How many children over the years had their first introduction to jazz via Vince Guaraldi? The late composer/piano man established the definitive sound of Charlie Brown via his scores to some seventeen of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts television specials (plus a feature film and other projects. When The Peanuts Movie arrived on the big screen in 2015 with songs from contemporary artists like Meghan Trainor and Flo Rida, Vince Guaraldi’s compositions were still front and center. Last year, Concord/Fantasy collected 12 of Guaraldi’s most beloved Peanuts tunes on one CD. Now, Peanuts Greatest Hits has recently been reissued on a special picture-disc vinyl edition.
Guaraldi was once known as “Dr. Funk,” and indeed, his fleet, slinky grooves brought the characters of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder and the rest of the gang to life. Five of the twelve tracks on Peanuts Greatest Hits – including “Linus and Lucy,” “Baseball Theme,” “Happiness Is,” and “Oh, Good Grief” are reprised from the original Jazz Impressions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown album, still the quintessential Peanuts LP. The record was originally released in 1964 as the soundtrack to an unreleased documentary film. Although the movie was never aired on television, it garnered Schulz and his team the support to create their masterwork, 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas.
The soundtrack to that seminal special reprised some music from the first album, but introduced other staples now featured on this collection including “Christmas Time is Here” (included in two versions), “Skating” and “Christmas is Coming.” Guaraldi’s holiday treats “Thanksgiving Theme” and “Great Pumpkin Waltz” are also included on Greatest Hits as is his vocal performance of the Woodstock tribute, “Little Birdie.” The pianist-leader is joined on these tracks by musicians such as Monty Budwig (bass), Colin Bailey (drums), Tom Harrell (trumpet), Chuck Bennett (trombone), Seward McCain (bass), Mike Clark (drums), Fred Marshall (bass) and Jerry Granelli (drums).
Concord’s picture disc release features Charles Schulz’s image of Charlie Brown on one side of the vinyl, with Lucy on the other side. The vinyl has been mastered by George Horn and Anne-Marie Suenram at Fantasy Studios. Peanuts Greatest Hits is still available on CD and standard black vinyl LP, as well.
- Linus and Lucy
- Charlie Brown Theme
- Baseball Theme
- Oh, Good Grief
- Happiness Is
- Little Birdie
- Great Pumpkin Waltz
- Thanksgiving Theme
- Christmas is Coming
- Christmas Time is Here (Instrumental)
- Christmas Time is Here (Vocal)