06 OCT 10 CHRIS SLAWECKI
It's almost impossible to listen to the Original Jazz Classic Remaster of Vince Guaraldi Trio's Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus in its original context, before the pianist's successful run of scores for Charles Schulz' Peanuts gang. But his sensitive homage to the lusty, moody soundtrack from an exotic Brazilian/European film production of Black Orpheus was released in 1962, years before the broadcast debut of the first Peanuts TV special (A Charlie Brown Christmas).
Yet Black Orpheus remains essential. It presents the original single version of "Samba de Orpheus," two takes of its renowned flipside, "Cast Your Fate To The Wind," and other alternates. It illuminates in sound Guaraldi's winsome piano Schulz' caricatures were extensions of his own style. His touch in "Samba" and "Felicidade" dances deftly and bright, perfectly matched with the light and nimble rhythms thumped out like a jackrabbit by Monty Budwig's upright bass. But "Manha de Carnaval" moves more pensively into shadows and dark corners, and he renders two very romantic but different pop songs, "Moon River" and "Since I Fell for You," in lovingly lyrical blues.
Guaraldi's joyous "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" and "Alma-Ville" proved most enduring, magical mixtures of happy and sad, of blues and rhythm, tumbling and twirling like a child lost in dance. So, as you listen to Black Orpheus, go ahead and picture moon-faced Charlie, Snoopy and the rest, as the face of his Peanuts music. Just remember that the sound you're hearing is Vince Guaraldi's soul.