Sunday, December 23, 2018

End-of-the-year tidbits

A few items that have been idling in the to-do pile...

Guaraldi's good friend and champion Charles "Chuck" Gompertz died October 2, at the generous age of 83. Vince's fans know Gompertz as the Episcopal priest who chose the pianist to compose and perform the Jazz Mass that honored the completion of San Francisco's Grace Cathedral in the spring of 1965. I knew Chuck from the many generous interviews he gave during the research phase of my biography of Vince, and from the warm and friendly correspondence — and occasional visits — that resulted from our initial chats, and continued until he died.

The Marin Independent Journal published an informative obituary, which can be read here.

I wish I had a photo of Vince and Chuck together, but — if such an image existed — the latter never was able to find one for me. So I'll settle for the photo here, which certainly conveys Chuck's friendly warmth. I'll miss him dearly.


On a lighter note, fellow Guaraldi fan Jim Ford called my attention to a delightful, long-ago anecdote involving Vince and bassist Chubby Jackson, which is detailed in this November 2008 post in Bill Crow's Band Room. You'll find it toward the top, in the second paragraph. It's a definite smile.

May your holidays be jolly and backed by numerous re-plays of Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas album, and may the New Year bring us ever more exciting developments regarding Dr. Funk.

Monday, December 17, 2018

It ain't necessarily so

This is quite brazen.

Fans of Christmas jazz might be tempted, at first blush, to pick up this MP3 EP collection of tunes by famed West Coast jazz pianist Pete Jolly and equally acclaimed jazz bassist Leroy Vinnegar.

Alas, this “collection” is nothing of the kind.

Some crook concealed behind the bogus identity of “SRI Jazz” has simply lifted six tracks from Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas album, in a few cases supplying sloppy new titles (“Bagatelle No. 25”???). 

On top of which — not that this matters much — the audio quality is dreadful.

This con job is readily available via both Amazon and Google Play ($5.94), and iTunes ($7.74), where you’ll immediately recognize Guaraldi’s work via the brief audio clips. The damn thing also pops up in Spotify, and at least one of the tracks (“The Christmas Song”) has been posted in YouTube by “Label Engine” (where, thankfully, it has been correctly identified by one commenter).

I left a “Buyer beware” review with Amazon, and also contacted them with a strong suggestion that the item be de-listed, as it’s fraudulent; unfortunately, Amazon is notoriously unhelpful (unconcerned?) about such things, so I’m not holding my breath.

SRI has a rather slapdash web site, although — given this example — I’d be wary of purchasing anything from them.

As the Internet constantly proves, there’s no shortage of hustlers hoping to take advantage of the unwary. Caveat emptor!