Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Time Is Here

Christmas Time Is Here  is one of the favorite holiday songs for piano players.  There are many great Holiday tunes that make for good jazz covers,  but Christmas Time Is Here has got to be the only famous Christmas song that was actually written and made famous as a piano jazz trio recording.     Hearing Vince Guaraldi play this is still awe inspiring.  In particular, whatever it is that he is doing on the intro and ending to make that trill sound is spectacular.  You've got to love it! 

A Charlie Brown Christmas is an album by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, released in 1965 as the soundtrack to the CBS Christmas television special of the same name. It is among the most popular Christmas music albums of all time. There was also a book-and-record set featuring music, dialogue and stills from the Christmas special released in 1977 on a 33 RPM vinyl record by CBS Records.  Christmas Time Is Here was released as a track on this album.

The song also brings back lots of personal memories for me, as I'm sure it does for everyone of a certain age in the US (among those who celebrate Christmas).  Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special,  listening to Vince Guaraldi, and then coming down the stairs on Christmas morning - these are indelible memories....

Here is a picture of my sisters and me coming down the stairs expectantly on Christmas morning.

Updated to a recent century,  here were my kids performing the same routine in 2003.

Which also happened to be the same Christmas that a piano first came into our home.....

Vince Guaraldi

Geek Alert

This is a difficult song for crafting a decent solo.  It is a jazz waltz that has long duration altered (b5) chords that seem to call for whole tone scales in the improvisation. This is OK,  but I found it difficult to make the solo sound like a good alternate melodic line rather than just some notes.  I'm not sure that my guitar soloist came up with the best linear solo on this material either :-)

1 comment:

  1. From Ed Mascari...

    When Brenda heard your recording from the other room, she was immediately drawn into listening. When I told her that it was you with your "ensemble" she was really impressed. I loved the the Christmas-like sounding bells. The tempo is perfect, your playing is tasteful and melodic and the ensemble is tight.
    Well-done & congratulations on such a wonderful rendition of such a terrific tune!
    Loved the photos too.
    Keep up the great work,