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His Christmas album was the best of all the cats that tried to come up with a $ maker--the best single xmas track was Dexters Have your self a merry little christmas (just beautiful) Monty Budwig one of the greats, told me that he always dug working with Vince! Two of the real heavies. Sorry their gone-but at least they don't have to hear the crap that passes for jazz these days. Mort
Thanks for the review. This timeline of Vince's career might be of interest; includes images from the period. fivecentsplease.org/dpb/VinceGuaralditimeline.html
Nicely done. After reading your piece, I'll certainly get a copy of this work and a few of Vince's records. No, Vince Guaraldi wasn't an "original," nor did he pretend to be, but he had one of the few, immediately recognizable piano sounds in jazz. And like Mose Allison, he had an immediately identifiable rhythm. My hat is off to you for a fine review.
Jeff: Many thanks for posting your thoughtful review of this great book, which I devoured shortly after its release a few months back. I strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in Guaraldi, the West Coast jazz scene of the 50s and 60s, or San Francisco history.Having done a bit of archival research on Guaraldi myself, I'm amazed at the account that Derrick Bang was able to assemble, particularly regarding Vince's early life, which was previously a yawning information void. I love having the wealth of detail that he packs in, even if it makes it a bit heavier read.For those pining for more musical commentary, I strongly recommend a visit to the author's extensive, annotated Guaraldi discography, which is online at: www.fivecentsplease.org/dpb/vincecd.html I also second James's link to the extensive, annotated Guaraldi timeline (also written and maintained by the book author, Derrick Bang).
Jeff, I'm honored by the length and depth of this thoughtful and well-researched review. To your charge of my brain-stuffing wealth of sidebar details, I plead guilty; having so many wonderful facts at my fingertips, I was loathe to abandon any of them. With respect to your concern about the minimal musical analysis, I sidestep and offer two excuses: First, I wasn't sure my various roles, in this book, included that of critical lobotomist. Additionally, I've always been wary — given my background as an English major — of the "fatuous analysis" syndrome, wherein some stuffy teacher professes to understand precisely what this poet intended here, and that essayist intended there. When it comes to art — music, in this case — I'm inclined to believe that such observations are best left to the individual listener.Ironically, some efforts at musical commentary were present in the first draft, but then were cut for space because I was some 75,000 words over what had been contracted. (I only trimmed about 25,000; McFarland let me keep the other 50,000.) For what it's worth, and because nothing ever goes to waste, some of that commentary wound up in my online Guaraldi discography, which I see is linked above.But I absolutely accept and respect your points; you defend them well, and obviously speak from impressively informed knowledge. I also appreciate how you describe what you enjoyed about the book. I'm very grateful for the review, and I suspect it'll be the most scholarly commentary I'm likely to receive.
Thanks to everyone for their germane comments and suggested links. Derrick: you especially! And congratulations on bringing an ambitious labor of love to remarkable fruition.
You can read an excerpt from the book here: j.mp/ITG3pl
I may be one of the few (then) teenagers in the '60s to get dragged to the Trois Couleurs to hear Guaraldi & Sete & Granelli & Marshall. My parents were practically groupies, which was kind of embarrassing, but I did get all four of them to sign a copy of their LP, and got a kiss on the cheek from Bola Sete. That was cool...and the music was mesmerizing. I kind of got stuck watching Granelli chewing on his mustache in mid-reverie. Of course the place was so small everybody was practically on top of everybody else. Great times.
Jane Ira Bloom
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