Contemporary Jazz

VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases

Playing For Peanuts

21 OCT 08 JONATHAN WIDRAN

Peanuts creator Charles Schulz once said, "I think one of the best things that ever happened for our shows was that we had Vince Guaraldi's music, and then we were blessed again to have David Benoit pick up the baton and keep it alive." Eight years after Schulz's death, the legacy endures, and groovingly so, on Benoit's Jazz For Peanuts - A Retrospective of the Charlie Brown Television Themes.

Celebrating Guaraldi's impact on several generations of jazz musicians, the collection features six dynamic new and swinging Benoit tracks -- four lesser heard Guaraldi compositions and two originals Benoit wrote for later TV specials -- as well as classic performances by Wynton Marsalis ("The Buggy Ride"), Dave Brubeck ("Benjamin") and Kenny G (his Grammy-winning turn with Dave Grusin's "Breadline Blues").

Several tracks also shine a spotlight on Christian Scott and Taylor Eigsti, Concord Family artists and two of jazz's most acclaimed young lions. "You're In Love, Charlie Brown" and "Rollerblading" provide incredible showcases for Scott's virtuosic trumpet soloing, while "Wild Kids" was fashioned as a colorful piano duet by Benoit and Eigsti. The 24-year-old Eigsti's relationship with Benoit extends back to 1992, when the eight year old prodigy opened for the pianist at Sunset Gardens in Menlo Park, California. Benoit, a major advocate for music education, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Eigsti's development ever since.