Sunday Jazz: Vince Guaraldi, “Freeway”

Vince GuaraldiIf you pressed me to name my favorite jazz pianist of all-time, it’d be a tough call. But it’s really a toss-up between Hank Jones and Vince Guaraldi. Neither of them sounded like the other, but I’ve never heard a piece of music from either that I didn’t like at least a little.

So today is Vince’s day. It’s been 35 years since Guaraldi died of a heart attack at age 47, and when I think of all the music he had left in him it makes me sad. But he did leave behind so much great stuff, like today’s track. It’s “Freeway,” from his 1963 live album In Person. The album was recorded live in 1962 at Sausalito‘s Trident Lounge with Fred Marshall on bass, Eddie Duran on guitar, Colin Bailey on drums, and Benny Velarde on scratcher. It features Vince’s sense of rhythm and melody that is often imitated, never duplicated.

Enjoy “Freeway”! And if you want to dig even deeper into Vince’s career and work, by all means check out the guide to his music I published here.

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2 Comments

  • John MacMurray

    Thanks for the reminder on Vince. Listening to him is like listening to Getz–can’t be anybody else playing.I have a lot of Vince’s music on CD (albums wore out) and was priveleged to see him in person once. This was at Fullerton Junior College, back when “Cast Your Fate to the Winds” was just catching on, and just before the first “Great Pumpkin” special. On “Freeway” you can hear pieces of “Linus and Lucy” and other trademark music.
    Sidebar: my wife and I tell people that Getz played at our wedding. True, but stretching a point: he was playing at the hotel where we got married, so we got to see his show (he shared the bill with George Benson). This was Memorial Day 1976, Outrigger Hotel, Mission Bay.
    Vince is gone, Getz is gone, we’re still married. We play Getz and Vince a lot and savor the memories.
    Take care
    John MacMurray
    La Habra, CA

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