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This musical tribute to the PEANUTS™. Pianist/composer David Benoit will release his newest project, Here's To You Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years. The album is a musical tribute to 50 great years of the PEANUTS comic strip and characters, as well as the Vince Guaraldi music that highlighted the first 17 PEANUTS animated specials. Most of the album's 10 songs are new renditions by Benoit of the Guaraldi songs. Some of the highlights on Here's To You Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years include a duet between Benoit and the original Guaraldi recording on the world-famous "Linus and Lucy," and "Christmastime Is Here" with vocals by Take 6.Al Jarreau sings "Happiness" from the stage play, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner. This collection means a great deal to Benoit, who identified with Charlie Brown as a child. "Charles Schulz meant so much to me, and I've always included some of the Guaraldi songs as part of my live performances over the years," says Benoit. "I created the recording as a great celebration, and now it will stand as a tribute." Benoit has also written the music for six PEANUTS specials, including It's The Pied Piper, Charlie Brown. Benoit's core group for this recording features Benoit on piano, Christian McBride on bass, and Peter Erskine on drums.
Personnel: David Benoit (piano); Al Jarreau, Take 6 (vocals); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Chris Botti (trumpet); Vince Guaraldi (piano); Marc Antoine, Russell Malone (guitar); Christian McBride (bass); Peter Erskine (drums).
Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, New York between September 20 & 23;
Bill Schnee Studios, Hollywood, California on September 28 & 29, 1999. Includes liner notes by David Benoit & Lee Mendelson.
HERE'S TO YOU CHARLIE BROWN was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album.
Personnel: Al Jarreau, Take 6 (vocals); Marc Antoine , Russell Malone (guitar); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Chris Botti (trumpet); Vince Guaraldi (piano); Peter Erskine (drums, percussion).
Liner Note Author: David Benoit.
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (09/13/1999-02/??/2000); Bill Schnee Studios, Hollywood, CA (09/13/1999-02/??/2000); Capitol studios, Los Angeles, CA (09/13/1999-02/??/2000); SOund Kitchen, Franklin, TN (09/13/1999-02/??/2000).
Arranger: David Benoit.
An album of Peanuts-related music performed by David Benoit is a no-brainer, not only because of the retirement and death of Charles Schultz, who drew the comic strip, but also because Benoit has in recent years taken over writing the music for the ongoing series of shows, which were scored originally by Vince Guaraldi. Benoit emphasizes his predecessor by devoting seven of the album's ten tracks to Guaraldi compositions. Unfortunately, he begins with one of those exercises in necrophilia that is usually the province of the less-talented progeny of great singers, overdubbing a few of his own unnecessary noodlings on the original recording of "Linus and Lucy." Fortunately, things improve after that, as the trio of Benoit, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Peter Erskine is joined by a series of high-profile guest musicians: guitarist Marc Antoine on "Pebble Beach" and "Red Baron"; trumpeter Chris Botti on Benoit's "Linus Tells Charlie"; saxophonist Michael Brecker on "Freda"; and guitarist Russell Malone on "Blue Charlie Brown." Despite the spring release date, the inclusion of the near-standard "Christmas Time Is Here" is inevitable, and here it's sung by Take 6. In an inspired move, the album closes with Al Jarreau's winsome take on "Happiness," a song from the stage musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. All in all, this is a pleasant, if minor, addition to Benoit's catalog. ~ William Ruhlmann
JazzTimes (10/00, p.70) - "...Benoit is at his emotive best here, smartly arranging these familiar classics...in intimate trio settings..."