Waking Up To Jazz Music


The title of this blog post isn’t literal.  I didn’t set the alarm to music. Actually, no music was played until I popped a CD into the Walkman and, thanks to the AUX IN feature, listened through nearly-obsolete radio speakers.

Call it the Fred Flintstone approach, but the music was great.  The speakers are just okay, but I’m used to them.

I’m hesitating to review the CD because I’m not familiar enough with Vince Guaraldi’s music to compare this Essential Standards collection with his other work.  However, it helped me rebound after spending most of the night with insomnia, so it’ll be recommended to the whole damned world.

If you don’t think you’ve ever heard Vince Guaraldi’s music, you’re probably mistaken.  It’s featured in Peanuts holiday cartoons from the 1960s, and one particular recording, Cast Your Fate To The Wind, was a mainstream hit.

Cast Your Fate To The Wind is included in this collection, and it may be the track you find most recognizable.  However, the album consists of a dozen studio works recorded between 1956 and 1965, and after hearing every one of them you may not be able to choose a favorite.

There’s a brief classical intro to Autumn Leaves which might remind you of the Barry Manilow pop song Could It Be Magic.  It’s Chopin’s Prelude Op. 28, No. 20.  

Most classical music is public domain material, and enlightened musicians will often work it into the arrangements of more recent music.  Rachmaninoff’s music is considered the most adaptable, and his Piano Concerto Op. 18, No. 2 in C Minor was the basis for the 1975 Eric Carmen hit All By Myself.

Contemporary artists with the most potential to develop their talent will show respect for the masters.  When timeless public domain material is “borrowed” by one of these artists, it’s out of a sense of admiration.  It’s done honestly, and it’s completely different from plagiarism.

Vince Guaraldi was active as a professional musician fewer than twenty-five years before his unexpected passing in 1976.  We don’t know yet whether his work will hold up centuries from now, but I’m guessing it will.


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