Vince Guaraldi

Vince Guaraldi, a jazz pianist and born in San Francisco on July 17, 1928. He graduated from San Francisco State College. Guaraldi had already been performing in college venues such as Jackson’s Nook and Black Hawk, sometimes with the Chubby Jackson/Bill Harris group, and other times with Sonny Criss or Bill Harris. He also performed at minor gigs, such as weddings. Guaraldi’s debut recording can be heard on “Vibratharpe”, a 1953 release of the Cal Tjader Trio. He formed his own trio with his long-time friend Eddie Duran, on guitar, and Dean Reilly, on bass. They then tackled North Beach’s bohemian club “hungry i”, where his piano playing became a big draw. The Guaraldi sound was soon recognized. The original Vince Guaraldi Trio with Eddie Duran, Dean Reilly and Dean Reilly can be heard on two genuinely enjoyable releases, “The Vince Guaraldi Trio”, (1956) or “A Flower Is a Lovesome Ting” (1957). Guaraldi was on tour in 1956 with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd. He replaced Nat Pierce as pianist for one season. Guaraldi was inspired by Orfeu Negro (1959), a French-Brazilian film. (Black Orpheus). Guaraldi went to the studio with a new trio: Monty Budwig, Colin Bailey and Colin Bailey. He also recorded his own renditions of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s haunting soundtrack music. “Jazz Impression of Black Orpheus”, the 1962 album, was released by Fantasy Records’ then-owner Saul Zaentz. “Samba De Orpheus,” was the first single. Guaraldi’s producers reworked a small original composition called “Cast Your Fate to The Wind” and it became a huge hit. It won the 1963 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Composition. Guaraldi was best known for scoring A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), (TV) in 1965. This animated cartoon, which was based on Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts”, saw him score every Peanuts TV special until his death. Guaraldi, 47, died suddenly from a heart attack while waiting in a motel between sets at Menlo Park’s Butterfield’s nightclub. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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