5 Vince Guaraldi Albums Beyond A Charlie Brown Christmas

Fantasy Records
Fantasy Records

Vince Guaraldi is best known for composing and performing the jazz score to A Charlie Brown Christmas. The Charlie Brown soundtrack is terrific, and has held up for half a century. But Guaraldi (dubbed "Dr. Funk" by his friends) made a lot of music beyond the Charlie Brown songs, and it's worth your time to dig in. Here are five of my favorite records by the San Francisco jazz legend.

1. The Latin Side of Vince Guaraldi (1964)

This is your classic mid-1960s Latin-flavored dinner jazz. It's effortless, light, and fun. Put this on at your next dinner party and dim the lights just a bit.

2. A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing (1957)

This is the second album by Vince Guaraldi's trio. A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing is great "work music" for me. It's smooth, smart, and gentle.

3. From All Sides (With Bola Sete) (1964)

Guaraldi often performed with Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete, collaborating on three albums: Vince Guaraldi, Bola Sete and Friends; From All Sides; and Live at El Matador. They're all great. The interplay between Guaraldi on piano and Sete on classical guitar is fantastic.

Note that Vince Guaraldi, Bola Sete and Friends is on YouTube in its entirety. The video above is just one of many Guaraldi/Sete live performances (on Jazz Casual in 1963).

4. Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus (1962)

This was Guaraldi's breakthrough album, thanks to the tune "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," which won a Grammy and went Gold. Listening to that song, you can hear the groove and style that would make the Charlie Brown music such a hit. As the name suggests, this album is a series of performances inspired by the soundtrack to the film Black Orpheus. Another brilliant song here is Guaraldi's delicate take on "Moon River":

5. Alma-Ville (1970)

Guaraldi's last studio album, Alma-Ville shows him at his Latin-inspired best. On "Uno Y Uno," Guaraldi even swaps his piano for electric guitar (!). The record is straight-ahead Latin jazz, right down to the jazzy cover of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," embedded above. Lovely.

Where to Get This Music

All of these albums are available on streaming services, and in recent years, good CD remasters have come out. In some cases, the songs are even on YouTube (as with The Latin Side of Vince Guaraldi above). Look around, and ye shall find.

Bonus points: If you like Guaraldi's Charlie Brown material, check out George Winston's 1996 album Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi, which opens with a fantastic take on "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" and just gets better from there.

A Golden Girls-Themed Cruise Will Set Sail in 2020

Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

If you've ever fantasized of taking a vacation that would make the cast of characters from The Golden Girls proud, you'll soon have the chance to make your dreams come true. In early 2020, Flip Phone Events and the cruise line Celebrity Infinity are launching a Golden Girls-themed cruise that brings the classic 1980s sitcom to the western Caribbean.

As CNN reports, the new cruise, called Golden Girls at Sea, leaves from Miami, Florida—the home of Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia. For five days, the ship will take cruisers on a relaxing trip through the Gulf, stopping in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. While onboard the ship, guests will have the opportunity to take part in several Golden Girls-inspired activities, including a Shady Pines craft corner, Dorothy's bingo, Golden Girls trivia, and karaoke at Blanche's favorite pickup spot, The Rusty Anchor. And, yes, there will be cheesecake.

The Golden Girls premiered over 30 years ago, but the fabulous foursome hasn't lost its popularity. Even though the show has ended, the ladies can still be spotted on apparel, candles, board games, and even their own cereal box. Their new themed cruise may be the most luxurious Golden Girls-branded experience yet.

Golden Girls at Sea sets sail from Miami on February 24, 2020 and returns on February 29. Rooms start around $987 per person for a standard cabin and go up to $7657 for the top suites. Unlimited drinks are included with every ticket.

Book your tickets here.

[h/t CNN]

Harry Potter Fans Can Now Live at Hogwarts

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Still waiting for your Hogwarts acceptance letter? Still dreaming of the day you can walk through the Great Hall doors for the first time? Well now you can, because there are newly constructed luxury apartments right next to the real-life Great Hall from the Harry Potter movies.

Fans can now live out their ultimate Wizarding World dreams, as two luxury flats have been made in the heart of the castle at Royal Connaught Park in Bushey, Hertfordshire, home of the original Great Hall.

According to the Mirror, Rightmove—a UK-based property rental website—has shared an ad for two-bed apartments within the Victorian castle, which is home to the Great Hall from the first three Harry Potter films.

The property used to be the home of the Royal Masonic School for Boys. Now, thanks to recent renovations, Potterheads can rent out the new, unfurnished apartments for $2800 a month.

Fans who can scavenge up enough knuts, sickles, and galleons will not only have the Great Hall to visit but also 100 acres of parkland that surrounds the property, a private leisure center complete with saunas and pools, a tennis court, and 24-hour concierge and shuttle services.

The site served as a set for Harry Potter, but also for movies like Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Hot Fuzz, and the long-running TV series EastEnders.

[h/t: Mirror]

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