Vince Guaraldi Trio
Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus
Rating: ***** (Good Shit)
With the bossa nova craze taking off, Fantasy packaged this set to point out the focus of side one. For the cuts on that side, Guaraldi took the music from the Brazilian film and brought it to San Francisco, taking the bossa nova into an established style of this era–cool jazz.
While the popularity of the film might have had a lot to do with this album getting airplay, the music soon took on a life of its own. “Samba De Orpheus” was the single from the album, but when DJs starting spinning the b-side, an original called “Cast Your Fate To the Wind,” Guaraldi was on his way to becoming a household name.
While “Cast Your Fate” might have originally been tacked on for filler, the two-sided single was actually a small mirror of the entire album. The A side of the single opens the album and introduces the Brazilian focus of side one. The B side of the single opens side two and introduces the United States focus of the second half of the set. And while the Brazilian compositions are part of the sound of this album, even those cuts are transformed into cool jazz.
This set is pure early 60s San Francisco, but it ended up being a timeless classic with a sound all its own. If cool jazz often came across as a shallow version of jazz, Guaraldi proved this music could have depth and soul. While Vince might be remembered by most as the pianist who brought us those wonderful soundtracks for the Peanuts, this is the set that introduced Guaraldi to the world.
(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)