Vince Guaraldi – Music From The Soundtrack It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – Craft Recordings

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Jazz CD Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Craft Recordings releases a limited edition vinyl of Vine Guaraldi.

Vince Guaraldi – Music From The Soundtrack It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – Concord Music/Craft Recordings CR00450 Limited Edition Pumpkin-Shaped 45 r.p.m. LP, 20:17 ****:

(Vince Guaraldi – piano; Monty Budwig – double bass; Colin Bailey – drums; John Gray – guitar;  Ronald Lang – woodwinds; Emmanuel Klein – trumpet)

No jazz artist impacted American pop culture more than pianist Vince Guaraldi. His iconic compositions for the Charles Schulz beloved Peanuts animated television specials transcended music. These shows brought the various comic strip characters to life, with the lovable Charlie Brown at the forefront. The association was so visceral that listeners could visualize individual scenes just from listening to the albums. Guaraldi was able to maintain his bona fide jazz roots in developing this music. The initial recording Jazz Impressions Of A Boy Named Charlie Brown was written for a special that did not air. The follow up, A Charlie Brown Christmas defined the Guaraldi/Peanuts trend-setting cultural moment. Based on the success of the Christmas television show (and album, too), Guaraldi wrote a score for a Halloween-based special. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown further established his music as pure Americana legacy.

Craft Recordings has released a limited edition “pumpkin-shaped” 45 r.p.m. vinyl of It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. The album is a direct reflection of the television show. Many of the cuts are presented in snippets and some with two reprises. Additionally there is a sextet in place of the customary trio. One of the certain highlights is a dynamic full (as in 2:00) version of “Linus And Lucy” that features a wonderful counterpoint by Ronald Lang on flute. This song with cool grooves and jazzy swing is eternally listenable. Even the truncated covers are crisp and the addition of flute and trumpet (Emmanuel Klein) change the textural aesthetic without losing the joyful exuberance. Both reprises have similar instrumentation. Another timeless melody is “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” (also with two reprises). Guaraldi’s delicate touch on piano and the gentle sway and  chord descent of the 3/4 time is dream-like. A guitar accompaniment by John Gray complements piano and flute. The tracks are taken directly from the television show. There are noises and special effects that work very well in the abbreviated songs. Guaraldi embraces the fun of the moment on “Graveyard Theme” and “Trick Or Treat”. There is even a “Charlie Brown Theme” that is cool and breezy (with a great piano solo), invoking the whimsical nature of the Peanuts everyman.

Snoopy’s World War I Sopwith Camel storyline is also a key component of the soundtrack. Of course his nemesis gets a small fragment (“The Red Baron”/“Military Drum March”). Guaraldi’s medley (solo piano) of early 20th century ditties (“It’s A Long Way To Tipperary”/“There’s A Long, Long Trail A-Winding”/“Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag”/“Roses Of Picardy”) is evocative and heartwarming. Even Snoopy gets a short vocal. 

This special limited edition vinyl of Music From The Soundtrack It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will be a treat for vinyl collectors. Of course, there is always classic Vince Guaraldi to enjoy!

Side A: Linus And Lucy; Graveyard Theme; Snoopy And The Leaf/Frieda (With The Naturally Curly Hair); The Great Pumpkin Waltz; Linus And Lucy (Reprise); Charlie Brown Theme/Happy Linus; The Great Pumpkin Waltz (Reprise); The Red Baron/Military Drum March
Side B: The Great Pumpkin Waltz (2nd Reprise); Trick Or Treat; Fanfare/Breathless Trick Or Treat (Reprise); Breathless; It’s A Long Way To Tipperary/There’s A Long, Long Trail A-Winding/Pack UpYour Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag/Roses Of Picardy; Trick Or Treat (2nd Reprise); Linus And Lucy (2nd Reprise); Charlie Brown Theme (2nd Reprise). 

—Robbie Gerson

Additional review of music by Vince Guaraldi

For more information, please visit Craft Recordings website:

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Vince Guaraldi - Music From The Soundtrack Its The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Album Cover

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