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Iconic jazz drummer Jerry Granelli passes away in Halifax, aged 80

Jerry Granelli/Facebook

Famed Jazz drummer Jerry Granelli has passed away at the age of 80 at his home in Halifax.

A post on his Facebook page confirmed the iconic musician, who was well known for playing on the soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas, died Tuesday morning.

Granelli, who was born in San Francisco, moved to Halifax in the 1990s and had a long and celebrated career.

Read more: Halifax Jazz Fest workshop helps nurture up-and-coming local artists

He had recorded over 30 albums and was recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Library of Congress Sound Archives, the Grammy Awards, the Junos and the ECMAs.

He toured various festivals with his show, Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas, which retold the story of his time with the Vince Guaraldi Trio and the recording of the famous Christmas classic.

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Granelli had just held a workshop this past Sunday as part of this year’s Halifax Jazz Festival.

In a statement, the festival said Granelli had been an “intrinsic” part of the festival since its inception.

“This festival 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 and for that we are eternally grateful,” the statement read.

“Jerry Granelli was truly inspirational, and always continuing to work on and push his creative process and exploring new ideas. Halifax Jazz Festival is holding Jerry’s family and friends in our hearts and minds, and will continue to honour and celebrate and carry-on his legacy.”

The post on Granelli’s Facebook page notes that he was already making plans for new recordings, to produce a play about his life and to put on another cross-Canada tour, as well as one in Europe.

“And of course, he was looking forward to performing Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas this coming December in Halifax,” the post notes.

Granelli became ill last December with a case of internal bleeding and had spent two months in ICU. He had recovered enough to return home and had been getting better, “going out for longer and longer walks, going to the Y, making friends with a crew of scooter & walker users.”

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