b. Gerald John Granelli, 30 December 1940, San Francisco, California, USA. Granelli began playing drums as a small child, later studying formally and taking tuition from Joe Morello. In the early and mid-60s he played with many musicians including Vince Guaraldi, Denny Zeitlin, Jon Hendricks, Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, Mose Allison, Ornette Coleman and Jimmy Witherspoon. This eclectic mix helped contribute to Granelli’s questing musical style which continued into the next decade, a time which found him forming his own bands, including Visions, and also teaching, first in Denver and then in Seattle. In the 70s he retired from the jazz scene for several years, co-founding the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, with Collin Walcott and Allen Ginsberg. Returning to jazz he toured internationally, with Gary Peacock and Ralph Towner among others, and also recorded with singer Jay Clayton. Later, Granelli settled in Germany while still finding time to teach in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He also began recording as a leader, using up-and-coming young German musicians as well as established international stars such as Jane Ira Bloom, Robben Ford, Bill Frisell and Julian Priester.
Perhaps as a result of the eclectic nature of his earlier years as a sideman, Granelli’s records intriguingly and effectively blend aspects of hard bop, free jazz, blues, jazz rock fusion, R&B and jazz funk. In his bands Granelli is very much an ensemble player, adding colour, texture and atmosphere as well as providing a time base which can be fluid without ever losing contact with the reality of the music being performed by his colleagues. At the end of the 90s he began playing with UFB, alongside guitarists Kai Brückner and Christian Kögel and bass player Andreas Walter. Additionally he worked with his own unit Mr Lucky and presently leads V16.