Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Swingin' Safari -- Great Jazz from 1962

When I was in high school, I lived in San Jose, California with my parents. They ran a music school for guitar in Salinas, California, and on Saturdays would drive there to teach. One Saturday in 1962, I tagged along. There is a stretch of highway there that is lined with tall Acacia trees, and which was featured in Alfred Hitchcock's movie "Vertigo." As we were cruising through these trees in my father's 1961 Cadillac, a song came on the radio that I had never heard before. It was called "A Swingin' Safari." I loved it immediately and was thoroughly enchanted by it. Now, all these years later, I still hear it playing in my head whenever I drive that tree-lined highway.

 Thanks to YouTube, there are several good versions of this song in video, but I like this one best. Cute early 1960's girls don't detract a bit. See and hear for yourself.

If you can hear this song and not feel happy, there is something seriously wrong with you.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Vince Guaraldi's Sacred Concert at Grace Cathedral to be Celebrated August 15, 2015

As a Vince Guaraldi fan, I have met and made contacts with other fans through articles on another blog. I received an invitation from jazz pianist Jim Martinez to attend the 50th anniversary sacred concert of 1965. Jim's jazz quartet will be substituting for the Vince Guaraldi trio/quartet, as alas, the great Guaraldi is no longer with us. Vince Guaraldi was the jazz pianist whose jazz trio provided much of the theme music for Charles Schultz's "Peanuts" television specials. Some of Vince's most famous hits include Oh Good Grief, Linus and Lucy, and Christmas Time Is Here.   His biggest hit, not related to "Peanuts," was undoubtedly Cast Your Fate to the Wind, a jazz piece that in 1963 became a cross-over hit in popular music.  I still love that song, and it remains one of my favorites of all time.

Vince Guaraldi died of an aortic aneurism (not a heart attack, as is so often wrongly reported) during a gig in Menlo Park, California, on February 6, 1976. He was only 47, and could have given so much more to American music. Every Christmas, the hits on this blog linking to Guaraldi increase dramatically. "Peanuts" Christmas themes are played on television, and many folks note that the music is attributed to someone named Vince Guaraldi. They google the name, and begin a search for who he was and how he died.

Among Vince's accomplishments is playing for a sacred concert in Grace Cathedral Church in San Francisco. His sacred concert took place on May 21, 1965.  A couple of years ago I drove by Grace Cathedral while doing some accounting work near it.  I thought about Vince's sacred concert, and felt sorrow that I had not been there and did not hear it.  Now, however, I can experience a worthy facsimile of it, by attending this celebratory concert on August 15, 2015.  So can you.

You can read more about it at the website All About Jazz.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please come and hear this musical tribute to a very great musician.