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Jerry Granelli (1940–2021), drummer for “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

by Linnea Crowther

Jerry Granelli was a jazz drummer best known for playing in the Vince Guaraldi Trio for the classic TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Musical career

Granelli played with the Vince Guaraldi Trio for several years in the 1960s, including while the trio recorded the music for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” He was paid $120 for the recording. Granelli was also a session drummer, playing on songs including the Grammy-winning “You Were on My Mind” by We Five. Granelli became part of the group Light Sound Dimension in the mid-‘60s, an arts collective blending music with a light show, who toured with the Grateful Dead. He continued to record and tour frequently, releasing solo albums and forming the Jerry Granelli Trio.

Granelli on recording “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

“It was really simple. I wish I could make up a great wonderful story about the art coming from the heavens or something, but it felt pretty simple. And honest. Vince always demanded we played our hearts out. We played our best. But that music is simple…when I play it live, we really play it, man.” —from a 2017 interview for Aquarium Drunkard

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Tributes to Jerry Granelli

Full obituary: St. Albert Today

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