This super deluxe 5-disc version of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas features a new stereo mix remastered from the original 3-track and 2-track sources, plus the original stereo mix on disc one, and much more.
In addition to disc one of Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, discs two through four offer a trove of unheard outtakes from five recording sessions that place listeners in the studio as the musicians work through their arrangements. The Blu-ray disc includes hi-resolution audio of the new mix as well as a Dolby Atmos mix. This book-style box set also includes new liner notes from Peanuts historian, Derrick Bang.
In the early ’60s, Bay Area jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi was a fast-rising star. A frequent collaborator of vibraphonist Cal Tjader, Guaraldi had broken out on his own just a few years prior, releasing several records as a leader. But it was 1962’s Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus that made Guaraldi a household name. Inspired by the French/Brazilian film Black Orpheus, the album featured both original material and covers from the Academy Award-winning picture, including Guaraldi’s instrumental composition, “Cast Your Fate To The Wind.” The song became a breakout hit across the country and earned the artist a Grammy Award.
Concurrently, just across town, producer Lee Mendelson was working on a TV documentary about cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. But he was still searching for the perfect music to accompany the film. One afternoon, Mendelson caught “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” on the radio. As soon as he heard it, he knew Guaraldi was the man for the job. His instinct was spot-on. Guaraldi’s sophisticated recordings, which also featured the talents of bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey, instantly brought the Peanuts characters to life.
While the documentary never made it to the airwaves, Guaraldi’s score was released by Fantasy Records as Jazz Impressions Of A Boy Named Charlie Brown in 1964. Several of the album’s compositions, including the iconic “Linus And Lucy,” appeared a year later in the hit TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Guaraldi would score a total of 15 Peanuts specials during his lifetime, with 1976’s It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown being his final project. Just hours after completing the recording, Guaraldi died from a sudden heart attack. He was just 47.
While a massive gap was left in the Peanuts music universe after his death, Guaraldi left behind an immeasurable legacy. Thanks to his vibrant music, generations of children have been introduced to the joys of jazz with every broadcast of the Peanuts specials. Today, the passion for his enduring work continues to grow. His most popular title, A Charlie Brown Christmas, remains one of the best-selling holiday releases of all time and has the rare distinction of being one of only two jazz albums to be certified 4x platinum by the RIAA.