Charlie Brown's favorite jazz pianist


#1

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#2

Am I the only person in the world who really doesn’t like the Charlie Brown Christmas?


#3

No, Scrooge and the Grinch don’t like it either.


#4

Vince Guaraldi really was an amazing musician, and it’s hard not to like his trio work. I was even more impressed when I found out that he was actually pretty short – 5’6" – yet his pianowork includes extremely wide finger spans! I tried to learn “Skating,” which seems simple when you listen to it, but I suppose like all good music it sounds simple but it’s actually quite challenging to reproduce.


#5

Without Guaraldi’s music, the cartoon wouldn’t have become such a popular holiday program.
Or is that just the case in my home?


#6

And Osama Bin Laden. He hated it.

However, he was a big fan of Snoopy Come Home.

@WearySky It’s plain to see that you hate America, and all of her Treasured Holiday Specials.


#7

Wow, way to milk one second of the same exact animation! The girl in purple is even there twice (just inverted).


#8

Probably not. But that doesn’t mean you should admit it.

You must be a VTP - Very Terrible Person. Pray to the Great Pumpkin for redemption.


#9

Yes. It’s a special hypnotic effect that has yet to be matched by today’s so-called superior technology. Stay with the classics, I say.

Now, excuse me while I go march in place with my arms outstretched like the Mummy.


#10

Or, conversely (and not to detract from the truth of your statement):

Even absent any association with fond and nostalgic memories from childhood, Guaraldi’s music in general — and the “Peanuts theme song” in particular — stands on its own as ebullient and evocative music that truly seems to make the listener want to spontaneously dance.


#11

The problem with jazz for playing at home is all those other instruments, than the piano. Didn’t realize they were even there until I started looking at the sheet music and wondering what was wrong.


#12

I have the same issue with the music in my head.


#13

My 10 year old son loves the Charlie Brown specials. We have to record them and keep them around for a month for re-viewing. He’s also found them on YouTube. We were all recently watching some unrelated show that had a number of musicians start jamming together and my son’s ears perked up. “What’s that? What are they playing?” he asked. “That’s jazz. They’re all just improvising,” was our reply. “Well, then why does it sound like the music from the Charlie Brown shows?” He may not know anything about jazz, but he knows it when he hears it.


#14

Sounds like you have a musician in the house!


#15

My kid was like that, at that age. I showed him some sharps and flats and he asked for staff paper for Christmas. Now the film-maker kids go to him to score their incidental music. Talent like that deserves encouragement!


#16

We took our 12 year old daughters to see Jerry Granelli (the drummer for the Vince Guaraldi Trio for the Charlie Brown music, and the last surviving member) play the music with his trio a few days ago. He had great stories about how the whole thing came about and particularly how it almost never aired. CBS balked at two elements, the jazz music and Linus’s meaning of Christmas speech.


#17

You make an excellent point.


#18

Definitely. We have the Charlie Brown Christmas album on CD and it gets played a ton. I haven’t seen the movie in over a decade and I don’t really have a ton of nostalgia, but the music is just great.


#19

Despite having loved the Peanuts strips while growing up I don’t feel the same nostalgia for the TV specials. They were kinda shoddy and not all that funny.

But as suggested, the music saves it.


#20

Agree, absolutely with Errico’s appreciation of Vince Guaraldi. I have voluntarily listened to the soundtrack as often if not more than Errico has submitted to his child’s looping of the television show. Guaraldi would be my choice were I to be forever stranded on Christmas Island. And I get Errico’s genuinely funny, over-arch observations about “Peanuts”. It’s a knowing joke that Charles M. Schulz would have appreciated and he likely would have forgiven Errico’s block-headedness. “Peanuts” was always self-consciously about an adult’s looking-back to a childhood, not as it was then experienced, nor as an idealized remembrance of youth, but as it survived as part of the adult author’s admittedly imperfect character. There was a poignancy in Schulz’s work, where that otherwise quiet and reportedly shy man shared what he made of his own story and his sometimes troubled self, with the world.

It is plain silly to think that Vince Guaraldi had not tapped into that aspect of “Peanuts” when he composed and recorded his masterpiece. But you would think from Errico’s piece that Guaraldi en-grafted his memorable music to serve as a cover over an otherwise repellant base. The largest part of “Peanuts” was always its essential good-heartedness. It was Schulz’s genius that he could convey that through his gentle, yet subtly-barbed depictions of human foibles and frailties. He had particular skill and nuance in drawing characters like Lucy, who simultaneously showed the problematic traits of some women, but even more powerfully illustrated the fear and inability of men to come to terms with women as equals. That Lucy could be a fussbudget, that Linus could be avoidant, that Charlie Brown be depressive, makes them deserving of contempt? Schulz and Vince Guaraldi saw better than that, and it is a small shame that Errico mars his appreciation with cheap shots against Schulz. Vince Guaraldi didn’t need to draw attention to his legacy that way and I hope Errico is better than that.