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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Jazz for Peanuts

Peak 08880272304543





1. You're in Love, Charlie Brown
2. The Buggy Ride
3. Benjamin
4. The Great Pumpkin Waltz
5. Wild Kids
6. Breadline Blues
7. Be My Valentine
8. Rollerblading
9. Re-Run's Theme
10. Linus and Lucy

David Benoit - Piano (tracks 1, 4, 5, 7-9)
John Robinson - Drums (tracks 1, 4-9)
Dave Carpenter - Bass (tracks 1, 4, 5, 7-9)
Christian Scott - Trumpet (tracks 1, 8)
Andy Suzuki - Tenor sax, flute (tracks 1, 8, 9)
Pat Kelley - Guitar (tracks 1, 5, 8, 9)
Wynton Marsalis - Trumpet (track 2)
Eric Reed - Piano (track 2)
Benjamin Wolfe - Stand-up bass (track 2)
Wessell Anderson - Alto sax, soprano sax (track 2)
Victor Goines - Tenor sax, clarinet (track 2)
Wycliffe Gordon - Trombone (track 2)
Herlin Riley - Drums (track 2)
Dave Brubeck - Piano (track 3)
Bob Militello - Flute (track 3)
Chris Brubeck - Electric bass (track 3)
Randy Jones - Drums (track 3)
Taylor Eigsti - Piano (track 5)
Kenny G - Soprano sax (track 6)
Walter Afanasieff - Keyboards (track 6)
Vail Johnson - Electric bass (track 6)
Vince Guaraldi - Piano (track 10)
Fred Marshall - Bass (track 10)
Jerry Granelli - Drums (track 10).


Subtitled "A retrospective of the Charlie Brown TV themes", this album takes an affectionate look at some of the jazz tunes used in various television programmes about Charlie Brown and other characters from Charles Schulz's Peanuts cartoon series. Pianist David Benoit has freshly arranged six of the themes and the remaining four were recorded by various groups for different episodes. This explains the star-studded personnel listed above.

Before David Benoit became musical director for the series, he was preceded by Vince Guaraldi, who wrote four of the tunes on this album. Guaraldi's You're in Love, Charlie Brown is a catchy piece with an engaging lilt. It's a jazz waltz, like Vince's The Great Pumpkin Waltz, which - according to the sleeve information - is performed by David Benoit with just bass and drums, although there is an uncredited guitarist in there as well (probably Pat Kelley). Benoit has a delicate touch at the piano, which makes the music float weightlessly.

Guaraldi's other compositions are Be My Valentine, another light-as-air waltz, and Linus and Lucy, performed by Vince himself. This has the same sort of immediate appeal as Guaraldi's most famous composition: Cast Your Fate to the Wind, although it briefly goes into a swinging four-four in the middle.

Compared to the gentleness of these tracks, The Buggy Ride is a tearaway piece written and performed by Wynton Marsalis, with some virtuosic trumpet from Wynton, who is at times reminiscent of Clark Terry's playfulness. Wessell Anderson provides a fluent solo on alto sax, and drummer Herlin Riley keeps the buggy moving forward with unstoppable impetus.

Benjamin is by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, with Bob Militello on  swirling flute. Wild Kids has David Benoit sharing the piano duties with Taylor Eigsti in a performance which is far from wild but more radiantly optimistic. Dave Grusin's composition Breadline Blues features Kenny G, the bane of jazz purists, soaring and assured on soprano sax.

Rollerblading steps fairly benignly into jazz-fusion territory, with solos from trumpet and tenor sax which strike some sparks. And Re-Run's Theme is a Benoit composition with a slightly wistful country feel. All in all, this is a delightful album - even if you are not a Charlie Brown fan.

Tony Augarde



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