Jazz CD Reviews

The Definite Vince Guaraldi – Fantasy/Concord 2-CDs

If your only familiarity with Vince Guaraldi is the music for the Peanuts TV specials, you’re missing out a great deal.

Published on October 19, 2009

The Definite Vince Guaraldi – Fantasy/Concord 2-CDs

The Definite Vince Guaraldi – Fantasy/Concord 2-CD set FAN-31462 *****:

(Vince Guaraldi, piano, with – on various tracks – Monty Budwig, Jerry Dodgion, Eddie Duran, Jerry Granelli, Tom Harrell, Fred Marshall, Bola Sete, Eugene Wright, St. Paul’s Church of San Rafael Choir and others)

If your only familiarity with Vince Guaraldi is the music for the Peanuts TV specials, you’re missing out a great deal. There’s eight tracks of that in this lavish 31-track compilation, but there’s also plenty of variety in some great collaborations with others that made Guaraldi one of the top jazz pianists during the late 50s, the 60s and 70s.  (He died of a heart attack at age 47 in 1967.) Vince started to fame as the pianist in Cal Tjader’s group for their first Fantasy recording session, when he was only 23.  For a time he shared the intermission piano gigs at San Francisco’s famous Blackhawk with Art Tatum. Vince revealed he was about to give up the piano after working with Tatum. (I was a DJ at jazz station KHIP, which was being operated by the Zantz Brothers who also owned Fantasy, so Vince came by the station.)

Guaraldi had a generally jovial attitude, was liked by everyone, and always easily identified by his giant black handlebar mustache. Jerry Dodgion remembered him as “this sweet guy with a great sense of humor who loved to play.”  Since the recordings cover the years 1955 thru 1966 those after 1958 are surely stereo, but the notes don’t refer to this. The final two tracks here have never been released before. Sometimes Vince’s piano sounds a bit less than concert quality but his clean, clear and swinging style can’t be criticized.

TrackList:

Disc 1 =
Calling Dr. Funk
Fascinating Rhythm
Never Never Land
Fenwyck’s Farfel
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
Manh de Carnaval
Moon River
Jitterbug Waltz
On Green Dolphin Street
Star Song
The Days of Wine and Roses

Disc 2 =
Mr. Lucky
Corovado
Work Song
Ginza Samba
The Girl from Ipanema
El Matador
Oh, Good Grief
Linus and Lucy
Charlie Brown Theme
Great Pumpkin Waltz
Thanksgiving Theme
Christmas Is Coming
Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental)
Skating
Theme to Grace
Autumn Leaves (previously unreleased)
Blues for Peanuts (previously unreleased)

 - John Henry




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