Vince Guaraldi Day

July 17, 1928 – February 6, 1976


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Pianist and composer Vince Guaraldi was born July 17, 1928 in San Francisco, California.

Vince Guaraldi, who only lived to be 47, certainly made his mark several times during his short life.

As a pianist, Guaraldi was a member of Cal Tjader’s first trio (1951) and recorded with the Bill Harris/Chubby Jackson bebop band (1953), Georgie Auld (1953), Sonny Criss (1955), Richie Kamuca, Conte Candoli, Frank Rosolino and Jimmy Witherspoon.

The pianist’s earliest recordings as a leader have moments when he seems to be predicting both the rise of both New Age of the 1970s and Abdullah Ibrahim, who would not make an impact for another decade.

Guaraldi toured with the Woody Herman Orchestra (1956-57 and 1959) and during a particularly fertile period in Cal Tjader’s career (1957-59).

Always very comfortable playing bop, Afro-Cuban jazz, and bossa novas, Guaraldi had a best-selling record in 1962 with his Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus album (which includes his famous “Cast Your Fate To The Wind”).

Guaraldi, who recorded a jazz mass at Grace Cathedral in Dec. 1962 and collaborated with guitarist Bola Sete starting in 1963, gained his greatest fame the following year when he began writing the scores for the Charlie Brown animated specials.

The music from that series, which includes the pianist’s “Linus and Lucy” and “Christmas Time Is Here,” was hugely popular and may well be Vince Guaraldi’s greatest musical legacy.

Here is Guaraldi in 1963 performing “Outra Vez” with Bola Sete


Vince Guaraldi, piano
Bola Sete, guitar
Fred Marshall, bass
Jerry Granelli, drums

-Scott Yanow


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