Monday, July 22, 2019

A little of this, a little of that: Summer 2019

Guaraldi's pop-culture relevance continues to shine...

The Marvel TV series Legion featured two of his Peanuts tracks on the current third (and final) season's second episode, simply titled "Chapter 21." (Mind you, given the show's deliberately outré weirdness, it's impossible to know why the tunes were used.)

Toward the beginning, the soundtrack featured the seldom-heard vocal version of "Oh, Good Grief." Later into the episode, the Shadow King is shown at the piano, playing "Christmas Time Is Here" ... although the backing combo was nowhere to be seen. (As Guaraldi fan Rob pointed out, the lighting was quite moody, so maybe they were hidden behind a pillar somewhere.)

Given this show's target audience, I can't help wondering if most viewers even recognized one or both tunes...


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Following last autumn's CD debut of Guaraldi's score for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown -- details available in this earlier post -- Concord's Craft Recordings division has announced the upcoming release of vinyl versions. Note that -- as has become custom these days -- various retailers will have uniquely different versions.

According to Concord's press release...

On the eve of Vince Guaraldi being honored with the National Music Council's American Eagle Award -- details here -- Craft Recordings celebrates his 91st birthday by announcing the vinyl edition of his music for It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, scheduled for release on August 30. The disc will include the iconic pumpkin as an etching on side B. The package also includes an introduction from the TV special’s executive producer, Lee Mendelson, and insightful liner notes by Derrick Bang, Peanuts historian and author of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano.


A special limited edition (500 copies only) -- pressed on a glow-in-the-dark vinyl -- will be available exclusively at the Craft Recordings Store.

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Music from the Soundtrack features some of the most iconic tracks in pop culture, including the instantly recognizable “Linus and Lucy,” as well as the languid, lyrical “Great Pumpkin Waltz.” The music was recorded on October 4, 1966, at Desilu’s Gower Street Studio in Hollywood, California, by Guaraldi (piano) and his longtime friends and trio sidemen -- bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey -- joined by Emanuel Klein (trumpet), John Gray (guitar) and Ronald Lang (woodwinds). 

“This is the quintessential Vince Guaraldi for our Peanuts specials ... some of his best atmospheric jazz,” Mendelson notes. “Vince’s score carries the gang with the autumn leaves, through the scary and cold Halloween night. This music comforts the indomitable faith of Linus, still waiting for his hero since 1966: forever in our ears, hearts and memories.”

“Guaraldi had a strong sense of how music could -- and should -- be employed to maximize the viewing audience’s emotional response,” writes Bang. “[He] emphatically established the Peanuts ‘musical personality’ with this third outing, and all subsequent prime-time specials owed much to the groovin’ atmosphere that is so prevalent in Great Pumpkin. Guaraldi had a gig for life ... and his legacy lives on, expand[ing] by the year, thanks in great part to the jazz swagger given to an insecure blockhead and his lovably crazy beagle.”

This announcement comes on the anniversary of Guaraldi’s birthday (born July 17, 1928). We honor a real-life Schroeder, who through his music introduced generation after generation to the beauty of the distinctly American artform of jazz.

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