Monday, December 29, 2008
A Classic Yet Ever Contemporary Recording
In these quieter days following December 25 (otherwise known as the 12 Days of Christmas) I really enjoy listening to Christmas music, especially the gentler, more reflective selections. Gentle and reflective definitely apply to one of my favorite holiday albums, the soundtrack music from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Featuring the now classic but eternally contemporary jazz score by the great Vince Guaraldi, the album was first released in 1965, the year of the TV special's debut (appropriately enough on the Fantasy jazz label, the home of Guaraldi's earlier jazz recordings), and the recording has never been out of print since. It's only too bad that the proclamation of the Gospel of Luke's account of the angel's announcement to the shepherds ("That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown") by Chris Shea as Linus was not included. (How differently might faith be lived if scripture was proclaimed as simply yet passionately in our churches as it is in this animated cartoon?) But here, from the 2006 re-mastered CD release, is Fantasy's re-do of the original 1965 LP cover complete with the original art drawn by Charles M. Schulz himself (he later redrew the art for a newly redesigned cover, apparently for the mid-1980s issue of the album on compact disc) also including the original liner notes from the album's back cover.