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Reviews: Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Reviews: 6

Site review by Christine Tham January 7, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the follow up album to "A Boy Named Charlie Brown", used in the CBS Television special of the same name.

If you are used to the previous album, then this album will contain no surprises, featuring a selection of traditional and original light-hearted and whimsical pieces performed by Vince Guaraldi and his trio. Two of the songs (track 6: "Christmas Time Is Here" and track 8: "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing") are vocal pieces sung by children's voices (uncredited).

Interestingly, there are two distinct trios featured in the album - the trio featured in the first album (with Monty Budwig on bass and Colin Bailey on drums) on the song "Greensleeves", plus another trio with Fred Marshall on bass and Jerry Granelli on drums for the rest of the album.

The soundstage has hard panning typical of early stereo recordings: the drums are on the left, the piano in the middle, and the bass on the right.

The sound quality does not seem as good as the SA-CD version of the previous album. Although the overall sound is still quite nice, the cymbals seem a bit more subdued on the this recording, plus the hiss noticeably louder. The sonics on this album also sound slightly more recessed, with less "presence" than on the previous album. Finally, there isn't much of a difference between the SA-CD and CD layers on this Hybrid Stereo album, which leads me to wonder whether the SA-CD version may perhaps have been derived from the master used for the CD.

Review by flyingdutchman November 21, 2003 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
For anyone who doesn't know these performances, it is now time to run out and get this recording just in time for Christmas. The performances are legendary. As a boy, I looked forward to the television showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas every year and the sounds Guaraldi brings with his trio IS Christmas.

Sonics are greatly enhanced over the cd remastering. The air around the instruments and the overall presentation is beyond compare. The drums and piano especially are well-captured. I cannot say enough about this recording and this remastering. If you want to enjoy some really cool jazz done well, get this SACD. You won't regret a moment of it. Well done, Fantasy, for bringing this out again and in SACD sound.

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Review by zomax December 12, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I second everything the previous reviewer wrote. All I can add is that the presence of the instruments is so good, if you close your eyes you just might see Snoopy doing his dance in the middle of the room.

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Review by Compression Must Die December 20, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
Yep...this one IS a keeper. Hard to believe how old this recording is.

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Review by miguelito54 December 14, 2007 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Every year around Christmas time I dig this one out and enjoy it immensely - I must admit that I like Guaraldi's originals even better than his enchanting treatments of Christmas chestnuts. This is one of the classic jazz albums for the season, setting the mood perfectly.
I compared this to the Fantasy CD reissued last year which includes some unheard bonus tracks and was remixed from the original multitrack mastertapes. In fact it does seem to include entirely different takes of some of the pieces, so both are a must for diehard Guaraldi collectors.
For the audiophiles I would rather recommend the SACD, as it has a more natural room ambience and instrumental colors. The bass and extreme treble have a little too much presence, especially the bowed bass covers up too many details in the remix. The only tracks sounding somewhat better in the remix are those with the children's choir.
If you are not a completist, the SACD will give you a more pleasurable listening experience.

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Review by pvcmusiclover April 11, 2012 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Absolutely classic album. No questions about that.

Sadly, the SACD layer is just upconverted 44.1khz PCM. Viewing an 88.2/24 rip in a spectogram, it's plain to see that all sonic content stops right at 22.05khz :(

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