A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio

Great Christmas music, no matter what the style, conjures a sense of nostalgia. The best can be listened to on repeat and be the centerpiece of any Christmas playlist.

Vince Guaraldi and his trio put together a brilliant set of relaxed jazz to go with a cute cartoon movie that became a classic to be repeated annually on TV to bring joy to the young and old alike. But I doubt they realized the impact it would have.

I recently realized that for myself and countless others, this cartoon’s soundtrack was likely our first exposure to jazz. I certainly didn’t recognize it as jazz at the time and probably didn’t even consciously recognize it as music to begin with as a young tot. It was just there, accompanying the cute artwork I was watching on the screen. But at some point it became music in our consciousness, and later it became jazz music. Hopefully sometime after that it became admired jazz music.

I know that I was not really aware of it is a great jazz until I started to become a fan of the form as a teenager.  But at some point it became stand alone and my go-to Christmas album of choice, including during the many seasons where I didn’t bother watching the cartoon special itself. 
 
It’s a mellow jazz, equal parts piano and brushed snare, with a brilliant bass, more subtle in the mix.  And so much quiet swing.   You can listen to this driving, reading by the fire, enjoying drinks with friends, watching twinkling lights as snow falls—this album is more than a simple soundtrack to Good Ole Charlie Brown’s Christmas blues, it’s a soundtrack to your own Christmas traditions.  Any real life holiday traditions are enhanced by this beautiful music. 
With all the great, relaxed jazz, found on this set,  for me the stand out is the vocal version of Christmas Time is Here.   The children’s choir is just lovely and this song brings me such warmth and comfort.   It’s my favorite song to play on Christmas morning after the kids have opened their gifts and a delicious breakfast has been had, when the only thing to do is cuddle with the dogs and relax while taking in the specialness of the day.   
 
On the rare times there has been Portland snow on the ground, that just makes it that much closer to perfection.  
 
But it’s the song, the choir, and the Vince Guaraldi Trio that is the foundation of that special Christmas feeling, something we can look forward to every year. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas