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Vince Guaraldi: Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus

David Rickert By

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If Vince Guaraldi is known for anything beyond the Charlie Brown specials, it will be a catchy little tune called “Cast Your Fate in the Wind.” Originally the B-side to an abbreviated version of “Samba de Orfeu,” the instantly appealing tune became a radio hit and the album was repackaged to feature the song prominently on the sleeve (surprisingly, on this reissue the cover has been redesigned to eliminate the change).

1962's Black Orpheus (inspired by Antonio Carlos Jobim's 1959 soundtrack) is the album where Guaraldi really came into his own as a composer. It’s his best session, and to some degree the only one of his jazz records worth buying. Riding the crest of the bossa nova wave, he and his trio adapted four songs from the movie soundtrack, filled with the glossy chords and upper register trills that are instantly recognizable to anyone who has heard his work for television.

The second side, along with the faultless “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” features another delightful Guaraldi original (why didn’t he write more?) and a couple of standards. All of these gently bouncing songs easily expose Guaraldi’s West Coast origins and offer instantly appeal. However, other than “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” nothing creates a lasting impression.

Some deride Guaraldi for creating “jazz-lite”—none other than George Winston cites him as a major influence—and yet Black Orpheus is nevertheless a charming record that provides a pleasant listening experience as sweet and appealing as vanilla ice cream. When your mother-in- law comes over and wants to hear some nice music, put this on.

Track Listing: 1. Samba de Orpheus 2.Mahna de Carnaval 3. O Nosso Amor 4. Generique 5. Cast Your Fate To the Wind 6. Moon River 7. Alma-Ville 8. Since I Fell For You.

Personnel: Vince Guaraldi-piano; Colin Bailey-drums; Monty Budwig-bass.

Title: Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz

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