Never Too Many Peanuts


Too much of a good thing may spell trouble, but more of a good thing is almost always nice -- like A Charlie Brown Christmas 2012 Remastered & Expanded Edition (Fantasy), a sonic retelling of the children's and jazz classic affectionately rendered by the Vince Guaraldi Trio that now includes two additional Guaraldi winter holiday classics.

By now, you know most of this music by heart: The thick and otherworldly -- if not heavenly -- atmosphere of "My Little Drum," the pounding syncopation of siblings "Linus And Lucy," the joyously Latin, rapturous with anticipation "Christmas is Coming" and all the rest. Drummer Jerry Granelli benefits most from this 2012 remastering, which lets you hear every brushstroke you used to miss while dancing around the room to Guaraldi's piano. Guaraldi's closing verses in the instrumental workout of "Christmas Time Is Here" (which immediately precedes the more familiar, children's choral version) sparkle anew, echoing Bill Evans with their rippling brilliance.

Remastered also includes larger ensemble pieces from subsequent Peanuts holiday TV specials. The soft lilting rhythm of the waltz feels just perfect for the reflective, autumnal mood of Guaraldi's "Great Pumpkins Waltz," while the more complicated melody of his "Thanksgiving Theme" invites comparison to not only Evans but to McCoy Tyner.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Remastered will absolutely make your 2012 winter holiday season.