Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas [Original Soundtrack]
As the soundtrack to the incredibly popular, Peabody Award-winning Christmas special, A Charlie Brown Christmas contains some of the most cherished and recognizable jazz music of all time. As such, it continues to serve as many children’s first exposure to jazz, and fortunately, it’s an opportunity that doesn’t go to waste. Vince Guaraldi’s record is a Christmas classic, transcending its television roots to become a standalone staple of the holiday season. Guaraldi already sketched out his approach to scoring the Peanuts on the documentary soundtrack, Jazz Impressions Of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, and he brings the same charm, warmth and humor to this set of largely traditional yuletide tunes. What’s even more impressive is that none of the musicians sacrificed or simplified their artistic prowess for the small screen. “O Tannenbaum” moves from an elegantly reverent reading of the song to some lively improvisational work; “Skating” recalls falling snow with its twinkling piano, while drummer Jerry Granelli’s brushwork adds a touch of swing to the proceedings; the exuberant “Christmas Is Coming”—one of the few originals here—is a joyous romp, assisted by Fred Marshall’s nimble bass, which makes the song borderline danceable. But the six-minute ballad, “Christmastime Is Here,” may be the most stirring moment, bringing to mind snow-topped trees, children sledding down hills and late family dinners. Throughout, the trio’s playing is focused, lyrical and accessible, revitalizing these well-worn Christmas standbys and roping in new cool jazz listeners with each passing year. That the rightfully acclaimed “Linus And Lucy” fits comfortably among these holiday tracks speaks to how distinct and successful Guaraldi’s voice is on A Charlie Brown Christmas.