A Boy Named Charlie Brown, a collection of jazz songs by The Vince Guaraldi Trio which were from the earliest Peanuts television specials, is now available on MP3 format from Amazon this month for only $5.00, as part of their monthly $5 MP3 Album Deals.
Vince Guaraldi was a jazz pianist responsible for some traditional, samba and bossa nova-style acoustic jazz during his career. He scored a minor hit with the song “Cast Your Fate To The Wind,” which was released in the mid-1960s and won him a Grammy Award. It was on the strength of this song, which netted him the gig to score the Peanuts specials, starting with “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in 1965. That score, became an instant smash and is regarded as a traditional Christmas album to this very day. He wound up scoring the next 15 specials afterwards, all infused with the bright, upbeat fast-paced and sometimes mellow rainy ballads that permeated and made the specials as memorable and identifiable as the animation or the narratives within them. His career was cut tragically short when he died of a heart attack in February of 1976, capping not only a loss to the jazz community, but also ending an era of the sound and feel of the Peanuts specials. Specials continued to be produced well into the 21st century, but replacement sound alike composers for them couldn’t muster up the great energy that came from the mind of Vince Guaraldi, and thus, they were never the same again.