PIANIST VINCE GUARALDI IN AN EXPANSIVE 2-CD SET
THE DEFINITIVE VINCE GUARALDI CAPTURES THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM HIS FANTASY RECORDINGS,
FROM HIS TRIO SESSIONS IN THE MID-1950s
TO HIS MUSIC FOR PEANUTS IN THE '60s
COLLECTION TO BE RELEASED OCTOBER 6, 2009
A vast number of Americans got their first taste of jazz pretty much by accident. It probably happened sometime around the Christmas season, when they were still very young. Chances are, they can thank Vince Guaraldi for the introduction.
To the casual jazz fan, the name Vince Guaraldi is practically synonymous with the numerous animated television specials based on cartoonist Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters - the first and most notable being A Charlie Brown Christmas, which made its network television debut in December 1965 and has become a holiday classic in the four decades since, thanks in large part to the whimsical and evocative piano music that underscores the story.
But Guaraldi's own musical story began more than a decade before his affiliation with Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, etc. Originally a sideman for vibraphonist Cal Tjader in the early '50s and clarinetist Woody Herman a few years later, Guaraldi formed his own trio in 1955 and spent the remainder of the decade and half of the next making a series of fine recordings on Fantasy, including the pivotal Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus, the 1962 LP that included the hit single, "Cast Your Fate to the Wind."
The Concord Music Group has gathered the best of this body of work in a 2-CD collection, The Definitive Vince Guaraldi, set for release on October 6, 2009. The collection includes 31 tracks culled from more than a decade of Fantasy recordings from 1955 to 1966. In addition to gathering his best recordings in a single compilation, The Definitive Vince Guaraldi also includes two previously unreleased tracks, "Autumn Leaves" and "Blues for Peanuts," both recorded in 1964.
"These are terrific performances, says Nick Phillips, Concord Music Group's Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R and the producer of The Definitive Vince Guaraldi. "You can listen to them and trace the evolution of his piano playing - from when he was first starting out as a leader, through his big radio hit with 'Cast Your Fate to the Wind,' all the way through his fame as the pianist for the Peanuts music. In the end, you realize that Guaraldi was uncompromising in his approach to jazz, and yet at the same time his music was accessible and proved to be commercial. He was Vince Guaraldi through and through."
In addition to two discs full of great music, the set also includes extensive liner notes by jazz journalist Doug Ramsey, who retraces Guaraldi's career with anecdotes and commentary from several of the pianist's contemporaries, including remarks from saxophonist Jerry Dodgion about Guaraldi's perennially sunny and optimistic disposition - a personality trait that came through in his music.
"He always played cheerfully," says Dodgion, "like someone would who first played boogie-woogie when he was a kid. His horn-rimmed glasses would slide down his nose, and he would look at you over the rims. With his funny faces and his eyebrows, he was part Groucho Marx. He had that joyous thing, and he made everybody else feel good too. It was just great. He played that way all the time, and he would happily play all night."
Regardless of the various facets of Guaraldi's overall canon, "this was someone who never compromised his artistic integrity," says Phillips. "While this collection does include a sizable chunk of the Peanuts music - as a definitive Vince Guaraldi collection should - we also wanted to showcase the many other facets of his artistry. There are elements of Brazilian and Latin music throughout the collection, and he did some interesting things conceptually, in terms of how he approached a standard and how he arranged it. People who listen to this collection from beginning to end are likely to hear a Vince Guaraldi they'd never heard before."
Calling Dr. Funk
Never Never Land
A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing
Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise
Samba de Orfeu (aka Samba de Orpheus)
Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Manhã de Carnaval
On Green Dolphin Street
The Days of Wine and Roses
The Girl from Ipanema
Oh, Good Grief
Linus and Lucy
Charlie Brown Theme
Great Pumpkin Waltz
Christmas Is Coming
Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental)
Theme to Grace
Autumn Leaves (previously unreleased)
Blues for Peanuts (previously unreleased)
For additional information, please contact:
Don Lucoff at DL Media; (p) 610.667.0501 (e) firstname.lastname@example.org