December 24, 2007
FROM THE ARCHIVES: 'TOON TUNES:
â€˜Nuts' for Christmas (WILL FRIEDWALD, December 18, 2006, NY Sun)
Jazz musicians have never lacked for genius at interpreting the great Christmas songs, from Benny Goodman's swinging "Jingle Bells," to Louis Armstrong's heartfelt reading of "The Night Before Christmas," to Duke Ellington's radical rethinking of "The Nutcracker Suite." Yet surprisingly few jazz composers, even among those who worked mainly in song form, have written a memorable Christmas song. Perhaps the most famous example of Christmas music that has been part of the jazz domain from the ground up is the remarkable score written by the pianist Vince Guaraldi for the 1965 animated television special "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which has now been reissued in a deluxe edition with bonus tracks and alternate takes on Fantasy Records.
Like the Raymond Scott themes heard in vintage Looney Tunes and the Broadway-styled scores of the classic Disney musicals, Guaraldi's distinctive melodies are known to several generations.
[originally posted: 2006-12-18]Posted by Orrin Judd at December 24, 2007 7:04 PM