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Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus (Original Jazz Classics Remasters)

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Legendary jazz pianist’s artistic and commercial breakthrough

Concord Records initiated a new pass through their Original Jazz Classics catalog in March of 2010, and they now add five more titles to the program. Each reissue features a new 24-bit remaster by Joe Tarantino, extensive liner notes, and bonus tracks. Five additions grace this reissue of Vince Guaraldi’s 1962 artistic and commercial breakthrough. The San Francisco pianist has been making a name for himself since the mid-50s, backing Woody Herman, Nina Simone, and Stan Getz, and sitting in with the Cal Tjader Quartet, but his solo albums hadn’t turned their critical praise into commercial notoriety until the original piece “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” led this album up the charts. Guaraldi would find yet another level of acclaim with his compositions for the Peanuts television specials, but it was this album that established him as a popular jazz luminary. The album opens with covers of the four main themes from Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa’s score for the film Black Orpheus. Despite the then-contemporary resurgence of bossa nova in American jazz, Guaraldi and his accompanists only feint towards the samba rhythms of the originals. Instead, the pianist takes the lead with his highly melodic version of bebop, both energetic, yet cosmopolitan cool. Nowhere is this balance more evident in Guaraldi’s Grammy-winning original “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” The song opens with the delicacy of a light summer fog before swinging into a bluesy middle that’s supported by Budwig’s walking bass line and Bailey’s ride cymbal and snare accents. The song communicates more about the special feeling of pre-hippie San Francisco in the early ‘60s than just about any other piece of music. Guaraldi plays lush chords and sustained low notes to set the melancholy mood of Mancini and Mercer’s “Moon River,” and his mid-song solo again captures a unique ability to make modern jazz both melodic and compelling to pop listeners. The album finds its Latin feet with the stop-start original “Alma-Ville,” but even here Guaraldi only teases, as the combo switches to straight jazz by mid-song, and returns to the bossa nova style only to close things out. The reissues five bonus tracks include the single edit of “Samba de Orfeu,” and four previously unreleased alternate takes, including one of “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” The fold-out booklet includes full-panel reproductions of the original covers (front and back), Ralph Gleason’s original album notes, and new liners by Derrick Bang. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]


Born: July 17, 1928 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Vince Guaraldi was a well-respected jazz pianist whose greatest success came from avenues usually closed to contemporary jazz artists: he enjoyed a hit single at a time when jazz had largely been exiled from the pop charts, and he scored a series of very successful animated television specials, a medium where cookie-cutter pop music was traditionally the order of the day. Guaraldi's first full album with his own group, simply titled The Vince Guaraldi Trio, was issued by Fantasy in 1956, and featured...
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Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus (Original Jazz Classics Remasters), Vince Guaraldi Trio
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jan 01, 2010

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