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Opinion/Editorial

The Importance of Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas

By Published: November 7, 2012
The British plainsong "Greensleeves" displays Guaraldi's command of the keyboard with simple flourishes, not the kind Art Tatum
Art Tatum
Art Tatum
1909 - 1956
piano
or Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
1925 - 2007
piano
would play; the kind that King David would play to his children. Simple, stately, emotive.

"Christmas Time is Here" is the program centerpiece, the Guraladi original that sums up his entire approach of stated simplicity. It is the longest piece on the recording and that which typifies Guaraldi perfectly. This 2012 remix and remaster takes full advantage of the latest technology to pull Marshall' slow notes and Jerry Granelli
Jerry Granelli
Jerry Granelli
b.1940
percussion
's ride cymbal out of the hiss of 50 years ago into the sonics of the 21st Century.

So did we really need another one...another release of A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack? Yes. We needed it now and we will need the one that is coming in 2015, when the 50th anniversary of the CBS Christmas is celebrated. I think it is neither too much to expect nor commercial overkill for this recording to be rereleased then, in a "complete session" format, to include all of the Guraladi holiday recordings and their alternate takes. Concord, after all, released Bill Evans: The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961 (Prestige, 2005) and The Miles Davis Quintet: The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Prestige, 2006) proving that the recording industry can get it right. Let's celebrate what we get right.


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