In music as well as in life, sometimes good luck is better than good management. For Vince Guaraldi, it may have been good luck times two. In 1960, a movie called Black Orpheus won the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film. In 1962, Guaraldi recorded an album of music from the film entitled Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus which included one of his own tunes "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" in order to fill out the album. This number was later released as a single and generated some airplay on popular music stations. Coincidentally, a producer of a forthcoming TV special based on the characters from the Peanuts comic strip was looking for a composer to write the music for the programme. The producer approached Guaraldi who undertook the assignment, and with the release of A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965, his future was assured.
Vince Guaraldi recorded the two albums contained in this release in 1956 and 1957. While he was a musician of some renown on the West Coast, he had yet to establish a broader reputation. At the time in California, there was a surfeit of similarly styled pianists such as Russ Freeman, Hampton Hawes, Lou Levy and Claude Williamson : all strong single-note players cut from the same Bud Powell cloth. The trio format employed by Guaraldi with piano, bass, and guitar was a familiar iteration to jazz fans as both Oscar Peterson and Ahmad Jamal early in their careers, were adherents to the style.
The Vince Guaraldi Trio sessions were, for the most part, easy-listening ballads that showcased Guaraldi’s light touch. The cover of John Lewis’ "Django" is done with a nicely swinging slower tempo, aided by some nifty acoustic guitar work from Eddie Duran. Betty Comden-Adolph Green-Jule Styne wrote "Never Never Land" for the Broadway musical Peter Pan, and here Guaraldi does a lovely solo turn on the composition. Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" is offered in attractive fashion and clearly Guaraldi is in tune with the composer’s intent. "Fascinating Rhythm" is a hard-charging, up-tempo take on the number, and shows that Guaraldi can command the full keyboard when the spirit moves him. That same infectiousness is evident on the closing selection of this set which is Cole Porter’s "It’s De-Lovely". Guaraldi is more percussive on the keys than on some of the other numbers, and Duran runs the guitar’s fretboard with ease.
A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing is somewhat of a continuation of the prior album, in that the material is popular romantic ballads structured around the theme of trees, flowers, and time. Composer Billy Strayhorn reappears with the lovely title track "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing". Guaraldi with his soft touch gives it a polished treatment. "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise" written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Sigmund Romberg for the operetta The New Moon swings along with gusto, which in addition to Guaraldi’s spiffy solo, gives guitarist Duran a chance to flex his chops. Guaraldi penned the composition "Like A Mighty Rose" (aka "Room At The Bottom"). It has a classical feel with some Chopinesque note structure, before segueing into a more standard jazz form. Nothing weighty here, but it is a pleasant offering.
Bobby Troup wrote "Lonely Girl" which has an interesting theme, upon which Guaraldi and the trio move into a swinging groove. It features some tight interplay, with bassist Reilly and guitarist Duran at the forefront. The closing offering is "Willow Weep For Me" which has a slow bluesy rhythm, on which Guaraldi demonstrates that he is a musician of subtlety and sensitivity.Pierre Giroux
Source : http://www.musicweb-international.com/jazz/2015/Vince_Guaraldi_PWR27321.htm
A Flower is a Lovesome Thing
1 Django (Lewis) 4:59
2 Fenwyck's Farfel (Guaraldi) 4:07
3 Never Never Land (Comden, Green, Styne) 4:18
4 Chelsea Bridge (Strayhorn) 3:40
5 Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin, Gershwin) 2:50
6 The Lady's In Love With You (Loesser, Lane) 3:58
7 Sweet And Lovely (Arheim, LeMare, Tobias) 3:48
8 Ossobucco (Duran) 3:00
9 Three Coins In The Fountain (Cahn, Styne) 4:11
10 It's De-Lovely (Porter) 3:25
11 A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing (Strayhorn) 5:42
12 Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise (Harmmerstein II, Romberg) 3:33
13 Yesterdays (Ker, Harbach) 4:05
14 Like A Mighty Rose [Aka Room At The Bottom] (Guaraldi) 4:35
15 Looking For A Boy (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4:10
16 Autumn Leaves (Kosma, Prévert) 4:26
17 Lonely Girl (Troup) 3:29
18 Willow Weep For Me (Ronell) 5:15
Vince Guaraldi - p
Eddie Duran - g
Dean Reilly - b
Recorded in San Francisco, California ; April 1956 [# 1-10] ; & April 16, 1957 [# 11-18]