinging time.”

Giacomo Gates, who replaces Richie Cole on Jan. 27th in the JOSA schedule due to Cole’s back injury, has been called “the Dennis Hopper of vocal jazz.” Gates’s life experience is unlike that of other jazz artists; before becoming a jazz artist, he led the gritty life of a blue-collar man’s man.

After driving everything from school buses to cattle transporters to 18-wheelers, Gates ventured into the Alaskan wilderness. He spent 14 years working a variety of jobs, including three years on the Alaska pipeline, doing road construction, operating scrapers, loaders and bulldozers, and driving spikes into railroad tracks in the flatland emptiness of tundra.

The daily risks to life and limb, ranging from heavy machinery accidents and hungry polar bears to the lack of directional guides other than a compass and the sky, had profound impacts on Gates and his artistic expression. “Two things struck me out there,” he says, “feeling insignificant and feeling very alive.”

Since Gates struck out as a jazz vocalist at age 40, he has been described by jazz critics as a “hipster’s hipster and storyteller’s storyteller,” the “owner of joyful baritone” influenced by  “Lord Buckley and Professor Irwin Cory by way of Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks,” and a “jazz troubadour, wordly wise and grand master of scat and vocalese,” and one of the jazz master’s finest living exemplar’s of true grit.”

JOSA shows are held at the Center at Eastman in Grantham, N. H., from 4 to 7 PM., with doors opening at 3 PM. A bistro menu and full beverage selection is offered during all performances by the award-winning restaurant, Bistro Nouveau. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors (62+) and students (-17).  

For reservations, call the Wightsteeple Box Office at 603-763-8732 or 603-381-1662 (cell) or email bill.wightman@nullcomcast.net or visit www.josajazz.com. For reservations after 2 PM on the day of the show, please call the Center at Eastman at 603-863-8000.