In a season stuffed with annoying Christmas songs and treacly carol arrangements, Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas" has been a saving grace for many listeners. Such is its staying power that last year the 1965 album was chosen for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. The soundtrack has been periodically covered by other artists too. The latest get in on the action is the Canadian Brass.
The Canadian Brass is no stranger to the holiday compilation: One of its first releases was the 1981 “Christmas with the Canadian Brass.” That was followed by “A Canadian Brass Christmas” (1985), “The Christmas Album” (1990) and “Sweet Songs of Christmas” (2007). Each struck a seasonal chord that was joyous, virtuosic, and yes, occasionally gimmicky.
In “Christmastime is Here” the quintet romps through Guaraldi arrangements like “Christmas is Coming,” “Skating” and the title track, as well as traditional Christmas songs. It also pays homage to other 60’s TV specials with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman” and Dr. Seuss’s “You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” The arrangements don't depart too far from the originals but they do show the quintet in fine form throughout.
The brass will perform in The Greene Space on Friday, Dec. 13. The event is sold out but it will be webcast live on WQXR.org.
Christmastime is Here
Steinway and Sons label
Available at Arkivmusic.com