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.

Target Has Launched a Harry Potter Line of Clothing, Accessories, and Home Goods

Target
Target

No more blending in with the mediocre Muggles—now wizards can decorate and accessorize like the magical creatures they are with Target's brand-new line of Harry Potter clothing and home goods.

Target shoppers will feel like they’ve stepped through Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station as they wander the Harry Potter-stuffed aisles. Popsugar reports that Target will carry more than 500 Harry Potter-themed items, including socks, lanterns, pillows, dolls and much more.

You’ll be able to wake up in your Hogwarts sheets, have your morning coffee in a Slytherin mug, and take a ride on a foam Nimbus 2000 replica while rocking a Potter t-shirt. Not sure what house you’re in? No sweat! Target is even carrying a real-life sorting hat.

Whether you need a gift for the kiddos, or just want to treat your inner witch, Target is sure to have the perfect find in its Wizarding World line.

House Boasting a ‘Harry Potter Room’ Under the Stairs Hits the Market in San Diego

Cupboard under the stairs featured on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter in London.
Cupboard under the stairs featured on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter in London.
Matt Robinson, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When Harry Potter fans dream of living like the boy wizard, they may picture Harry's cozy quarters in the Gryffindor dormitory at Hogwarts. One home owner in San Diego, California is trying to spin one of Harry's much less idyllic living situations as a magical feature. As The San Diego Union-Tribune reports, a listing of a three-bedroom house for sale in the city's Logan Heights neighborhood boasts a "Harry Potter room"—a.k.a storage room under the stairs.

In the Harry Potter books, the cupboard under the stairs of the Dursley residence served as Harry's bedroom before he enrolled in Hogwarts. Harry was eager to escape the cramped, dusty space, but thanks to the series' massive success, a similar feature in a real-world home may be a selling point for Harry Potter fans.

Kristin Rye, the seller of the San Diego house, told The Union-Tribune she would read Harry Potter books to her son, though she wouldn't describe herself as a super fan. As for why she characterized her closet as a “large ‘Harry Potter’ storage room underneath stairs" in her real estate listing, she said it was the most accurate description she could think of. “It’s just this closet under the stairs that goes back and is pretty much like a Harry Potter room. I don’t know how else to describe it," she told the newspaper.

Beyond the cupboard under the stairs, Rye's listing doesn't bear much resemblance to the cookie-cutter, suburban home of 4 Privet Drive. Nearly a century old, the San Diego house has the same cobwebs and a musty smells you might expect from the Hogwarts dungeons, the newspaper reports. But there are some perks, including a parking spot and backyard space for a garden or pull-up bar. The 1322-square-foot home is listed at $425,000—cheaper than the median price of $620,000 for a resale single-family home in the area.

If you want to live like a wizard, you don't necessarily need to start by moving under a staircase. In North Yorkshire, England, a cottage modeled after Hagrid's Hut is available to rent on a nightly basis.

[h/t The San Diego Union-Tribune]

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