Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas featuring The Jerry Granelli Trio

Its 2015, and it all got started a few years ago.

Well sure, it actually got started about 50 years ago. That was when some why-even-bother Christmas Special infused with that no luck, sad sack, world-on-his-shoulders Charlie Brown almost never saw the light of day. There was the scrappy animation, the religious content, and then there was that minimalist piano driven jazz soundtrack.

The Charlie Brown Christmas Special was almost never broadcast, not just at one turn, but at every turn. The producers thought they had ruined it, the television station did not want to run it, and no one liked the soundtrack.

I guess everyone was wrong.

What exactly is the secret ingredient that goes into making a multi generational classic television moment? The answer becomes even more elusive when that one simple tube driven screen in the “family room”  fractures into shards, multiple screens of every personal size. Moments shrink from 60 minutes to 30 minutes to seconds held in the palm of your hand until they melt away, vanishing moments after you have seen them.

A few years ago on a beach in Cape Breton Nova Scotia a grandfather was enjoying the day with his two grandchildren when he thought he recognized someone down the shore also enjoying that summer day. Tall and skinny, smiling and talking and laughing. The old man followed by his two grand kids walked up to that smiling man and asked: “Jerry Granelli”?  And yes, it was.

Granelli was worried, what exactly had he done now? But what followed was pure and simple gratitude, a whole bucket of it. “Thank you for the Charlie Brown soundtrack. I love it, my kids loved it and now these two, my grand kids love it too”.

He just wanted to say thank you, the music was important to him and to his family.

Jerry is the last surviving member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the group that had recorded that sound track back in 1965. He had been the drummer, and still is a drummer; at 75 he has just released a new jazz album: What I Hear Now.

That was the moment that changed everything. Jerry had spent over fourty years sidestepping Charlie Brown, never fully seeing what it had become, how it had affected and affects multiple generations. The recording had been a moment in time that he was a part of many, many years ago. As a jazz musician, a master improviser, he had one golden rule: movement, always forward motion, always creating. This directive was as ingrained as the US Marine’s “never leave a man behind”- unbreakable. Never look back and until that moment on the beach he never understood why he should.

And then he did.

The show that came together is “Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas featuring The Jerry Granelli Trio”. It was time to tell the story, and it was time to play that music. This is 90 minutes of music you might be familiar with, but performed the way the trio used to play it back in the after hours night-clubs of San Francisco’s jazz heyday: The 60s. No special affects, no electronics, no auto tune; just One Bass, One Grand Piano and a Drum kit.  

Expect Jerry to stop the show on a few occasions to let you in on a few nuggets from back in the day, but most importantly you will hear that music, pretension free. Performed by its original drummer along with two top-drawer players the way Vince Guaraldi played it when he wrote it. This music is ground zero for generations of jazz fans, and for everyone else its some of the best Christmas music out there. For you it's an unforgettable and unique way to welcome in the Christmas season along with Jerry Granelli.

50 years and its still great.


Day Four: Carribean Bliss | A Halifood Blog


The 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival is proud to present a partnership with Halifood, a local food blog by Laura Oakley

On my last day at TD Halifax Jazz Fest, I was treated to a generous feed from Caribbean Bliss. Although the best-selling stewed oxtail was already sold out, they were super excited for me to try a variety of items from the menu, including: veggie Jamaican patty, chicken curry, jerk chicken, mango punch and coconut cream pie. 

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The Jamaican veggie patty, which they make from scratch, was filled with peas, corn, curried potato and spinach, enclosed in a flaky pastry shell. The chicken curry was mild yet very flavourful with just a touch of background heat after a few bites; the meat just fell from the bone. The sauce was vibrant in colour, with lots it (the way I like it) and was accompanied by rice and peas.


It was the jerk chicken that really impressed me; when I opened the container it was covered in a deep brown sauce with a reddish hue, and lots of it. It just looked spicy. When I dug in with my fork there was the most tender chicken underneath. I'm not privy to their recipe, but I can only guess that they use a stewing or braising method for this, it's that fall-off-the-bone. I started to sweat while I ate it, the satisfying kind of heat, from the jerk spice, that slowly raises your body temperature. All of these dishes were perfectly complemented by the refreshing mango punch. I had to take the coconut cream pie home with me, because of my ambitious attempt at eating everything else I was given, but when I did try it, it didn't disappoint. 


Everything from Caribbean Bliss was so obviously made with care, from scratch, with distinct, vibrant flavours. I'm definitely going back their location on Novalea Drive to get the oxtail.


All photos by Laura Oakley

The New Bridge wins Stingray Rising Stars at the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival

(Halifax, NS) The 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival and Stingray Music announce The New Bridge are the winners of the 2015 Stingray Rising Stars Contest. The five-piece ensemble includes three members of Gypsophilia—Adam Fine, Ross Burns and Nick Wilkinson—as well as Symphony Nova Scotia's principal clarinetist Dominic Desautels, in-demand  Halifax  mainstays Andrew Jackson on trombone and Doug Cameron on drums.

The Stingray Rising Stars program offers cash awards and showcase opportunities to emerging Canadian artists. Last year, at the 2014 TD Halifax Jazz Festival, the award was presented to Roxy & the Underground Soul Sound. Winning the award made the release of their debut record possible. The recognition also raised their profile and garnered the band showcases at Nova Scotia Music Week, in addition to playing multiple festivals and shows across Canada.

This year’s winners will receive $3,000 to jumpstart their careers. Votes were calculated through a two-tiered process of peer assessment and online voting. Online voting took place during the festival, July 8-12.

Stingray Music is committed to putting Canadian musicians on the map! That is why they created the Stingray Rising Stars Program. Launched in 1998 as Galaxie Rising Star, this original program sets out to discover, encourage, promote and champion new up-and-coming Canadian artists. More than 500 artists have benefited from the Rising Stars Program including Arcade Fire, Matt Mays and Elliott Brood.

Media Contact:
Kimberly Sinclair, TD Halifax Jazz Festival
kimberly [at] spincount [dot] com
(902) 350-3968

Swing Dance Flash Mob at Bishop's Landing | 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival

We put together a flash mob at Bishop's Landing to promote our FREE swing series at the Festival Mainstage, July 12th.

Come by the main stage for free swing lessons from the generous folks at DalSwing at 8:00pm, and enjoy a concert from Alex Pangman & Gordon Webster with Brianna Thomas starting at 8:30pm!

Video by Genius Quantum

Thanks to Priyanka Varkey.

Anneke Stroink, Kid Reporter | JUL 12TH

An overview of the last day of the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival.
Featuring the intrepid Anneke Stroink 
Written by Isabel Putz-Preyra
Video by Kirill Polstainen
Live LIVE Music, July 8th-12th at the 29th annual TD Halifax Jazz Festival!

Day Three: Cheelin | A Halifood Blog

cropped-blogheader_0_0.jpgThe 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival is proud to present a partnership with Halifood, a local food blog by Laura Oakley

My third TD Halifax Jazz Fest "feed," as I like to call them, was a big ol' plate of Chinese food from Cheelin's booth. Cheelin Restaurant is well-known in Halifax for their lunch specials and Friday buffet, which is frequented by many people who work downtown. They've been open in the historic brewery building on Lower Water Street for over 20 years, where owner Fanny Chen serves up Szechuan and Beijing style Chinese food. They also have a stall, Cheelin Express, at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market. 


I was served a heaping plate of a few of the offerings: pork dumplings, mixed vegetable stir-fry with beef, vegetable spring roll with crunchy cabbage and glass noodles, and chow mien noodles. I just love handmade Chinese dumplings like these, the pork and green onion work so well together, and they tasted super fresh. Because I was there early in the day, everything seemed to be at optimum freshness, the noodles were great and the vegetables in the stir-fry were vibrant in colour. Another great meal to pair with Bulwark original cider, or a refreshing brew from Garrison, both offered on tap at the bar tent. (A good idea to pop down for lunch, when it's free admission during the day and the food stalls are super fresh.)


The vibe this afternoon was fantastic. The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra was on-stage with big brass and the lead singer Clay Johnson was crooning out tunes that everyone knows and loves, plus charming the crowd with stories in his southern accent in between songs. More people than not were sipping on a Garrison beer, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. If you haven't checked out any of the performances yet, hurry up and make plans, there's only one day left!

All photos by Laura Oakley


Anneke Stroink, Kid Reporter | JUL 11TH

Our intrepid KID REPORTER Anneke Stroink gives us an overview of everything happening on Saturday Jul 11th at the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival, including Michael Kaeshammer/Bill Stevenson's Nine Steps at the Rebecca Cohn at 7:30pm, Deva Mahal at the Company House at 11:30pm, Brian McConnell at the Keshen Goodman Library at noon and the fantastic Vox Sambou in company with The Budos Band at the Mainstage tonight, 8:30pm. 

Day Two: Bramoso | A Halifood Blog


The 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival is proud to present a partnership with Halifood, a local food blog by Laura Oakley

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There's something so nice about strolling into the main stage area at TD Halifax Jazz Festival during the day. Especially when it's sunny. There's a mix of locals and tourists, everyone is eating or drinking, enjoying some chill, free jazz music, and it's all right on the waterfront. There's lots of places to sit. So yesterday I grabbed a slice of pizza from Bramoso, a glass of wine from the bar and took it all in for a little while.


If you're not familiar with Bramoso Pizza, their eat-in restaurant and takeout counter is located on Quinpool Road, in the same strip mall as the NSLC. When you walk in, though, it's quite charming and there's a real brick pizza oven, churning out creative pizzas that feature local ingredients. Having interviewed the owner of Bramoso Pizza in the past for a magazine article, I know a little more about the company than you're average customer. I love seeing them at events like Jazz Fest, because I know everything at Bramoso is made from scratch and that they have a wonderful relationship with local suppliers. You also see them at the Seaport Farmers' Market every weekend, serving up their very popular breakfast pizza.


So I grabbed a slice of their Mediterranean, a nice and garlicky pizza that features some of my favourite vegetables (spinach, tomato, artichokes), has an olive oil drizzle, oregano and feta cheese. Something else to know about Bramoso is that they strive to make their pizzas healthier than your average slice, so it's all real cheese, mostly locally-sourced. Add a glass of white wine, lots of sunshine, and I was content.

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Check back tomorrow for more! 

All photos by Laura Oakley

Anneke Stroink, Kid Reporter | JUL 8TH

An overview of the first day of the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival: From Brian Blade: Music from *Mama Rosa* across the water in Dartmouth at the Alderney Landing Theatre, Tin Men & The Telephone at the Bus Stop, Holly Arsenault presents Roddy Ellias at the Company House, a late night show from The Heavyweights Brass Band also at the Company House, a great Jazzlab and performance from French Jazz superstar Celine Bonacina to our headliner, the fantastic Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, who stole the show with a fantastic and soulful performance that had the crowd singing along.
Featuring the intrepid Anneke Stroink 
Written by Isabel Putz-Preyra
Video by Kirill Polstainen


Day One: Roll With It | A Halifood Blog


The 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival is proud to present a partnership with Halifood, a local food blog by Laura Oakley

Today I kicked off my official food blogging gig for the TD Halifax Jazz Festival. Not a bad assignment, given they've got food trucks and stalls onsite serving up everything from Caribbean oxtail curry to pizza to made-from-scratch egg rolls. Not to mention a beer tent serving Bulwark Cider (my favourite), wines and Garrison Brewing beer on tap. I'm a food blogger, not a music blogger, but anyone that lives in Halifax knows this festival brings in some major talent and incredible shows on not just the main stage, but venues throughout the city. So yeah, I'm pretty happy with the situation.

Good news for locals and tourists - the food trucks are not just for ticket holders. The festival is open to the public with free admission throughout the daytime hours on the waterfront at the Main Stage (Lower Water and Salter). This means anyone can come in and enjoy food from the vendors.


Day One  - I met the lovely Chelsea Lund, owner and operator of Roll With It, a shiny black food truck with a charming hand-written chalk menu. Although the name of the truck makes sense, the menu was not what I was expecting. Roll With It does, in fact, make a weekly rotating feature: a from-scratch, original egg roll. Judging from their Instagram account (rollwithitHFX) they've done some pretty unique egg rolls. On top of the rolls, they've got burgers, panko-crusted fish and chips (or have it as a taco), poutine, and fresh cut fries. 


I simply asked Chelsea to prepare for me what she thinks is her best dish, and after a quick wait, I was served up the feature egg roll of the week: southwestern spiced sausage, corn, black bean, goat's cheese, cheddar and jalapeño cream. She also prepared the panko crusted "fancy fish 'n' chips" which was fish 'n' chips with the fish taco toppings on top (fresh crunchy slaw, jalapeño cream and more black beans and corn) on a bed of fresh-cut fries. Wow. This panko crust was really, really nicely done. It wasn't overbearing or greasy, but super satisfyingly crunchy, nice flavour and didn't overpower the fish at all. The slaw was great, and the fries were top notch... exactly the kind of fries you crave at an outdoor festival, but not as greasy. Chelsea works magic with her deep fryer.


But let me talk about that egg roll! I love southwestern and tex-mex inspired flavours, so I was ecstatic. This was so good. The creamy goat cheese and flavourful fillings wrapped inside a perfectly deep fried, super crispy egg roll. It was the best egg roll I've ever had. It might be the first fusion egg roll I've ever had, though. So good. 


And you know what made it even better? I was washing it down with a traditional Bulwark, my favourite local cider. Recently I've been working on an article about hard cider, and what I learned from one cider maker is that cider works so well with food, especially greasy or fried food, because it cleanses the palate, cleaning off the fat, helping to make the last bite taste as good as the first. This is what was happening. My mouth was happy for hours.


A big shout out to Chelsea Lund and her truck helper for their fast and friendly service. Roll With It has been around for about a year, Chelsea is a home cook with a background in catering. Well done!

Check back tomorrow for Day Two! 

All photos by Laura Oakley