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Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas (2006)

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Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

This 1965 soundtrack has become ingrained in our minds through repeated leisurely holiday seasons with the family in the living room. They're great memories, brought to us by a stellar jazz piano trio that was always on top of the situation. Together, they gave us a no-nonsense setting. Each traditional Christmas song and each Guaraldi original leaves a smile on our faces.

Children's voices add a loving touch to "My Little Drum, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing and "Christmas Time is Here. While their voices are a bit off, it adds a natural flavor to the soundtrack, taking every parent back to his own child's school production. Those are some precious memories. Several selections swing with a happy mood that provides visions of Charlie Brown and the gang skating on the frozen pond, decorating the tree, building a snowman and enjoying their adventures as if every day were Christmas.

Linus and Lucy and "Christmas is Coming top the album with themes that we'll never forget. Concord has added four bonus tracks to this reissue, each of which is an alternate take. Both the original and alternate take of "Greensleeves feature a different bassist and drummer in Guaraldi's lineup, Monty Budwig and Colin Bailey, who swing pleasantly with confidence. None of the four alternate takes lends anything significant to these sessions; however, Guaraldi's hot piano solos on both widely different interpretations of "Greensleeves prove that he was a great jazz pianist as well as an innovative composer and soundtrack pioneer.

Track Listing: O Tannenbaum; What Child is This; My Little Drum; Linus and Lucy; Christmas Time is Here; Christmas Time is Here; Skating; Hark, the Herald Angels Sing; Christmas is Coming; Fr Elise; The Christmas Song; Greensleeves; Christmas is Coming; The Christmas Song; Greensleeves; Christmas Time is Here.

Personnel: Vince Guaraldi: piano; Fred Marshall, Monty Budwig: bass; Jerry Granelli, Colin Bailey: drums.

Record Label: Concord Music Group

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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