Jazz music loses a legend as Jerry Granelli passes away in Halifax

An "intrinsic part" of the Halifax Jazz Festival since its inception, the Jazz drummer may be best remembered for playing on the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas with the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Legendary Jazz drummer Jerry Granelli passes away at age 80. Photo: Halifax Jazz Festival.
Legendary Jazz drummer Jerry Granelli passes away at age 80. Photo: Halifax Jazz Festival.

Jazz music has lost a legend as famed Jazz artist Jerry Granelli passed away at his home in Halifax on Tuesday. Granelli was an integral part of the local music scene, including his longtime support of the Halifax Jazz Festival.

Calling him an “intrinsic part” of the Halifax Jazz Festival since its inception, organizers of the annual festival say it “would not be what it is today, due in part to his passion, commitment and belief in the power of art to change people’s lives.”

Establishing the festival’s Creative Music Workshop in 1996, alongside Don Palmer and Skip Beckwith, the program became a central component of the Halifax Jazz Festival, and Granelli had put on a workshop as part of this year’s festival just a few days ago.

The award-winning Jazz drummer, who moved to Halifax in the 1990s, was a member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio who recorded the soundtrack to what would become one of the most endearing and enduring Christmas animated television specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Granelli parlayed his memories into a concert performance, the aptly titled Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmasrecreating the music and telling stories about how it all came to be. Touring extensively with the one-person show, Granelli’s annual performance in Halifax was also a fundraiser for the Halifax Jazz Festival.

The post on Granelli’s Facebook page states he was already making plans for new recordings, to produce a play about his life and looking forward to performing Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas this coming December in Halifax.

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