Good grief! If you don’t already own this album, rush out and buy it. For most children born in America in the latter half of the 20th century Mr. Guaraldi is their first exposure to the world of jazz. My first recollections of sound are my mother’s heartbeat and the excellent piece know as “Linus and Lucy.” It is sheer genius and needs to be passed onto future generations. You might remember it as the song that the entire gang dances to and the one kid in the background alternates nodding his head twice over each shoulder. Give him a break; it’s hard to dance in two dimensions.
The soundtrack is actually for a CBS documentary about Charles Schulz and Peanuts, but the tracks made they’re way into other specials over the years. I was flooded with memories as I listed to this album. Tinkling piano keys open the first track “Oh, Good Grief” and I expected an announcer to tell me about Dolly Madison treats. “Happiness Is” is a slow number that I can see Charlie Brown sitting at a brick wall with Linus, frustrated as he tries to understand the way the world works. The gang walks down the street to “Charlie Brown Theme” headed to their next adventure.
The music branches out on other tracks. “Pebble Beach” has a bossa nova drumming to it. We switch momentarily switch to the classical genre as a sole piano plays on “Schroeder,” but would you expect anything less from a song named after Beethoven’s greatest champion. There is a bonus track, which is a cover of “Fly Me To The Moon.”
This won’t have the same primal impact if you haven’t seen the Peanuts specials, but the music is still very, very good. Vince, along side bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey, have crafted a number of enjoyable tunes that would have left an impact on the world of jazz even if its popularity hadn’t been augmented by its association with Peanuts. It’s great music for any martini party or when you are out trying to kick footballs.
Audiophiles might be disappointed in the sound quality. There are noticeable hisses during the quieter moments on some of the tracks. I didn’t mind it because it added a historical perspective to the work and the quality of the music outweighs recording flaws of the past.