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It’s Jazz, Charlie Brown: The Vince Guaraldi Story

His music is loved by millions of people around the world—forever associated with the TV version of a popular comic strip. Who was the man behind that music?

More than Peanuts: Guaraldi brought an impressive jazz pedigree to his work on the animated television specials.

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:

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”.

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