"My favorite Vince Guaraldi album! This is a bit strange, given that I've always loved Guaraldi's composition as much as his playing, and there is little original material here. But his choice of material is superb! Standouts include John Lewis' "Django", "Fenwyck's Farfel" (the lone Guaraldi original), Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge", and "Ossobucco", from guitarist Eddie Duran, who very nearly upstages Guaraldi on this album. In fact these two are great together. (Whay haven't I heard of Eddie Duran before this?) Actually, there isn't a weak track on this album. Buy it!"
A 1956 work that sounds modern today
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 03/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vince Guaraldi may be best known as the guy who composed the music to the Charlie Brown specials (music which Charlie Brown creator Charles Schulz felt perfectly complemented the cartoons, by the way), but he here shows himself to be more than that. Together with guitarist Eddie Duran and Dean Reilly, Guaraldi plays assured, mature jazz with an easy swing."Django" is the first cut. Named for jazz guitar great Django Reinhardt, the song--oddly enough--doesn't feature guitar to the detriment of the piano and bass. Aside from a sweet pickin' session towards the middle of the tune, the guitar is simply one of the three instruments. That tells you something about the cooperation and synchronicity with which these three jazz musicians relied on one another.The meditative piano on "Never Never Land" is almost hypnotic--the notes drop down like rain and in the lower register, there is an intimation of distant thunder before Guaraldi deftly moves up the scale again to bring out the sun. I admit to being fascinated with what the trio accomplishes on "Fascinatin' Rhythm," playing it faster than one usually hears it. These three use hyperkinetic speed to bustle the rhythm along until you almost get breathless just sitting and listening to it. Eddie Duran's lovely "Ossobucco" combines a whiff of classical Spanish guitar with a tinge of bossa nova in what is ultimately a satisfying blend. On Cole Porter's "It's Delovely," the trio swings high and hard and you can almost picture them laughing as they play--they sound as though they're having the time of their lives. Despite his talents as a composer, Guaraldi chose to include just one of his own compositions on this album (the rhythmic "Fenwyck Farfel"). He relies instead on the prodigious skills of Jules Stein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Billy Strayhorn, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and others--and he does them all proud."
Before the Magic
Steven R. Seim | Beaver Dam, WI United States | 07/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Though largely ignored by critics, Vince Guaraldi developed one of the most distinctive, original, and joyous sounds in jazz piano. (Perhaps only Thelonious Monk is as instantly recognizable.)However, Guaraldi did not really find his "voice" on the instrument until 1962's "Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus." His prior recordings, "Vince Guaraldi Trio," "Flower Is a Lovesome Thing," and "Jazz Impressions" (which is really just a sampler of the two former works) are simply unexceptional West Coast jazz. The lightness of mood on these three early albums is further accentuated by the absence of a drummer.Vince Guaraldi has often been labelled "easy listening." For the most part, that characterization is unfair, and reflects the accessibility of his work rather than its artistic merit. On these first three albums, however, the characterization is very apt."
A GREAT JAZZ ALBUM... VINCE GOT EARLY AT THE TOP!!!
Paulo Leite | Lisbon, Portugal | 11/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing about this album is the careful choice of songs. "Django" is one of the greatest jazz songs ever written. Here, the trio gives it a great rendition (one that counterpoints the version played by The Modern Jazz Society - with full orchestra).
Anyway, this is a 1956 recording, with Vince Guaraldi on the piano, Eddie Duran at the guitar (a trully great musician!!!) and Dean Reilly on the bass.
The good thing about this trio is that all the songs they chose allow us to listen to the geniouses of the players. There isn't really one solo protagonist. This is one of those trios who have a true musical dialogue.
Pay attention to Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge", Gershwin's "Fascinatin' Rhythm" and Porter's "It's De-lovely".
When I first heard this album... it was instant love. Very subtle... it will conquer any serious listener. "
Vince Guaraldi Trio- His First Album
Paulo Leite | 08/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Vince Guaraldi's first album, this 1956 disc shows exactly how Vince would treat any song. The vast amount of standards on here allow you to recall how other people and compare it to his style. However, it does have one composition of his, "Fenwyck's Farfel," which has my favorite guitar solo of any song. The simple trio format (piano-guitar-bass) allows the listener to hear his pure piano without any interruption from other instruments. A very similar album is "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing" by the same artist, which I prefer to this one, since there are less ballads and the up-tempo ones are a bit slower."