CD Review: Love Will Come – The Music of Vince Guaraldi Vol. 2

George Winston and Vince Guaraldi. Two musicians who evoke wildly different memories for me. Guaraldi is famous for his compositions for the classic Peanuts TV specials, especially A Charlie Brown Christmas, a seminal part of my childhood. Jazz pianist Winston was part of the stable at Windham Hill Records in the late 1970s and 80s, a label whose folk and New Age sounds immediately conjure simpler days as I made my first forays into a musical career in college. In 1996, Winston recorded the first volume of Guaraldi tunes, Linus and Lucy. A second solo piano volume of signature Guaraldi tunes, Love Will Come, has recently been released on RCA Victor.

When I think of Guaraldi’s music, I, of course, immediately jump to the jazzy, upbeat tunes he provided for the Peanuts specials. And there are plenty of those jazz-inflected tunes scattered throughout the album. Fans of the TV specials will recognize snippets of familiar melodies, though no one track seems to be a direct quote.

Woodstock’s familiar tune is there, as well as “Time for Love” (an interpretation of the main theme from THERE’S NO TIME FOR LOVE, CHARLIE BROWN), “It Was a short Summer, Charlie Brown,” and “You’re Elected, Charlie Brown.” But “Air Music” (also known as “Surfin’ Snoopy”), which was used in three Peanuts specials, will probably be the most familiar tune.

Love Will Come - The Music of Vince Guaraldi Vol. 2 CD
“Air Music”
“Love Will Come 2”

In addition to the Peanuts tunes, the album contains lyrical jazz, Latin-tinged songs, and bebop. But it is the quiet moments that are particularly lovely. Tracks like “Love Will Come,” “Room At the Bottom,” and “Rain, Rain Go Away” show us the poignant beating of Guaraldi’s heart beneath his inimitable talent.

The liner notes provides a bio of Guaraldi and reminiscences by Winston. The detailed notes by Jay Junker and Winston on each track, including the history of the tunes and the musicals keys, are most impressive.

Like Winston’s work at Windham Hill, the album is a pleasure to listen to. While the piano playing sounds a little heavy-handed at times, that may be a product of the engineering. I personally would have dialed back the bass lines a bit, though the bass does give the recording some depth. But those are minor quibbles. Winston has obvious affection for Guaraldi’s music and it shows in his performances.

The question becomes, with recordings of Guaraldi playing his own tunes out there, why purchase Winston’s interpretations? As Winston says in the liner notes, “I want to do what I can to help keep [Guaraldi’s] legacy alive.” Sounds like a pretty good reason to me.

  1. Aww! I had a Charlie Brown blanket as a child and this just brought all those great memories rushing back. :) It’s awesome to learn more about the people behind those tunes.

    Thanks for writing this!
    .-= Nathalie Lussier´s last blog ..Chronic Fibromyalgia Relief with Raw Food =-.

    1. Hi Nathalie, thanks for commenting! Yeah, talk about memories rushing back! It’s amazing how music is filled with memories and emotion.

      On a side note, for those of you looking to eat healthier, check out Nathalie’s site, Download her ebooks and sign up for her emails. If she can get me to eat (well, actually DRINK) spinach (which I loathe), she MUST have supernatural powers.

  2. WInsotn’s first Guaraldi collection bugged me, and in particular his interpretation of Cast Your Fate to the Wind. I’m so familiar with the piece and Guaraldi’s improv section in the middle that I was really put off by Winston’s completely, well, Winston-like improv section. Icky. It just seemed way out of character from the restthe piece. Oh well. I’ll stick with the originals.
    .-= That Neil Guy´s last blog ..Where No Man Has Gone Before =-.

    1. I can understand that. I haven’t heard most of Guaraldi’s recordings, except in the Peanuts shows, so what I heard here was quite pleasant. But I can understand stick with the originals certainly.

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