If 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.