It is just not Christmas for me without playing the soundtrack from " A Charlie Brown Christmas". The music of The Vince Guaraldi Trio cheers me to no end. Funny this year a Facebook friend wrote me to tell me this music depressed him. I thought are you kidding? I just love it and thought I would share some background on Vince "Dr Funk" Guaraldi. Merry Christmas Charlie Brown! RK

Vince Guaraldi's smooth trio compositions -- piano, bass and drums -- perfectly balanced Charlie Brown's kid-sized universe. Sprightly, puckish, and just as swiftly somber and poignant, these gentle jazz riffs established musical trademarks which, to this day, still prompt smiles of recognition.

Vince Guaraldi

They reflected the whimsical personality of a man affectionately known as a "pixie", an image Guaraldi did not discourage. He'd wear funny hats, wild mustaches, and display hairstyles from buzzed crew cuts to rock-star shags.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" debuted in December 1965, it did more than reunite Schulz, Mendelson, Melendez and Guaraldi, all of whom quickly turned the Peanuts franchise into a television institution.

That first special also shot Guaraldi to greater fame, and he became welded to all subsequent Peanuts shows. Many of his earliest Peanuts tunes -- "Linus and Lucy", "Red Baron" and "Great Pumpkin Waltz", among others -- became signature themes that turned up in later specials.

My favorite Non-Charlie Brown Guaraldi Trio tune

Sadly, Guaraldi died at age 47 on February 6, 1976. The evening before, he had dined at Peanuts producer Lee Mendelson's home, and was reportedly not feeling well, complaining of indigestion-like chest discomfort that his doctor had told him was nothing to worry about.

The following evening, after concluding the first set at Butterfield's Nightclub in Menlo Park, California with his rousing interpretation of "Eleanor Rigby," Guaraldi and drummer Jim Zimmerman returned to the room they were staying in that weekend at the adjacent Red Cottage Inn, to relax before the next set. Zimmerman commented, "He (Vince) was walking across the room and just collapsed. That was it."

His cause of death has been variously described as a heart attack or an aortic aneurysm. Guaraldi had just finished recording the soundtrack for It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown earlier that afternoon.

1 comment:

Marco said...

A fantastic share Kimmer! Guaraldi gave life to these classic characters through his music and embedded some of my best childhood memories in song!.. Every time I sit down at the piano I whip out the intro to "Schroeders Theme" just to pay homage! :)

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