Jazz music, news and views

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Is Coming

Like so many others, I pull out A Charlie Brown Christmas each holiday season. As a jazz fan, I'm usually ambivalent about the music I hear this time of year. On one hand, it's good to have jazz in people's ears. On the other, it reinforces the mainstream view of jazz as background music.

But how can someone feel bitter about music during the holidays? In spite of myself, I'll lean towards optimism: people hearing a good deal of jazz, even for only one month out of the year, is a great thing. And I can't possibly hold a cynical attitude when my holiday stress is broken by hearing Vince Guaraldi. "Christmastime Is Here" and the "Linus and Lucy" theme are familiar to most, but I've always been more excited by "Christmas Is Coming" and "Skating."

A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy)
Vince Guaraldi (piano)
Fred Marshall (bass)
Jerry Granelli (drums)

I wrote a bit more about Mr. Guaraldi's classic soundtrack at the "Talkin' Jazz" blog here last year.

Happy Holidays, whatever you're celebrating.


  • At 12/18/2008 4:53 PM, Blogger D0nnaTr0y said…

    I think Vince Guaraldi wrote some of the best Christmas music when he wrote for this holiday special.

    A Charlie Brown Christmas has since childhood remained my all-time favorite Christmas movie as does the soundtrack. I find it unusual when a "new" Christmas song is composed and popularized; people tend to prefer the classical holiday carols. But Guaraldi was a genius in his writing to make the music fit the holiday spirit and feel timeless. The fact that it is jazz (and that people besides other jazz musicians are listening) is to me just the icing on a delicious Christmas cake!

    Also, if you like "Skating" you should check out this big band arrangement by the Buselli Wallarb Jazz Orchestra.

  • At 12/18/2008 7:02 PM, Blogger Kellen said…

    Yeah, I'm pretty skeptical of "new" Christmas songs, too. It's weird that pop songs that would otherwise have a short shelf life can achieve longevity that way ("longevity" being totally different from "timelessness," of course). Because I live under a rock when it comes to pop music, I had no clue Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" was such a big deal.

    That's a beautiful arrangement and performance of "Skating."

    Thanks for the tip and for your thoughts, Kelly!

  • At 12/22/2008 12:59 PM, Anonymous Terry Weadock said…

    I'v always loved the haunting melody of "Christmas Time is Here". Never fails to raise the hairs on my neck!


  • At 12/22/2008 6:36 PM, Blogger Kellen said…

    Well put! There's indeed something magical and unusual about that melody.

    Thanks for dropping by, Terry.


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