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Johnny Mercer Tribute
The Rialto Friday, Feb. 7

2020 January 31
by Susan Asher

Joe Gransden, Grammy-nominated vocalist Tierney Sutton, and the Georgia State Jazz Band will perform the hits and new arrangements of unpublished works by Johnny Mercer. Songs by the singer, composer, and lyricist have won numerous awards and have been recorded by Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and REM.

Between 1939 and 1972, Mercer walked away with four Oscar awards–having been nominated 19 times–and two Grammy awards. His most popular songs include “Jeepers Creepers,” “Old Black Magic,” “Tangerine,” “Goody, Goody,” “Blues in the Night,” and “Moon River.”

Marco Maritz, a master’s degree-seeking student in the Georgia State University Jazz Studies program, created new arrangements for unpublished songs hailing from undated draft lyrics and musical notation on scraps of notepaper. GSU houses and manages the Johnny Mercer Collection, which includes Mercer’s personal papers documenting his life and career.

Leading the band will be trumpeter and vocalist Joe Gransden who has played as a sideman with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. As well as performing regularly around Atlanta with his own big band, Gransden performs in jazz clubs in New York and around the world.

The band’s singer, nine-time Grammy-nominee Tierney Sutton, has received nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album for every project she has released for the last decade. She has headlined at the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. She can be heard on film and television soundtracks, including the Academy Award-nominated film “The Cooler,” and on television commercials (BMW, Green Giant, Yoplait Yogurt, Coke).

Tickets for the Johnny Mercer Tribute start at $20 and are available at the Rialto Center’s box office, by phone (404) 413-9849, or at The Rialto offers a 50% discount to senior citizens and $5 tickets for GSU students.

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