5 Vince Guaraldi Albums Beyond A Charlie Brown Christmas

Fantasy Records
Fantasy Records

Vince Guaraldi is best known for composing and performing the jazz score to A Charlie Brown Christmas. The Charlie Brown soundtrack is terrific, and has held up for half a century. But Guaraldi (dubbed "Dr. Funk" by his friends) made a lot of music beyond the Charlie Brown songs, and it's worth your time to dig in. Here are five of my favorite records by the San Francisco jazz legend.

1. The Latin Side of Vince Guaraldi (1964)

This is your classic mid-1960s Latin-flavored dinner jazz. It's effortless, light, and fun. Put this on at your next dinner party and dim the lights just a bit.

2. A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing (1957)

This is the second album by Vince Guaraldi's trio. A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing is great "work music" for me. It's smooth, smart, and gentle.

3. From All Sides (With Bola Sete) (1964)

Guaraldi often performed with Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete, collaborating on three albums: Vince Guaraldi, Bola Sete and Friends; From All Sides; and Live at El Matador. They're all great. The interplay between Guaraldi on piano and Sete on classical guitar is fantastic.

Note that Vince Guaraldi, Bola Sete and Friends is on YouTube in its entirety. The video above is just one of many Guaraldi/Sete live performances (on Jazz Casual in 1963).

4. Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus (1962)

This was Guaraldi's breakthrough album, thanks to the tune "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," which won a Grammy and went Gold. Listening to that song, you can hear the groove and style that would make the Charlie Brown music such a hit. As the name suggests, this album is a series of performances inspired by the soundtrack to the film Black Orpheus. Another brilliant song here is Guaraldi's delicate take on "Moon River":

5. Alma-Ville (1970)

Guaraldi's last studio album, Alma-Ville shows him at his Latin-inspired best. On "Uno Y Uno," Guaraldi even swaps his piano for electric guitar (!). The record is straight-ahead Latin jazz, right down to the jazzy cover of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," embedded above. Lovely.

Where to Get This Music

All of these albums are available on streaming services, and in recent years, good CD remasters have come out. In some cases, the songs are even on YouTube (as with The Latin Side of Vince Guaraldi above). Look around, and ye shall find.

Bonus points: If you like Guaraldi's Charlie Brown material, check out George Winston's 1996 album Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi, which opens with a fantastic take on "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" and just gets better from there.

How Much Are You Spending on Streaming Services? This Handy Calculator Can Tell You

LightFieldStudios/iStock via Getty Images
LightFieldStudios/iStock via Getty Images

With the recent debut of both Disney+ and Apple TV+, not to mention upcoming launches for HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock, and more, streaming services are officially coming for cable television’s throne—and might sneakily empty your bank account while they're at it.

While a monthly fee of $10 to $15 seems easy enough to justify if you’re willing to sacrifice a burrito bowl or fancy cocktail once a month, the little voice in the back of your head is probably whispering, “but it still adds up.” To find out just how much, MarketWatch created a calculator that will not only tell you how much you’re spending on streaming services every month; it’ll also add up the lifetime cost of all those entertainment expenses.

The calculator covers Netflix, CBS All Access, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Disney+, Apple TV+, and YouTube TV, and it also includes a whole host of add-ons that you might not even have realized were available. Through Amazon Prime, for example, you can subscribe to HBO, Showtime, and other premium channels—but there are also more niche options like Hallmark Movies Now and NickHits (with iCarly, The Fairly OddParents, and other Nickelodeon classics).

As you check off services and add-ons, you’ll see your monthly bill on the right side of the total box, and the lifetime cost—which accounts for 50 years of streaming, adjusted for inflation—will balloon before your eyes on the left side. Below that, there’s an even larger number labeled as the lifetime “true” cost, which estimates how much you would’ve made if you had invested that money instead.

For example: If you sign up for basic monthly subscriptions to Netflix and Disney+ for $9 and $7, respectively, your lifetime cost totals around $16,200. However, if you had opted to invest that money, the 50-year prediction sees you walking away with almost $74,000.

Having said that, it’s understandably hard to look that far into the future, especially when Disney+ is tempting you with the Lizzie McGuire series, Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian, and practically every beloved animated Disney movie from your childhood.

[h/t MarketWatch]

Hallmark Released Some Adorable Harry Potter Ornaments—Just In Time for Christmas

Amazon
Amazon

Even if you never received your letter of acceptance to Hogwarts on your 11th birthday, you can still add some magic to your Christmas tree this year with some Harry Potter Christmas ornaments from Hallmark. These pieces have more of a minimalist style than Hallmark's other Potter releases, which are modeled to look identical to the characters' movie counterparts. But with that simplicity comes a unique charm that is sure to be popular with Potterheads.

Shoppers can look for seven different ornaments, which include Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger in mid-flight, as well as Hedwig, the Sorting Hat, Dobby, and the Hogwarts Crest. Each one comes with a hanger, so is ready to be put on your Christmas tree as soon as its out of the packaging. You can find each one for $9 on Amazon—though be forewarned that Harry is currently out of stock (but you can find an equally adorable replacement Potter for $8).

If you can’t get enough wizarding gifts this holiday season, then check out our Harry Potter gift guide, which includes everything from magical cookbooks to chess sets.

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