Vince Guaraldi wrote some of the most popular music ever composed by a jazz artist. Drawing on boogie-woogie, blues, bebop, Latin jazz, and bossa nova, he created a magical and evocative sound that was heard by millions of listeners around the world through the Peanuts TV specials, beginning with "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 1965.
Though the commercial success of those specials gave Guaraldi economic security, he continued to play jazz gigs at small clubs till the end of his life. Intense, exploratory and devoted to his craft, he left a profoundly jazzy stamp on American popular culture.
It's Jazz, Charlie Brown: The Vince Guaraldi Story reveals insight into Vince Guaraldi as a musician and a man, with interviews and music. We'll talk with:
- Guaraldi's son, David Guaraldi
- Peanuts producer Lee Mendelson
- Jazz critic Doug Ramsey, who wrote the liner notes for the excellent new anthology The Definitive Vince Guaraldi
- Guaraldi friend and sideman Eddie Duran
- Jazz pianist Luke Gillespie
We'll also hear the wide expanse of the pianist's career on record. Recordings include:
- Early appearances with Woody Herman and Cal Tjader
- 1960s bossa nova collaborations with guitarist Bola Sete
- Excerpts from Guaraldi's sacred concert and late-period fusion excursion
- Guaraldi's early piano trio sides
- Several of his most popular Peanuts recordings
- Guaraldi's 1962 pre-Peanuts hit, "Cast Your Fate to the Wind"
For More Vince Guaraldi...
• Read Derrick Bang's essay, and his extensive rundown of the Guaraldi discography.
• Listen to an NPR story on the making of "A Charlie Brown Christmas".