Jazz

Guaraldi At His Best

19 DEC 12 CHRIS SLAWECKI

One of Concord's 2012 Very Best of sets, The Very Best Of Vince Guaraldi encapsulates the pianist's decade (1957-'66) on Fantasy Records. It weaves the Latin jazz, Brazilian jazz, post-bop and Peanuts threads of Guaraldi's career into sheets of music as warm and comforting as Linus' trusty blanket, sequenced to present his Charlie Brown material later in the set (and perhaps even counter any misguided argument that Guaraldi was just some cartoon pianist).

It opens with the perfectly poignant "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" from his landmark trio session Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus which, like the pensive delicacy of this brooding "Manhã de Carnaval," was inspired by Guaraldi's interest in music from Brazil. Guaraldi also found beautiful musical matches in the passionate voices of guitarists Eddie Duran and Bola Sete. His bustling original "Ginza" shows how naturally he and Sete thrived in quicksilver, gentle yet persistent Brazilian rhythms, while his guitar-piano sonorities with Duran in "Django" mysteriously echo the crystal ring of the Modern Jazz Quartet's haunting original.

Not to mention that you can love favorites such as "Linus And Lucy" and "Christmas Time Is Here" as children, then grow into appreciating them as adult masterworks.

Along with Black Orpheus, albums from which this Very Best was compiled include the foundational Vince Guaraldi Trio with Duran (Original Jazz Classics, 1990), The Latin Side Of Vince Guaraldi (OJC, '96) and Vince And Bola (OJC, '99), plus several Charlie Brown soundtracks.