Two Original Albums
From undergraduate boogie-woogie pianist to creator of the music for Peanuts television specials, Vince Guaraldi came up in solid fashion through the jazz ranks, paying his dues along the way. He became a fixture on the San Francisco scene, gracing the clubs of North Beach with the trio that made all the music on the 1957 LP A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing. With guitarist Eddie Duran and bassist Dean Reilly interacting perfectly, Guaraldi offers up a thoughtful, introspective set with Billy Strayhorn's title song, Guaraldi's own "Like a Mighty Rose," and Ann Ronell's bluesy "Willow Weep for Me" particularly touching. And when he has to swing at medium tempo, as on Sigmund Romberg's "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," Vince fills the bill with equal skill.
1962 follow-up Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus was originally intended as an early Stateside acknowledgment of the power of Brazilian bossa nova, and it remains one of the best examples of early jazz samba. Guaraldi selected classic themes from the acclaimed 1959 film Black Orpheus, applying the superior sense of presentation that had already made him a leading trio pianist. The lasting impact of the album, however, can be traced to the incredibly popular Guaraldi original that led off the original LP's contrasting second side of trio music. "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" became that rare phenomenon, an instrumental jazz hit single and Grammy award winner, that made Guaraldi a household name among jazz fans even before his Charlie Brown scores.