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Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Craft/Fantasty)

22 December 2020

The 1965 soundtrack album for A Charlie Brown Christmas is an evergreen holiday classic with good reason. With its accessible melodies and deft musicianship, the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s score continues to serve as a point of entry for new generations of fans to discover jazz music at any age. Seasonal favorites including “O Tannenbaum” and “What Child is This” expand beyond their familiar melodies to showcase Guaraldi’s sparkling piano, Fred Marshall’s rich and woody double bass, and Jerry Granelli’s inimitable touch on his brushed snare drum.

Originally released on 1964’s Jazz Impressions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, the ebullient “Linus and Lucy” is widely recognizable as the trio’s signature piece and a standard of jazz piano. Guaraldi composed the warm and drowsy shuffle “Christmas Time is Here” and the carefree “Skating” especially for the program. “Christmas Time is Here” is present as an instrumental piece, and as a second version featuring the children’s choir heard in the animated special.

Repeated airings of the cartoon have embedded these songs into the American consciousness. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” features the children’s choir accompanied by hymnal organ. The celebratory “Christmas is Coming” serves as the soundtrack to the memorable school dance scene from the program.

This vinyl reissue celebrates the 70th anniversary of Charles SchulzPeanuts comic strip. The familiar album cover comes alive with a limited-edition lenticular print that shows Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy dancing around the Christmas tree, with Snoopy perched on top. Make no mistake, though – an LP this good is worth spinning any time of year.