Charlie Brown’s classic Christmas jazz

Tales from behind the scenes enhance the musical experience

Jerry Granelli brings Tales of A Charlie Brown Christmas to the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High Dec. 10.

Jerry Granelli is proud of the near five-decade break he took from what is now a holiday favourite, based on the Peanuts cartoons.

In 1965, he was the newest member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, alongside Fred Marshall on bass, that recorded the soundtrack for what was a low-budget, animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas, now a holiday classic.

“I couldn’t see how I could do it with the artistic integrity that is inherent in writing the piece,” he said during a phone interview from Banff amid a cross-Canada tour for A Tale of Charlie Brown Christmas. “Now I could see how to do it. … It is about the piece, all the elements of the show are there, the children’s voices, the choir.”

Granelli crafted his return to A Charlie Brown Christmas, weaving true anecdotes while capturing the original elements and intent of the music. Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas is a peek backward; part oral history, part concert as Granelli regales audiences with stories and insights, providing an insider’s perspective. He’s joined by renowned jazz artists Simon Fisk on bass and Chris Gestrin.

“All the elements from the original show are there, but it’s not that, it’s something else,” he said. “It’s about the people who come because they get to go on the ride together.”

A Charlie Brown Christmas was based on the comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez. It debuted in December 1965 and showcased Charlie Brown, depressed despite the holidays and mocked by his peers. The story also touches on the over-commercialization of Christmas.

“It was underground in its time. To us at that time it was our Farside,” Granelli said. “There is this quality of going against the grain and I think that’s part of the story of telling what happened when the corporate mind looked at it. … They thought it would just disappear. Instead it’s grown and touched generation after generation.”

The Victoria Jazz Society brings Granelli to the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre in Oak Bay after hosting a series of concerts there this summer.

“It’s a great venue. there aren’t any bad seats in the whole house the sound is great,” said Meghan Thompson, of the Victoria Jazz Society. “It’s a good size.”

While Granelli has performed previously in Victoria, it’s a first for Tales of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

The trio performed it for the third time recently in Calgary, and about a third were returnees.

“It’s a new tradition maybe,” Granelli said. “Every time we go somewhere for the first time people don’t now what to expect. … I really don’t know what I’m going to say. I just go out there and say it every night. I said some stuff last night I’ve never said before and may never say again.”

Granelli and his trio spends 90 minutes drawing from the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, sharing the stage with The Victoria Children’s Choir. “We look for every opportunity to provide local musicians opportunities to perform alongside visiting musicians,” Thompson said.

Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas is Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High.

“It’s the classic jazz. It’s one of the few jazz songs that everybody knows,” Thompson said. “You hear ‘Linus and Lucy’ and you know that music. Lots of kids aren’t exposed to jazz and this is one of the ways to bring kids into it.”

Call the Victoria Jazz Society office, Harbour Towers or call 250-388-4423 for tickets, $35 in advance and $39 and more information.

“They’re selling very well so people should come quickly,” Thompson said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: View Royal resident spots cougar in nearby backyard

B.C. Conservation notified about early Thursday morning sighting

Group desperate to find solution to wrecks lining shores of Cadboro Bay

Caddy Bay ‘a wild west’ without authority, say locals

Victoria police arrest two people during ‘tweet-a-long’ Strike Force operation

VicPD offering ‘behind the scenes’ look at the operation

Greater Victoria tourism industry ‘can’t wait any longer’ for financial aid

Saanich mayor, business owners call on provincial, federal governments for tourism-specific aid

COVID-19 demolishes new construction in Greater Victoria

Value of new building permits in Greater Victoria drop more than 37 per cent

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Most Read