Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hogie's Heroes: Vince Guaraldi

Hey how could I post about my childhood experiences with music without mentioning this generously mustached fellow? Only the most hard hearted crank wouldn't have fond memories of Guaraldi's theme music to the Peanuts cartoons. Vince's soundtracks struck just the right balance of jazzy modernism and cartoony fun. I imagine for a whole generation, hearing these tunes evokes a Pavlovian craving for a raspberry zinger. His untimely death in 1976 at the age of 47 sadly pointed towards the gradual decline of the series. ("Flashbeagle" anyone?)

That all said, despite this being the holiday season I'm not going to post a song from "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Those are sufficiently ubiquitous that I can pretty much guarantee that some store near you is playing "Christmas Time is Here"even as I type these words. Instead I thought I'd post my favorite song of his which actually wasn't in a Peanuts special. (In fact though, producer Lee Mendelson hearing this song is what got Guaraldi the gig.) Recorded for the album "Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus" (Inspired by the movie of the same name.) "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" was released as a B-side to the bossa nova single "Samba de Orpheus", "Cast" got a whole new lease on life when radio DJs started flipping the record over and playing it. It eventually went on to win the Grammy for Best Original Jazz Composition.

Although it was recorded several years before I was born, it was still a radio mainstay in the 70's and never fails to make me smile.

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