Vince Guaraldi at the Piano


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About the Book

Although Vince Guaraldi’s playful jazz piano themes for the early Peanuts animated television specials are well known, the composer himself remains largely unheralded. More than merely “the Peanuts guy,” Guaraldi cut his jazz teeth as a member of combos fronted by Cal Tjader and Woody Herman, and garnered Top 40 fame with his Grammy Award–winning hit “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” This career study gives Guaraldi long-overdue recognition, chronicling his years as a sideman; his attraction to the emerging bossa nova sound of the late 1950s; his collaboration with Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete; his development of the Grace Cathedral Jazz Mass; his selection as the fellow to put the jazz swing in Charlie Brown’s step; and his emergence as a respected veteran in the declining Northern California jazz club scene of the 1970s. Throughout, this welcome volume conveys the magic and legacy of one of jazz music’s overlooked treasures.

About the Author(s)

Derrick Bang has written film, television, music, and general entertainment commentary for magazines and local newspapers since 1974, and supplies regular columns and features to The Davis Enterprise. He lives in Davis, California.

Bibliographic Details

Derrick Bang

Foreword by Charles Gompertz

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 400
Bibliographic Info: 36 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, discography, filmography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5902-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9074-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Foreword by Charles Gompertz      1
Preface      3
Prologue: “The Sound of Surprise”     7

1. Family Ties: Growing Up Jazzy      11
2. Adante: Becoming One of Tjader’s Raiders      20
3. i on the Future: Security as a House Band      29
4. Galloping with the Herd: On the Road with Woody Herman      46
5. Tjader Redux: Seduced by Bossa Nova      55
6. Adagio: A Heaping Helping of Vince on the Side      79
7. Allegro Molto: “Fate” Steps In      101
8. Sittin’ in with Sete: Bola Joins the Band      124
9. A Year of Grace: Performing in the “Big House”      141
10. Presto: Putting the Swing in Charlie Brown’s Step      158
11. Calling His Own Shots      192
12. You’re a Movie Star, Charlie Brown: Big-Screen Glory      221
13. Intermezzo: The Good Life      250
14. Lento: Done Too Soon      279
15. Postlude: The Slow but Steady Road to Immortality      297

Epilogue: A Windy Evening in Sausalito      325
Appendix A: Remembering Dr. Funk: The Sidemen Speak      329
Appendix B: Discography      332
Appendix C: Filmography      352
Notes      355
Bibliography      377
Index      379

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A phenomenal gift from the author to us: it is a loving tribute to the man and his music, one that seeks to place Guaraldi at the musical shrine he so deserves…labor of scholarly love offers a supreme example of professional expertise and literary virtuosity. The value cannot be underestimated”—ARSC Journal
  • “Career is exhaustively reconstructed…definitive biography”—All About
  •  “A rich and needed testimony to Guaraldi’s musical legacy”—New Books in Jazz