Davis author writes the book about ‘Peanuts’ pianist Vince Guaraldi

yolo archiveyolo archiveSan Francisco jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi (right, with characteristic handlebar moustache) wrote music for “Peanuts” specials, influenced countless musicians, and created one of the top-selling Christmas records ever (“A Charlie Brown Christmas”), but in-depth appraisals of his career are scarce. Davis author Derrick Bang has fixed that with “Vince Guaraldi at the Piano,” an account of Guaraldi and his music. Bang holds a copy of his book, left. Guaraldi, who performed in Davis in 1963 and 1972, died of a heart attack at 47 in 1976. Bang worked on the book for three years, talked with musicians Guaraldi played with—some still performing—and today on Davisville, he discusses what he learned.


Many thanks, Bill, for this thoughtful interview on Derrick Bang's new Guaraldi book, which has singlehandedly rescued Vince Guaraldi from biographical obscurity. A longtime fan of Guaraldi's music, I had been curious about his life and career, but -- other than a single Keyboard Magazine article from the early 1980s and the spare narratives of album liner notes -- could find very little over the years. "Vince Guaraldi at the Piano" (which I recently finished reading) is a masterful and exhaustively researched remedy for that undeserved obscurity. The hundreds of endnotes hint at the author's remarkable efforts to chase down all of these details and recollections, while at least some of Guaraldi's sidemen and collaborators are still alive. Now we have an account of his life to accompany his timeless music, and for that I am very grateful.

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