Though famed jazz journalist Ralph Gleason MUCH esteemed Vince Guaraldi well beforehand, this is the LP that made the pianist a household name in the public, as it contained "Cast Your Fate to the Wind", now a world-wide standard. It also established the gent as a foremost interpreter of latin rhythms—samba, bossa, etc. Keep in mind the emphasis on 'interpreter', as one never gets Bonfa, Gil, or Gilberto with Guaraldi. Felicidade amply illustrates that there's more than a little bop to the guy.
Concord Jazz has remastered and re-released this CD in concert with four others and, as is now deliciously common with such enterprises, has also included bonus cuts—in this case, five of them, including the formerly unreleased Take #6 of Cast Your Fate and a cut-back single version of Samba de Orfeo, slimming the tune down from 5:42 to 3:18, to fit the then-demanding requisites of hitbound airwaves dictates (everything was a thee-minute formula back then). Everywhere, however, the trio format throughout the disc leaves Vince with a completely open field to gambol and cavort, and he wastes no opportunity doing so.
Frequently, the interplay between his chord-laying left hand and the lead-line right is a fascinating crosscut of completely different tempos and rhythms, but there are many occasions when they melt into each other, tease with coquettishly emerging variations, and then separate again as dance partners cutting opposingly interlocked rugs. Moon River, a slidingly loving tribute to Mancini's original, can now, decades later, be seen to be a prefiguration to Guaraldi's epiphany under the Charlie Brown cartoon hits he'd later craft. And there's evidence galore to show why Vince was one of Dave Brubeck's fiercest competitors: the two possessed a lot in common even while not aping one another.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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