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The Importance of Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Into my heart on air that killsFrom yon far country blows:What are those blue remembered hills, What spires, what farms are those?That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain,The happy highways where I went And cannot come again. class="f-right s-img">--A.E. Houseman, A Shropshire Lad (1896)

Vince GuaraldiA Charlie Brown ChristmasConcord Music Group2012 (1988)Is it possible that we could need yet another reissue of the A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack? ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Derrick Bang: Vince Guaraldi at the Piano

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Vince Guaraldi at the Piano Derrick Bang 390 pages ISBN: 978-0-7864-5902-5 McFarland Books 2012 Based on Derrick Bang's encyclopedic biography of pianist Vince Guaraldi, you can draw two perhaps surprising conclusions about the subject's contribution to jazz. First, Guaraldi arguably hipped more listeners to this musical form than anyone else since the heyday of the big bands. He did so by means of “Cast Your Fate To The Wind," three minutes of piano-trio jazz that reached #22 on the Billboard hit-singles chart in February 1963; more decisively, Guaraldi provided the musical ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

Vince Guaraldi at the Piano

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This article appears in the prologue of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano by Derrick Bang (McFarland Books, 2012).Prologue: “The Sound of Surprise" Saturday, October 4, 1958: shortly after midnight, at the first-ever Monterey Jazz Festival.It had been a busy day; indeed, it was already a long three-day weekend. Headliner Louis Armstrong--introduced by emcee Dizzy Gillespie--had helped lure a crowd of roughly 5,000 jazz fans to Friday evening's opening-night performances, although one critic was much more impressed by an earlier set from pianist Burt Bales' “boisterous, stomping band," with its crowd-pleasing riffs coming from clarinetist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: Peanuts Portraits

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Charles Schulz's Peanuts has been an enduring newspaper cartoon classic since the late 1940s. Its popularity peaked in the 1960s when the series was adapted for the first of many animated television specials, with music written by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi. The strips continue to run today in newspapers, 10 years after Schulz's death in 2000.

For Peanuts Portraits, Concord has compiled many of the most popular tunes from the series, originally recorded on LPs; selections that should appeal to both fans of Peanuts and jazz.

Beginning with the first special, December, 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas (continuing to run ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: The Definitive Vince Guaraldi

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Many of us were turned on to jazz before we even knew what it was, thanks to Vince Guaraldi. His soundtracks for the Peanuts television specials were a novel idea in cartoon scoring, yet seemed to perfectly fit the deceptively sophisticated adventures of Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang. His originals were some of the best jazz to come from the West Coast scene and a tribute to what can happen when a great muse hits a gifted composer.

Of course, Guaraldi recorded other material as well, much of which is still in print thanks ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas

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If you were born in the sixties or later, there's a good chance that your first exposure to jazz was through the Peanuts Christmas special. Today the whimsical music of Vince Guaraldi seems inseparable from this holiday classic, but it almost didn't happen that way; producer Lee Mendelson originally envisioned either Dave Brubeck or Cal Tjader writing the score, even though CBS felt jazz was unsuitable for a cartoon show. Fortunately the show as we know it took place, giving us not only Guaraldi's best work, but one of the best jazz albums ever in concept and execution to emerge ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: Vince Guaraldi and the San Francisco Boys' Chorus

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Even the biggest Vince Guaraldi fan may not know that this album existed. It was the only album released on D&D, Guaraldi's own label, and in the late sixties it was a commercial flop due to limited distribution and the lack of a hit single. It disappeared quickly from circulation and was only found by chance by fans scouring the bins for other releases. The D&D label has recently been resurrected as a way to get Guaraldi's work back in print, and Vince Guaraldi and the San Francisco Boys' Chorus is the last of Guaraldi's work yet to appear on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: Oaxaca

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"Dr. Funk" may seems like an odd nickname for Vince Guaraldi, most known for composing the music for the Peanuts specials, yet this is how he was known by his peers. While there are certainly others more deserving of the moniker, this new reissue will shed some light as to how he got it. For in the latter part of his career Guaraldi spent time fronting a jazz-rock band in addition to his recurring gig writing music for cartoons. Largely giving up the piano for the Hammond B-3 and the Fender Rhodes, he gathered together a group more interested in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Boy Named Charlie Brown

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By any standard, “Linus and Lucy" is a great song. Anyone over the age of seven is familiar with the melody, a catchy tune instantly identifiable with the Peanuts gang. It also put Vince Guaraldi, an artist who might otherwise have been a one-hit wonder with “Cast Your Fate To the Wind" and relegated to the minor leagues, on the map.

Guaraldi's reputation rests almost entirely on the music he created for the Peanuts television specials, but it's magnificent work that deserves to be recognized as such. Many are familiar with the music from It's A Charlie Brown ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Only a handful of jazz albums find their way into the collections of music lovers who would never call themselves jazz fans. Miles Davis' Kind of Blue is one, Getz/Gilberto is another, and Coltrane's A Love Supreme also comes to mind. For Christmas time, though, the album is Vince Guaraldi's soundtrack to the 1965 special A Charlie Brown Christmas.

A beloved (and rightly so) half-hour parable about the meaning of the holidays featuring the Peanuts gang, Guaraldi's music plays a pivotal role in etching A Charlie Brown Christmas into the brains of those who love the series. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Just in time for the holidays, Fantasy has released a remaster of the classic soundtrack A Charlie Brown Christmas. The cartoon follows Charlie Brown's search for the true meaning of Christmas, and Vince Guaraldi's music is an integral part of this perennial holiday favorite. Guaraldi, born in 1928 in San Francisco and died in 1976 while resting between sets at a club, was part of the flourishing '50s California scene which produced the movement known as West Coast jazz. The pianist is best known for his work with Cal Tjader, and he also had short stints with the Lighthouse All-Stars ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: The Charlie Brown Suite & Other Favorites

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Vince Guaraldi has earned a large degree of renown and cemented his place in musical history as the composer of “Linus and Lucy” and the rest of the music for the Charlie Brown TV specials. Guaraldi died in 1976, and thus this new collection is the first by the pianist to appear in quite some time. These recordings came from the personal collection of George Winston (an unabashed Guaraldi fan) and were shepherded into release by Guaraldi’s son David.

The CD seems more like a grab bag from unreleased sessions rather than a cohesive collection, yet it is dominated by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Guaraldi: The Charlie Brown Suite & Other Favorites

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New Age star pianist George Winston has collected tapes of eighty hours of previously unreleased recordings by the late pianist Vince Guaraldi, who died in 1976. Winston recently made these tapes available to Guaraldi's son David. Although the elder Guaraldi recorded this material for Fantasy and Warner Brothers, its current custodian is releasing the first batch of the Winston collection on BMG/RCA/Bluebird.

Guaraldi's music for the Peanuts cartoons has been released on four albums: A Boy Named Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Oh, Good Grief! and most recently Charlie Brown's Holiday Hits. This album provides a different interpretation of ...



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