OVERALL GRADE: B
Apart from the tinny recording quality (the only reason for a grade that's not an A), this is a first-rate CD featuring tracks which have become classics in the modern jazz canon - so much so that pianist George Winston put out a 1996 CD of solo piano renditions of composer Vince Guaraldi's compositions. Many parents grew up eagerly awaiting yearly reruns of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and could play the opening notes of "Linus and Lucy" on the piano. The music is at once nostalgic and a celebration of contemporary jazz.
With the exception of the religious carol "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," little of the music is explicitly Christian in theme. "The Christmas Song" is an elegant version of the holiday song popularly known as "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire." "What Child Is This," a rewriting of the medieval folk tune "Greensleeves," stands out memorably among the hundreds of recorded versions of the song.
Guaraldi had a hit single with "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" and was widely admired by jazz fans, but will unquestionably be remembered primarily for the music he wrote for the Charlie Brown specials, with its boogie-woogie and blues influences and infectious beat. A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING features more of his famous compositions.
Kids: Almost everyone loves the music of Charlie Brown. Children under three and adults listen to this CD with equal enthusiasm.
Adults: Fans of jazz as well as those who grew up watching "Peanuts" specials will enjoy Vince Guaraldi's evocative piano.
Composer Guaraldi adapts several classic Christmas songs in his impressionistic jazz style. Children familiar with carols will be able to hear the difference between these versions and more traditional recordings. Modern classic "Linus and Lucy" and Beethoven's piano classic "Fur Elise" are both important melodies which children may have heard on other shows and in performance.
With the exception of "Linus and Lucy," few of these tracks are likely to get children revved up.
1. O Tannenbaum - Car
2. What Child Is This - Car
3. My Little Drum - Car
4. Linus and Lucy - Play
5. Christmas Time Is Here (instrumental) - Quiet
6. Christmas Time Is Here (vocal) - Quiet
7. Skating - Car
8. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing - Car
9. Christmas Is Coming - Play
10. Fur Elise - Quiet
11. The Christmas Song - Quiet
12. Greensleeves - Car