Born: June 21 Primary Instrument: Guitar
FOR PERFORMANCE INFORMATION CHECK http://thejazzman.tripod.com/gigs.html or call (856) 577-7812.
DICK GRATTON started playing guitar professionally in the fifties and has performed primarily in the Central New Jersey area. He has played with many jazz groups and vocalists during the past 50 years at many area night clubs such as the Greenwood Grill, the Mill Hill Saloon, the Tremont Lounge, the Centre House Pub, the Urban Word Cafe and Marsilio's Restaurant in Trenton NJ, the Nassau Inn in Princeton NJ and the Farnsworth House and Bordentown Yacht Club in Bordentown NJ.
IN ADDITION to his night club appearances, Dick has performed in concert at the Trenton NJ Mill Hill Playhouse, the New Jersey State Museum and the Jazz and Blues Showcase Series in Medford Lakes NJ, led jazz groups at annual dinners for the American Federation Of Musicians Of Trenton NJ, played at many of Trenton's official functions such as press conferences, annual Trenton Preservation Awards ceremonies and Heritage Days Festivals and played in a six piece jazz group at the 1998 Trenton Jazz Festival at Waterfront Park in Trenton NJ opening for legendary jazz performers pianists David Benoit and Alex Bugnon, Latin pianist Eddie Palmieri and vocalist Oleta Adams with special guest Richie Cole on saxophone. Dick has also performed with the late great jazz guitarist Tal Farlow in guitar workshops in Philadelphia PA as well as jazz clubs in Philadelphia PA and the Jersey shore. Influenced by guitarists Gene Bertoncini, Tony Mottola and Wes Montgomery and pianists Bill Evans, John Coates Jr. and Dick Braytenbah, Dick has been performing solo for the most part since 1999, appearing regularly at many area night clubs and private events between Baltimore MD, Harrisburg PA and upstate New York and New England.
UNLIKE MANY MUSICIANS, you will not hear Dick try to pack as many notes as he can in a measure of music. His style of playing has been described as laid back and articulate - the kind of mainstream jazz that consists of original, colorful and unusual arrangements yet retains a recognizable melody and doesn't challenge the nervous system.
OBSERVATIONS include Philadelphia area vibes and percussion artist Randy Sutin who states, Dick Gratton is sort of in the Tal Farlow mold with his acoustic guitar with his own unique way of doing things. He knows a million tunes and he doesn't sound like all of the other guitarists. Vic Bodine, a music columnist for the Trenton NJ newspaper The Trentonian noted in 1971, Dick Gratton gives one the impression that when he entered this world, he had that jazz guitar with him.
CURRENT ENGAGEMENTS - Friday and Saturday evenings Dick performs original solo jazz guitar arrangements at the Chambers Walk Cafe at 2667 Main Street in Lawrenceville NJ 08648. Sets are from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM. For additional engagements, check the current engagements section on Dick's website at http://thejazzman.tripod.com/ or check the engagement calendar below.
AREA JAZZ WRITERS and fellow musicians alike agree that Dick Gratton is definitely one of the guitarists you should try to hear.
This past Saturday I was fortunate enough to share the stage for a brief time with jazz guitarist Dick Gratton. Dick performed with Kevin Toft as I provided percussion support for the two of them. Gratton held the audience practically spellbound with his smooth stylings. Friday nights at 6:00 p.m. Dick Gratton performs live at the Chambers Walk Cafe located on Main St. in Lawrenceville. Take the family out for some tasty treats and enjoy the sounds of this local legend. - Danny Coleman, The Trentonian - Trenton NJ - May 17, 2012
...jazz guitarist Dick Gratton, from Bordentown. I used to play jazz guitar and this was the real deal, and better yet, he took requests, including 'Waltz For Debby' and 'Manha de Carneval', two of my favorite tunes. I was hooked. - Cliff Moore, The Montgomery News - Montgomery Township, NJ - May 2, 2008
Well known for his articulate melodic compositional interpretations, Mr. Gratton's style is much different from the prevailing atonal qualities of modern jazz guitar. - Josh Appelbaum, The Princeton Packet - Princeton NJ - June 2, 2006
Gratton: quiet, big hands caressing and coaxing resonating notes. This is warm music. Leave the cold outside, on the streets of Trenton. - Joseph Sapia - from liner notes of the Evelyn Anderson-Dick Gratton CD recording YOU REALLY DON'T KNOW ME - October 28, 2000
There's a subtlety to Gratton's playing that can best be appreciated in small jazz clubs... - Richard J. Skelly, US1 - Princeton NJ - August 16, 2000
NOTES FROM JAZZ FANS - - -
Hello Dick -
Just a quick blast to let you know just how much we enjoyed your performance last night at the Chambers Walk Cafe. Although Donna and myself are mostly familiar with the jazz style of Russ Freeman and David Benoit, we weren't prepared for last night's experience. Both of us recognized just about every piece that you played, but your arrangements were off the scale - to put it mildly!
Toward the end of the evening, when I stood off to the side watching you spin your magic, the visuals proved to be as interesting as the music. A master at work.
As I proofread this it does appear to be an exercise in accomplished smoke blowing. However, even if you were Hitler incarnate, we'd have to give the devil his due - great is great. Luckily for us, you're a good guy to know.Fifty plus years of experience without the attitude that generally accompanies it.
We'll be seeing more of each other, Dick, as my schedule permits. I'm sure that your working with others should be just as entertaining as your solo performance last night.
Keep it alive my friend -
Rich and Donna - (via e-mail) - June 2, 2007
Dear Dick -
My friends and I had dinner at Chambers Walk, and all of us truly enjoyed your beautiful music! You are an amazing talent - you enhance the meaning of the music for the listener in a way that is so rare these days!
Best wishes and continued success to you in these trying musical times (as a vocalist, I can only boast a few meager gigs in 2009! I certainly miss the 80's, and the continuous five gig weekends!).......The next time we dine at Chambers, I will be sure to say hello.
Deborah - (via e-mail) - November 18, 2009
...You can do more with six strings than most piano players can do with two hands.
Linda - jazz vocalist - (via e-mail) November 30, 2009
Dear Dick -
Adrian and I want to thank you again for the beautiful music you provided at our reception. It was just what we hoped it would be and we had many compliments from our guests about how much they enjoyed it. It was perfect.
Ruth and Adrian - (via US mail) December 8, 2009
My wife and I heard you for the first time last Friday night at the Chambers Walk Cafe. We had a great time and your music made the night even more special. Upon leaving the cafe I mentioned that I wanted to buy your CD. Please know, however, if I played my guitar just a fraction as good as you, I would ask how much you charge for a lesson.
In closing, my wife and I are looking forward to our next dinner at the Chambers Walk Cafe and hearing you again.
Dean - (via US mail) December 22, 2009
Dick Gratton is playing tonight at Chambers Walk Cafe! Great food and live jazz in a cozy setting - now that's how to spend a wintery evening!
The Lawrence Voice - (on Facebook) January 7, 2011
Thanks for a fine program last evening. It was very enjoyable. The music was a good fit for a Valentine's holiday program, as I hoped. I greatly appreciated the turnout, which was larger than usual. The fact that most who attended remained for both sets, suggested that they also enjoyed the program. Hope you, Linda, Dennis and Dick were pleased with the evening as well.
Thanks again for doing the show and for being part of the series.
Russell - Jazz and Blues Showcase (via e-mail) February 13, 2011
Dick, we so enjoyed your playing and Linda's singing. The true art of the guitar accompaniment. Your harmonies were refreshing. Hope to see you and hear you soon.
Darla - vocalist - (on Facebook) - September 3, 2011
Great show at Cedar Gardens last night. Thanks for the lesson.
Kevin - guitarist - (on Facebook) - December 16, 2011
... Dick Gratton a super ... jazz guitarist. Man he played like a well oiled machine he was amazing ... used a vintage hollow body Gibson.
Mike - drummer - (on Facebook) - January 14, 2012
Hey you were great everyone loved listening to you play. You were professional. Even Vince Martell from the Vanilla Fudge band famous from the seventies many hits on the radio gave you many compliments. And Vince being an icon and famous guitarist who travels around the world playing that's saying something. Man you are great guitarist glad to see you play.
Mike - drummer - (on Facebook) - January 15, 2012
Great night of live music last night. Dick Gratton at the Cedar Pub.. That dude is a monster guitar player.. I'm a big DG fan from here on out.
Frank - guitarist - (on Facebook) - March 2, 2012
When you get a chance...make sure you go see a Dick Gratton solo performance. You will be amazed..
Frank - guitarist - (on Facebook) - April 1, 2012
Stopped in to Cedar Pub tonight on the way home from some of my own band stuff and Dick Gratton was playing. SUCH A PLEASURE TO LISTEN TO AN ARTISAN OF HIS INSTRUMENT. It was like a library in there. So quiet. No one wanted to miss one note. He is one of the area greats, no not area greats, just greats!!! You gotta go hear him play to hear a master of melody chord progression playing. (I don't know what else to call it). It's just nice to hear someone who can just sit down and play the guitar ALONE, with no backup. Pure beautiful guitar playing.. And this is coming from a guy (me) who has been playing guitar for 46 years!!! Nice job Dick!!!
Gary - guitarist/bassist - (on Facebook) - September 14, 2012
Best Jazz Guitarist in the area, hands down.
Matt - guitarist - (on Facebook) - October 28, 2012
Is your brain almost overheating while you play like that? Doesn't seem possible for you to coast through any song on autopilot, since you're handling chords, bass notes and melody. It really is exceptional what you do.
Jeff - bassist - (via e-mail) - January 1, 2013
Tonight (Thursday) the incomparable Dick Gratton is with the fabulous Linda Lee at Cedar Gardens Pub in Hamilton for an evening of smooth jazz and great music. Gratton is second to none and Linda Lee is an amazing talent; together they are near perfection on stage. Stop on out, have a cocktail and hear some fantasticly talented musicians.
Danny Coleman, The Trentonian - Trenton NJ - February 21, 2013
Misty - One of my favorite songs too. That was the first time Dick Gratton and I EVER did that tune together. It was totally off the cuff, and we weren't even sure what key to do it in. But Dick Gratton is a master, so no worries. He said, Just sing, and I'll play around you.
Bob - vocalist - (on Facebook) - March 3, 2013