Drummer Jerry Granelli has one of those dream CVs, the kind that stems both from right-place, right-time good fortune, and from having the skill and dedication to capitalize on it. His whispering brushwork graces “Linus and Lucy”—which debuted on A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965—the best-known memento of his tenure as a member of pianist Vince Guaraldi’s working trio. During the same period, the San Francisco stick-man also anchored two poetic, adventurous sessions led by pianist Denny Zeitlin, recorded with hit-making folk-pop outfit We Five and cofounded the freaky audiovisual group Light Sound Dimension. Granelli gave himself over to Buddhism in the ’70s—detouring to perform with Mose Allison—but reemerged in the ’80s, playing uncommonly meditative free jazz with vocalist Jay Clayton, bassist Gary Peacock and others.
Happily, the 71-year-old, currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, seems to keep his full range of experience in mind each time he performs. Last year he issued Let Go, an understated sax-trio gem that made room for both patient balladry and the stimulating chamber-jazz oddity “Letter to Björk.” And Granelli’s collaborations with his bass-playing son, J. Anthony, and guitarist David Tronzo—both of whom will join him at Friday’s rare local appearance—ooze freely among textural improv, heady psych jams and deep-pocket blues. Don’t miss this chance to hear a six-decades-and-counting life in music flash before your ears.—Hank Shteamer
Follow Hank Shteamer on Twitter: @DarkForcesSwing