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Archive for the ‘Vince Guaraldi’ Category

Release Round-Up: Week of May 13

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Michael Jackson - XscapeMichael Jackson, Xscape (Epic)

Where was this three years ago? This collection of eight outtakes, augmented with tasteful future-retro production by Timbaland, Stargate, L.A. Reid and others, is possibly the best project to escape the MJ vaults yet. For the discerning fan, Epic’s done you a solid, offering a deluxe package with the same songs in their untouched demo form. It’s really something.

Standard CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Deluxe CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Brain Salad SurgeryEmerson, Lake & Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery: Deluxe Edition (Sony Music U.K.)

One of ELP’s defining albums is now available in an imported deluxe multi-disc box featuring original and new stereo remixes of the album, an alternate assembly from rare and unreleased outtakes and DVDs featuring documentary footage and a 5.1 mix of the album.

3CD/2DVD/1LP: Amazon U.K.
2CD/1DVD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. (on Razor & Tie 7/1)

A Boy Named Charlie BrownThe Vince Guaraldi Trio, Jazz Impressions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown (Fantasy)

Before A Charlie Brown Christmas, this was Vince Guaraldi’s first album devoted to Charles M. Schultz’s lovable comic strip hero – the score to a never-aired documentary. It’s been remastered and expanded for its 50th anniversary, and a full story is forthcoming!

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Porter Dolly boxPorter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, Just Between You and Me: The Complete Recordings 1967-1976 (Bear Family)

A brilliant six-disc box set chronicling the dozen-plus RCA Victor albums created by this immortal country duo, not to mention more than a dozen rare and unreleased tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Beat - Complete BoxThe Beat, The Complete Studio Recordings (Edsel)

Edsel’s no stranger to The (English) Beat’s catalogue, but this smart new box keeps it to the essentials: all three original studio LPs, plus a disc of essential B-sides and remixes. (Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K.)

Elaine Paige - Ultimate CollectionElaine Paige, The Ultimate Collection (Warner Music UK)

A brilliant career-spanning compilation from the U.K. musical theatre star, available in standard and deluxe editions with some choice rarities to boot.

Standard Version:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Special Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Delicate Sound of ThunderPink Floyd, Delicate Sound of Thunder (Parlophone)

A new remaster of Pink Floyd’s 1988 double live album, recorded on the Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ned Doheny - Separate OceansNed Doheny, Separate Oceans (Numero Group)

A cult favorite on the edges of the California rock sound of the ’70s, Ned Doheny is celebrated with a new compilation combining some previously released tracks for Columbia and Asylum with ten unreleased demos – three of which feature the talents of Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles.

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.


The Sound - Jeopardy Plus BoxThe Sound, Jeopardy/From the Lion’s Mouth/All Fall Down…Plus (Edsel)

A criminally underrated British post-punk band gets their due on a new set from Edsel collating the band’s first three albums, all expanded, with a DVD of BBC performances. (Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K.)

Glad All Over BDThe Dave Clark Five, The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over DVD & Blu-ray (PBS Home Video)

Fifty years after the DC5 took part in the British Invasion, this documentary features new testimonials from famous fans and contemporaries plus great, rarely-seen archival footage.

DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Androcles OST

Original Television Soundtrack Recording, Androcles and the Lion (Masterworks Broadway)

The RCA Victor soundtrack recording of composer/lyricist Richard Rodgers’ 1967 television musical Androcles and the Lion – starring Ed Ames, Noel Coward, John Cullum, Inga Swenson and Norman Wisdom is receiving its first-ever reissue in any format exclusively from Masterworks in a limited quantity of MOD CD-Rs as well as digital download.

Dave Van Ronk - Monterey

Dave Van Ronk, Live in Monterey 1998 (Omnivore)

Omnivore presents sixteen never-before-released live tracks from the great folk troubadour who inspired Inside Llewyn Davis. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)


It’s a New Reissue, Charlie Brown! Classic Christmas LP Expanded Again (and Reissued Again!)

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A Charlie Brown Christmas Snoopy Doghouse EditionUPDATE (9/27/2013): If you missed this remaster of A Charlie Brown Christmas (which we later reviewed) last year, fear not: it’s being released again – same disc, same master – with special “Snoopy Doghouse” packaging on October 22, 2013. That version can be bought by clicking the image above.

ORIGINAL POST (8/23/2012): Around Second Disc HQ, it’s hardly a Christmas season without good friends and family, beautiful decorations, and classic holiday music. For this holiday, a new CD edition of one of our favorite Christmas classics is coming out with a new remaster of Vince Guaraldi’s immortal soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).

Vince Guaraldi would have likely attained icon status with his 1962 song “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” a breezy, Grammy-winning tune that seemed destined to become a standard. The song was heard by television producer Lee Mendelson, who was in the middle of finding a composer to provide a soundtrack to A Boy Named Charlie Brown, a documentary Mendelson was producing on Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the wildly popular Peanuts comic strip. Though the documentary was never aired on TV, Guaraldi’s music coupled with new animation of Charlie Brown and friends by Bill Melendez encouraged CBS to take a chance on a half-hour holiday special featuring the characters.

Despite a tight budget and a cast of young, untrained voice actors, A Charlie Brown Christmas became a rightful smash, viewed by half of the American television audiences in its premiere broadcast. To this day, dozens of Peanuts specials – some with music by and inspired by Guaraldi (who died in 1976) – have been made, and A Charlie Brown Christmas is still a network television staple.

The album, containing the unforgettable originals “Christmas Time is Here” and “Linus and Lucy” – the de facto theme for all things Peanuts – is a catalogue classic, having been released in a few different configurations by Fantasy Records/Concord Music Group over the years. (The 1988 CD premiere added one bonus track, “Greensleeves,” while a 2006 remaster added several alternate cues. That disc did court controversy, however, by utilizing a new remix and accidentally using alternate takes of some familiar songs. An amazing history of the soundtrack and its many reissues can be read here.)

Charlie Brown Christmas 2012 remasterThe new edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas – newly remastered from the original analog stereo mixes by Joe Tarantino – also features new liner notes by Guaraldi historian Derrick Bang and three additional bonus tracks: “Greensleeves,” “Thanksgiving Theme” and “The Great Pumpkin Waltz.” (Both were featured on the 1998 Concord disc Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits.) Additionally, a new green-colored vinyl release of the album will be available.

The discs are available October 9. Hit the jump to order your copy!

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 27, 2013 at 12:35

Review: Vince Guaraldi Trio, “A Charlie Brown Christmas (2012 Remaster)”

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Who buys a reissue?

It’s a question many of us catalogue enthusiasts probably struggle with at one point or another. When I was a younger, more naive music fan in the New Jersey suburbs, my logic was unique but relatively sound: I could pay $13 or so for a classic album I wanted on CD, or I could save up what I earned mowing the family lawn and spend $30 on a version with more material, nicer packaging, all of that. More was always better, in my mind.

Of course, it’s that mindset that’s had me spring for multiple copies of my favorite recordings. To date, I own multiple versions of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Bad, INXS’ Kick, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, John Williams’ E.T. soundtrack – the list goes on. With a new remaster released today, Vince Guaraldi’s legendary A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Sound Track Recording of the CBS Television Special (Fantasy FAN-34027) enters the three-peat club. I’m not here to ask why personally, but the “nested doll” nature of reissues has lately become an intriguing issue. Joe and I, and many of our compatriots, have covered great records that have been put out like clockwork, each with something that hasn’t been heard before, but not always carrying over those previously-unheard things.

The first time I heard A Charlie Brown Christmas on CD, I was greeted by one of Vince Guaraldi’s gorgeous, mellifluous piano runs leading into a sprightly rendition of “O Tannenbaum.” What I didn’t realize at the time – a realization that, in fact, I don’t think I properly had the hang of until maybe last Christmas – was that I was hearing it differently from how millions of longtime listeners knew it.

See, the first major CD remaster of this classic holiday LP (Fantasy FCD 30066-2) took a lot of liberties with the original album presentation. Some tracks featured extended master versions, while two of the most famous tracks, “Linus and Lucy” and “Christmas is Coming,” featured entirely alternate takes by mistake. Concord corrected the errors on subsequent pressings, but I never figured out how to parse the differences in pressing. So, last Christmas, I bought a copy of the original 1988 CD pressing (Fantasy FCD 8431-2), which was still in considerable supply, to hear the album as it was meant to be heard.

It’s that arrangement that takes center stage once again on the new remaster. This is, put simply, the Charlie Brown Christmas you remember – and it’s still great. The spring in the step of “O Tannenbaum” is still a kick. “Linus and Lucy,” presented in its familiar guise edited from two takes, is as miraculous as the first time you heard it. And not even a year of cackling over Arrested Development can dilute the melancholic “Christmastime is Here.”

Happily, the remastering by Joe Tarantino definitely improves upon the sonics of that presentation. Much has been made about the characteristic hum heard throughout the recording of the album, and while that is reduced somewhat, what matters more is the general warmth of the remaster over the comparatively brittle tape transfer from the original CD release.

If there is anything perplexing, it’s (once again) the bonus material situation that seems to make many collectors scratch their heads. The four alternate bonus cuts from the 2006 remaster have not carried over to this disc, which instead features the familiar original CD bonus track of “Greensleeves” and two seasonal originals, the flute and trumpet-driven “Great Pumpkin Waltz” and the busy “Thanksgiving Theme.” The latter two will be familiar to any Peanuts fan, but the general audio quality on these four and a half minutes of music (“sourced from poorer monaural masters,” according to Derrick Bang’s light, narrative liner notes) doesn’t stand up to what is heard on the other 13 tracks. We could speculate wildly as to why those four bonus tracks from 2006, or even the “accidental” bonus tracks on the original pressing of that disc, weren’t included on this set – but we won’t…this time.

You may consider yourself crazy to buy another round of A Charlie Brown Christmas, but this new disc really deserves the attention of the holiday music fan – and a spot next to that 2006 remaster, for completeness’ sake. Or, if you’re picking the disc up for the first time, you might want to eschew the version with more music (just this once!) for the original pressing millions the world over still love.

Written by Mike Duquette

October 9, 2012 at 14:30

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks, Vince Guaraldi

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Release Round-Up: Week of October 9

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The Beach Boys, 2012 Remasters / Greatest Hits Greatest Hits: Fifty Big Ones (Capitol/EMI)

The summer gets a little more endless with a new compilation (in two formats) and remasters of nearly all of the band’s ’60s albums. (A full breakdown of those albums is here, and a full review is coming up from Joe today!)

The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (Apple/EMI)

The Fab Four’s kooky film is making its Blu-Ray debut in standard and deluxe box formats.

Deep Purple, Machine Head: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

A five-disc box set devoted to this classic rock LP, featuring various different mixes of the album (including quad and 5.1 mixes) and other goodies.

Barbra Streisand, Release Me (Columbia)

The incomparable Barbra’s newest album is actually an offering of entirely unreleased performances from the vaults. Lots of great discoveries herein!

B.B. King, Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr B.B. King (Hip-O/UMe)

Available in four-disc and Amazon-exclusive 10-disc formats, these box sets are the latest way to honor one of the greatest living blues legends.

The Supremes, I Hear a Symphony: Expanded Edition (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Another Supremes classic expanded to two discs, featuring the original album in mono and stereo and a host of live and studio treasures from the vault.

David Ruffin, David: The Unreleased LP and More (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Out of print for years, Hip-O Select reissues this compilation of the Temptation’s unissued 1971 album and a host of outtakes from the album sessions.

Various Artists, The Best of Bond…James Bond: 50 Years, 50 Tracks (Capitol/EMI)

It’s been 50 years since Dr. No hit theaters and it’s only a few weeks until Skyfall is released, so it’s time for a new 007 compilation that features all the classic title themes on one disc and a sampling of other tracks from the Bond films on the other.

Level 42, Running in the Family: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMC)

This ’80s hit is available from the U.K. as a double-disc expansion or four-disc, extras-packed box set.

The Who, Live in Texas 1975 (Eagle Rock)

Their latest at the time was The Who by Numbers, but this newly-restored show, on DVD in its first official release, is anything but.

Old 97’s, Too Far to Care: Deluxe Edition (Omnivore)

A demo-packed reissue of the 1997 country-rocker.

Various Artists, Athens, GA – Inside Out (Omnivore)

A nice deluxe set featuring both the classic documentary on the colorful Athens, GA music scene in the 1980s on DVD (with new special features) and the expanded soundtrack on CD.

Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Original Sound Track from the CBS Television Special (Fantasy)

The classic holiday album gets a brand new remaster with three bonus tracks. Full review coming later today!

Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb, In Session (Fantasy)

Two legends collaborate on this live performance from 1983, newly released as a CD/DVD set.

Adam AntDestiny’s Child, Shawn ColvinAlan Jackson, Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson, George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Carole KingTaj MahalRicky Martin, Johnny Mathis, Meat Loaf, Laura Nyro, Collin Raye, Starship, Porter Wagoner & Dolly PartonPlaylist (Legacy)

A surprisingly strong batch of Playlist titles includes a few neat surprises, too, from brand-new compilations for Destiny’s Child and Ricky Martin to rare and unreleased tracks on the Meat Loaf, Starship and Laura Nyro sets.

The Chipmunks, Christmas Collection (Capitol)

Because it wouldn’t be the holidays without some squeaky-voiced renditions of holiday classics, plus the immortal “Christmas Don’t Be Late.”

Edie Adams, The Edie Adams Christmas Album (Omnivore)

Another Christmas treat, sourced from rare kinescopes of Adams on television in the ’50s.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios Home Video)

A timeless favorite at Second Disc HQ (in particular, Mike’s favorite movie!) comes home on Blu-Ray for the first time, featuring the restored original 1982 version of the film and a new retrospective consisting entirely of on-set footage shot by John Toll. Retail exclusives abound: Target’s offering a deluxe steelbook package (available internationally as a basic deluxe edition), Best Buy has a special book package with pages of full-color notes and artwork, Walmart throws in a free E.T. doll for the kids, and Amazon carried a limited deluxe package (now sold out) housed in a replica of E.T.’s spaceship.

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut (Warner Home Video)

One of the most purely fun musicals of the past few decades, this loving musical adaptation of the Roger Corman cult classic features a killer, ’60s-flavored pop score from future Disney legends Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. For this special Blu-Ray release, the hilarious, 20-minute alternate ending (seen only on a quickly-recalled, highly-collectible DVD) has been fully restored and added to the end of the picture, and other great special features abound, too!

Cast Your Fate to the Wind with New “Very Best of Jazz” Collections From Brubeck, Evans, Guaraldi, More

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What makes a legend most?

When it comes to the legends of jazz, Concord Music Group has that answer for you.  Earlier this year, Concord launched The Very Best Of, a new series of “Jazz 101” collections designed at an affordable price point.  These compact sets might introduce new fans to daunting catalogues, or offer longtime fans a compact sampler of a favorite artist.  The first wave of titles arrived for Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone), Chet Baker (trumpet) and Wes Montgomery (guitar), but the second group of artists is equally illustrious.  Four are pianists that would make any jazz buff’s all-star team, and one is an alto saxophone great:  Vince Guaraldi (piano), Dave Brubeck (piano), Thelonious Monk (piano), Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone) and Bill Evans (piano), with his first Trio (Evans, Paul Motian on drums and Scott LaFaro on bass).  The rich family of labels under the Concord umbrella – including Fantasy, Milestone, Riverside and Prestige – captured many of these titanic talents before they were snapped up by larger labels, and so these compilations offer a window into their formative years, including a selection of their signature tunes.

Good grief!  Composer and pianist Vince Guaraldi (1928-1976) isn’t always spoken of in the same breath as contemporaries like Brubeck, Evans or Monk (all represented in this piano-heavy quintet of releases!), most likely due to the overwhelming “crossover” success he experienced as the writer of some very famous songs: namely “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” and the Peanuts-inspired tracks “Linus and Lucy” and “Christmas Time is Here.”  Though “Cast Your Fate” netted Guaraldi a Billboard hit and a Grammy Award, its popularity was arguably eclipsed by his series of Peanuts soundtracks on which he gave jazzy life to Charles M. Schulz’s comic-strip characters.  And “Cast Your Fate” was the tune that persuaded producer Lee Mendelson to make the call to Guaraldi that led to the Peanuts jobs.  It leads off this 14-track assemblage, and remains one of the most beguiling songs ever.  Whether you think of it as jazz (its majestic piano solo certainly qualifies!) or pop, its Latin groove, shifting mood and changing tempo all still captivate.  The Very Best of Vince Guaraldi also includes the Bay Area legend’s renditions of standards from Burton Lane and Frank Loesser, and Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II, as well as his famed renditions of songs from Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa’s Black Orpheus soundtrack.  (Another bossa nova from the pen of Jobim, “Outra Vez,” also appears, and the Brazilian legend’s influence on Guaraldi the composer and arranger is apparent.)

Needless to say, the Peanuts songs (“Linus and Lucy,” “Christmas is Coming,” “Charlie Brown Theme” and the instrumental-only “Christmas Time is Here”) occupy significant space on the collection.  How many children had their first introduction to jazz via Vince Guaraldi?  His dexterity and breezy style are recognizable on lesser-known songs like “Ginza,” with the pianist joined by Bola Sete on guitar, Monty Budwig on bass and Nick Martinez on drums.  Budwig would also play bass on “Linus and Lucy.”  A more reserved, slinky side of Guaraldi is brought out on John Lewis’ “Django,” on which he employs his trademark deceptive simplicity with another sympathetic group (Eddie Duran on guitar and Dean Reilly on bass).  All told, ten albums are excerpted from the 1956-1966 period, adding up to a primer on the man once known as “Dr. Funk” but forever immortalized as the musical voice of a boy named Charlie Brown.  (A more comprehensive career overview is also offered from Concord: 2009’s 2-CD, 31-track Definitive Vince Guaraldi.)

We’ve written often here about Bill Evans (1929-1980), one of the most-anthologized pianists ever, and a pioneer in the area of modal jazz (in which the solos build from the key, not – as is traditional – from chord changes only.)  Even while fighting considerable demons, Evans was capable of creating music both heartbreaking and beautiful, and he arguably found his most sympathetic partners when he formed his first Trio.  The music on The Very Best of the Bill Evans Trio shows how closely attuned Evans, bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian were, for the brief but incandescent period between 1959 and 1961.  LaFaro and Motian weren’t so much supporting Evans as all three gentlemen were playing as one voice, tearing down the walls in a free, post-bop environment.  Yet this groundbreaking team only recorded three dates together, resulting in two live albums and two studio albums: Portrait in Jazz, Explorations (the two studio sets), Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard (the two live sets).  Any further explorations of this Bill Evans Trio were curtailed when LaFaro perished in a car accident, aged just 25, in 1961.  Evans’ grief was so great that he didn’t perform in a public setting for nearly one year after LaFaro’s death.  But oh, what music LaFaro, with Evans and Motian, left behind.

Six of the eleven tracks here are standards, sensitively reinterpreted by the Trio, including Johnny Mercer’s “Autumn Leaves,” Irving Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean,” and George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward’s “My Man’s Gone Now” from Porgy and Bess.  The remaining tracks are compositions by Evans (his own oft-recorded “Waltz for Debby”), LaFaro (“Gloria’s Step”), Miles Davis (“Solar” and “Nardis”).  Shortly before forming the Trio, Evans had performed with Davis on one of the most influential and successful jazz albums of all time, Kind of Blue.  “Blue in Green” was jointly credited to Davis and Evans on that album, though many (including liner notes scribe Neil Tesser) doubt Davis had much to do with it.  Evans revisited the piece sans Davis’ horn less than one year after Kind of Blue on this subtle recording from Portrait in Jazz.  All eleven tracks show the many sides of Evans: moody and intense, yes, but also deeply lyrical, highly romantic and passionately swinging.  Of course, you might just want to go out and buy all four of the Trio’s seminal recordings, but if not, this is a solid place to dip your toes into the water.

After the jump: we explore two more iconic pianists, plus the great alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 11, 2012 at 10:10