Featuring Jerry Granelli Trio & El Sistema Aeolian Children’s Choir
In the 1960s, San Francisco-born drummer Jerry Granelli was a fixture on the Bay Area hard bop scene and in psychedelic sessions for such luminaries as Sly Stone. Along with bassist Fred Marshall, he formed the rhythm section in the Vince Guaraldi Trio. In the spring of 1965, pianist Guaraldi was commissioned by CBS to write the music for an animated half-hour Christmas special featuring characters from Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts. A Charlie Brown Christmas went on to become a triple-platinum holiday classic that still ranks in top Christmas album sales over five decades later. The soundtrack is in both the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.
The sole surviving member of the original recording group, Granelli (age 78 – born on December 30, 1940) joins bassist Simon Fisk and pianist Chris Gestrin to revisit the now legendary session in a live performance at Aeolian Hall with accompanying video from the original TV special.
Of course, to fully present A Charlie Brown Christmas, you must have a children’s choir to sing the two signature tunes. For the London, Ontario show, the El Sistema Aeolian Children’s Choir will appear in the 75-minute production and will perform a short opening set.
Since leaving the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Jerry Granelli has maintained a steady recording and performing schedule (with acclaimed work in the avant-garde jazz and free improv veins) as well as holding down various teaching positions, such as the director of jazz and popular music department at the Canadian Conservatory in Halifax, and co-founding (with Susan Hunter) the Atlantic Jazz Festival. In 2017 he released the album Dance Hall on the Montreal-based Justin Time label.
A Charlie Brown Christmas